AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Families who rely on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will have to stretch their funds until the federal government reopens.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission said current SNAP recipients had February benefits automatically loaded onto their Lone Star Cards on Sunday, Jan. 20.
“Normally, benefits are staggered among recipients throughout the first half of the month,” HHSC said in a statement. “With this change, Texas will issue benefits early to approximately 3.5 million people across the state.”
Federal employees have been increasingly turning to the Central Texas Food Bank’s partners as a resource.
“We have a network of over 300 partner agencies and mobile pantries that we can direct them to,” Emily De Maria, chief program officer said.
Central Texas Food Bank recently held an event for furloughed employees and is collecting items and monetary donations to continue helping Texans affected by the shutdown. De Maria said food benefits through SNAP often last about three weeks of the roughly four weeks in a month, which means families will have to monitor their use.
“Definitely budget to try to stretch those dollars as long as possible, but to also tap into the existing network of food resources that we provide in the community to make sure they’re balancing out those resources,” De Maria said.
Places like the Texas Farmers’ Market at Lakeline and Mueller also accept SNAP Lonestar Dollars. People can double up to $30 of SNAP Lonestar for fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market.
The state of Texas will continue to accept and process applications, but any benefits approved after federal funding runs out will be in a suspended status until states get any additional information about the shutdown’s impact on program funding, according to HHSC. SNAP is 100 percent federally funded with monthly benefits worth $410 million for Texas.
Some viewers reached out by email saying they still haven’t seen their SNAP benefits deposited into their Lone Star Card account. We’ve reached out to HHSC and await a response.