HOUSTON - Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many more families are struggling to put food on the table. This week, Governor Abbott announced Texas is providing an extra $168 million in emergency SNAP food benefits.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission declined to be interviewed about the number of applications they're getting, but we dug into their most recent posted data.
HHS reports disposed applications statewide, which are applications worked to a decision, went from 150,588 in February to 183,306 in March, already showing a rising trend. April is expected to see a significantly higher increase.
HHS received federal approval to increase benefits to the maximum amount for the months of April and May.
The Commission's data shows Texas cases received an average of $258 for March.
For April and May, depending on the size of your family, recipients can receive up to $194 per person or $646 for a family of four.
It will be added directly to Lone Star Cards by April 15th and May 15th. The renewal process for recipients is also being temporarily waived.
For new applicants, HHS is waiving the interview and work requirements for able-bodied adults to speed up the process.
Food assistance through WIC, the Women, Infants, and Children program, is expanding the options of foods clients can buy because they're having trouble finding what they need in stores.
That includes more options for milk, bread, rice, pasta, and eggs, and they're permanently adding canned fruits and vegetables.
WIC is asking shoppers to leave some of these items on shelves for WIC families. WIC approved foods are marked with a pink sticker.
SNAP and WIC purchases are not eligible for delivery in Texas, though WIC officials say they're considering it. Officials have updated the MyTexasWIC app to help families find foods they need in local stores.
To apply for SNAP benefits, go to YourTexasBenefits.com.
You can apply for WIC benefits at TexasWIC.org or call 1-800-942-3678.