Food Stamps: More people living in Texas could soon qualify for SNAP benefits

Food stamps
A convenience store in Washington D.C. displays signage for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, (SNAP) commonly known as food stamps. (Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner)

Food Stamps: More people living in Texas could soon qualify for SNAP benefits

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More Texans could qualify for federally funded food stamps under a new bill that has been sent to Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R-TX) desk.

The new bill proposes raising the cap on how much family vehicles can be worth while still allowing low-income residents to receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Eligibility for SNAP nationwide is based on income, household size, and citizenship status. But families can be disqualified because of how much their vehicles are worth in Texas.

FOOD STAMPS: CAN YOU RECEIVE SNAP AND WIC BENEFITS SIMULTANEOUSLY

The current limit is $15,000 for the first vehicle and $4,650 for additional vehicles. House Bill 1287, however, would raise the limit to $22,500 for the first vehicle and $8,700 for subsequent ones. Supporters of the bill argue the rates have not been adjusted in more than 20 years for the primary vehicle and that the limit for other vehicles has not been raised since 1974.

More than 11,000 households were denied SNAP benefits in Texas because of the value of their vehicles in 2019, according to a Feeding Texas report. Nearly five times that amount, 54,740 households, were denied benefits because of their vehicles in 2022.

“I really view this as not a handout but a hand up. … What we want people to do is to grow out of dependence on the government. You have to have transportation to do that,” state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, a Republican, told the Texas Tribune. “You have to have the ability to get to the job.”

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SNAP is a federal welfare program that aids families and people with food purchases. To qualify, beneficiaries must meet a number of requirements, including factoring in the size of the household. The program defines household sizes as “everyone who lives together and purchases and prepares meals together,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

A SNAP recipient’s household income typically must meet the gross income limit, which is at or below 130% of the poverty line.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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