SNAP BENEFITS IN TEXAS
Food stamps benefits in Texas allow program beneficiaries to purchase certain food products at no cost to them. SNAP food benefits may be used at most grocery stores, but cannot be used to purchase food that is already prepared, like fast food. SNAP benefits also cannot be used for non-food grocery items. Food stamps benefits in Texas are distributed through the Lone Star Card. The amount of benefits given varies by household size. All beneficiaries are welcome to re-enroll each year and will remain eligible so long as the income requirement is met. All unused benefits will rollover to the following month.
This section on SNAP benefits in Texas will cover the following topics:
- Using the EBT card in Texas
- Food products eligible for purchase with SNAP food benefits in Texas
- How much food stamps benefits are granted in Texas
Using the EBT Card in Texas
The benefit card for food stamps in Texas is called the Lone Star Card. The Lone Star card is much like a debit card, and it holds funds for SNAP food benefits as well as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits. To be able to use the SNAP benefits in TX available on the Lone Star EBT card, the beneficiary must choose a PIN associated with the card. Every time the EBT beneficiary swipes the card, the PIN must be entered to protect his or her benefits from being stolen. The beneficiary’s balance is printed on every receipt used with the Lone Star Card. Any unused SNAP food benefits will rollover to the following month.
Only the cardholder is allowed to use the Lone Star Card to access the SNAP food benefits in TX. It is illegal to allow any person not receiving food stamps benefits to use the EBT card, even on behalf of the cardholder. However, households with more than one adult may request a second Lone Star EBT card for the same account.
Note that not all grocery stores and markets accept the benefit card for food stamps in TX as payment. Fast food establishments, diners, and restaurants do not accept SNAP food benefits as payment. Food stamps benefits also cannot be used to pay off food bills. However, Texas SNAP benefits are accepted in most grocery stores, both corporate and privately owned. Places that accept SNAP food benefits in Texas will usually have a sign that states, “We Welcome Lone Star.”
Food Products Eligible for Purchase with SNAP Food Benefits in Texas
SNAP food benefits are meant to be used to purchase food products only. Because SNAP benefits are used through a benefit card for food stamps in Texas, some beneficiaries may think that they will be able to use the card for ineligible items, at first. The initial assumption is often that the card will be unable to distinguish approved foods from non-food products and unapproved foods. However, the SNAP food benefits card is indeed able to detect ineligible items and will not charge the item.
Items that are not approved for purchase with SNAP benefits in Texas include:
- Pet food
- Household products
- Vitamins, supplements, and medications
- Food that has already been prepared (ex. Restaurant or fast foods, grocery store deli foods, etc.)
- Alcohol and tobacco
- Ornamental, inedible foods
- Live animals (excluding live fish and shellfish)
- Paying off any food bills
SNAP food benefits in TX are meant to provide beneficiaries with groceries that will last the entire month. Meals bought from a restaurant or fast food establishment are generally less cost effective and less healthy than store-bought groceries. Some lawmakers have also suggested that SNAP benefits should not cover junk food in the interest of public health. This task has proven to be too expensive and complicated to enforce, so food stamps benefits in Texas still cover all store bought junk foods.
Items that are approved to be purchased with SNAP food benefits in Texas include:
- Seeds and plants that produce food
- Live fish and shellfish
- Dairy products
- Fruits and vegetables
- Cereals and grains
- Snack foods
How Much Food Stamps Benefits Are Granted in Texas?
The amount of Texas food stamps benefits an eligible family receives varies depending on household size. A family may utilize SNAP food benefits indefinitely as long as the income requirement is still met. However, beneficiaries who are able bodied, childless, and between the ages of 18 and 49 may only be eligible for food stamps benefits in TX for 3 months every 3 years, even if the income requirement is met.
For each household size, the maximum SNAP food benefits in Texas are as follows:
- $194 for households of 1
- $357 for households of 2
- $511 for households of 3
- $649 for households of 4
- $771 for households of 5
- $925 for households of 6
- $1022 for households of 7
- $1169 for households of 8
- For each additional family member, add $146