TX SNAP food benefits are issued to qualified program applicants who earn a low income and need more monthly purchasing power to provide nutritious meals for themselves and other household members. Food stamps benefits can be used to purchase items that assist in creating nourishing and healthy meals for beneficiaries and their families with an easy to use Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. The amount of Texas SNAP benefits that is paid out to each beneficiary may vary depending on his or her household situation. To calculate benefits for food stamps program, Health and Human Services representatives examine information provided on the application and the current benefit allotment rules of the program. Approved applicants are issued a benefit card food stamp, making it simple to pay for approved items at qualifying retailers. To learn more about how food stamp benefits are calculated, using the benefits EBT card and approved items for purchase with benefits, review the information below.
Learn About Food Items You Can Purchase With SNAP in Texas
TX SNAP food stamp benefits are issued through an EBT card, but they cannot be used to take out cash or purchase every item sold by approved vendors. The United State Department of Agriculture has approved certain eligible food items that can be bought using food stamp benefits. The categories of food items that beneficiaries can purchase using Texas SNAP benefits include:
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Grains, breads and cereals.
- Meats, poultry and fish.
- Dairy products, such as yogurt, milk and cheese.
- Seeds and plants known to produce edible products.
The benefit card food stamp in TX can be used at any local authorized retailer and may be accepted at certain qualifying restaurants that offer low-cost meals to disabled, elderly or homeless citizens. SNAP food stamps cannot be used to pay off food bill debts or for any non-food items. While the focus of the Texas benefits for food stamps program is to assist beneficiaries in stretching their grocery budgets and buying healthy foods, luxury and junk food items like candy, lobster or soft drinks are still eligible for purchase using benefits.
Note: Get tips on healthy and delicious meals you can prepare with your food stamp benefits. Download our guide to learn about SNAP.
Items You Cannot Buy With Texas SNAP Benefits
Food stamps can only be used to purchase certain food items at authorized retailers, so beneficiaries should review the unapproved items that cannot be purchased using benefits before shopping with the EBT benefit card. Texas SNAP food benefits cannot be used to purchase the following types of products:
- Alcohol or tobacco
- Vitamins, medicines or supplements
- Pre-prepared hot foods
- Meals meant to be consumed in the store
- Non-food items, including cosmetic products, toiletries, household items and pet food or supplies
Food stamps benefits cannot be used to purchase live animals or birds, but can be used to purchase live seafood like shrimp or lobster that is meant for consumption. Beneficiaries interested in purchasing energy drinks can only use the SNAP food benefit card if the drinks have a nutrition label instead of a supplement label. Before attempting to purchase gift baskets or food-related holiday decorations, SNAP benefit program recipients should know the rules of these items. Gift baskets can be purchased using SNAP food stamps if the basket contains at least 50 percent food items and no alcohol or tobacco. Food related holiday decoration items like gourds cannot be bought using SNAP benefits in TX.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Texas SNAP Benefits After Enrollment?
To successfully apply to receive TX food stamps benefits, an applicant must submit a completed application, complete a phone interview with a Health and Human Services representative and submit any requested documentation or identification. The Texas SNAP food stamp applicant will receive notification about the approval or denial of eligibility with the program by mail. If the food stamp benefit application has been denied, the reasons will be provided on the notice. If the applicant has been approved for the program, a SNAP food stamp benefit card will be issued by mail with the approval letter. If an applicant has completed all the steps in the SNAP benefits program application process, he or she should receive notification of denial or approval of benefits within 30 days of submitting the application.
Texas EBT Card Overview
The Texas benefit card food stamp EBT is also referred to as the Lone Star card and is the only way beneficiaries can access their benefits. When visiting a retailer that accepts the SNAP food stamp EBT card, the beneficiary can choose approved food items and use the card just like a debit card upon checkout at a cash register. The SNAP benefit card can be used at the point of sale credit card machine by choosing ‘EBT’ as the payment type and entering in the personal identification number (PIN) chosen by the beneficiary when registering the card. The amount of TX SNAP food benefits used during the transaction are deducted from the beneficiary’s SNAP account and the remaining balance is printed on the receipt. The beneficiary can also check his or her EBT benefit card balance by calling the Lone Star card customer service department. Benefits for food stamps program are deposited into a beneficiary’s account each month, if he or she remains eligible, and can be accessed immediately after deposit by using the benefit card.
Learn About Texas SNAP Benefit Amounts
To calculate the amount of TX SNAP food stamps a qualified applicant should receive each month, a Health and Human Services representative must examine the characteristics of the household and use SNAP program guidelines. There are maximum monthly SNAP benefit amounts that can be awarded to beneficiaries, even if they have extremely low income and high expenses. For households applying for Texas food stamp SNAP benefits with a higher income, few monthly expenses and no dependent household members, the amount of benefits awarded each month may be the minimum the program offers. Changes in any of these household characteristics can affect the amount of monthly SNAP benefits, so the beneficiary should report them to a Health and Human Services representative to ensure accurate benefit payments are always being issued.