AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas launched two initiatives this week to help families who are potentially dealing with food insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic, according to releases from Gov. Greg Abbott.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission started a statewide pilot program allowing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to purchase groceries online for pick up or delivery began Wednesday, May 13.
The SNAP online program is available for grocery-only purchases from Walmart and Amazon in Texas. SNAP recipients can use their Lone Star Card and only need their PIN to complete the purchase.
Other associated charges such as delivery or convenience fees may not be paid for with SNAP benefits, the release says.
“This innovative initiative helps provide healthy food to Texas families who need it the most during this challenging time,” HHS Access and Eligibility Deputy Executive Commissioner Wayne Salter said in the release. “We’re committed to reducing food insecurity for at-risk Texans.”
Renewal paperwork for Texas SNAP and Medicaid beneficiaries has been temporarily waived due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Also, this week, Gov. Abbott today announced that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved more than $1 billion in food benefits for families who have lost access to free or discounted school meals during the pandemic.
The federal Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program provides a one-time benefit of $285 per child, which can be used in the same way as SNAP benefits pay for groceries.
More than three million children in Texas are certified to receive free or reduced-price meals at school during the 2019-2020 school year. Households with school children who received SNAP food benefits for the month of March or were recipients of free or reduced-price meals at school before the statewide school closure are eligible for P-EBT benefits. Families who were certified for the free or reduced-price school meals program after in-person instruction at schools ended due to COVID-19 are also eligible to receive the benefit, according to the release.