Magazine article Policy & Practice

Texas Work to Shorten Long Wait Times for Food Stamps

Magazine article Policy & Practice

Texas Work to Shorten Long Wait Times for Food Stamps

Article excerpt

AUSTIN -- Texas cities have begun helping to qualify eligible Texans for food stamps under special authority from federal officials designed to shorten long wait times.

The waiver will allow food banks in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth to handle food stamp applications directly. Food bank officials in those cities will have access to state computers to make sure applicants are eligible and not already receiving food assistance.

The interviews that food bank employees conduct with applicants no longer will have to be repeated by state employees.

"I'm excited about this project," Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs said.

"The food banks have done a wonderful job helping us connect with Texas families for years, and this is a natural next step for both of us. It gives families another choice in how they apply for benefits, and it helps preserve community resources for people who don't qualify for the state program."

Employees at the Health and Human Services Commission still will be responsible for determining whether the applicants are eligible. …

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