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Food Stamps (SNAP)

Food & Cash Benefits

This article explains the basics of food stamps, also known as SNAP benefits.

Here, learn how to qualify for food stamps, now known as SNAP benefits. The article explains appealing if your application is denied. It also details how you can use SNAP benefits. It discusses the work requirement and includes links to resources to get help.

What are food stamps?

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits, also known as food stamps, help families buy food and groceries. Emergency SNAP can provide food help within a day or two. SNAP benefits are distributed and used through the Lone Star Card, a plastic card used like a credit card. SNAP benefits can be used at grocery stores, convenience stores, and farmers' markets that accept the Lone Star Card to purchase food and seeds to grow food. Some farmers' markets may offer half-off food items purchased with the Lone Star Card. You cannot use SNAP benefits to buy alcohol, tobacco products, nonfood items, vitamins, medicine, food eaten in the store, or hot foods.

Am I eligible for SNAP?

SNAP is for people with a low household income and resources. It is also for legal immigrant children under 18, people who get disability assistance or benefits, and veterans and their families.

Families with ineligible people can still apply for benefits for household members.

A family cannot have more than $5,000 in resources that can be used to buy food. Resources include cash, your bank accounts, and any amount over $15,000 of the value of a household’s vehicle. Your home is not counted as a resource. Childless adults without disabilities who work less than 20 hours a week and are not in a work program can get SNAP benefits for three months every three years.

What if I am not a U.S. citizen?

If you are not a citizen or legal permanent resident (LPR), you cannot get SNAP unless you have waited five years or have 40 work credits. Your children might be eligible even if you are not. If applying for your children, you do not have to show proof of residency.

Is there a work requirement?

If you are between 16 and 59 years old, you must work at least 30 hours a week or participate in SNAP Employment and Training, a program under the Texas Workforce Commission.

You might be exempt from the work requirement if:

  •  You are not physically or mentally fit to work or participating in a drug or alcohol addiction treatment program.
  • You are responsible for caring for a child under six or someone with a disability.
  • You are a student enrolled in school, college, or a work training program (some students must meet other eligibility criteria).
  • You already registered for employment services under TANF.
  • You have applied for or are receiving unemployment compensation.
  •  You are three to nine months pregnant.

How do I apply?

To see if you are eligible, use the online screening tool at or call HHSC at 888-834-7406 (TDD 888-425-6889). After submitting your application, you will likely have a phone interview before you are approved. Most recipients will need to renew their benefits every six months.

What do I need to apply?

Information about your income, cash and bank accounts, child support, any other public benefits you’re receiving now or have received before (such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security), and how much you spend on rent, utilities, child care, and other monthly expenses. You have the right to receive written notice if your application is considered incomplete. The notice must tell you what information is missing and give you a deadline to provide the missing information.

What if my application is denied?

You have the right to a written decision about your application, including the deadline and information on how to appeal. If you miss the deadline, the agency’s decision will stand. Your benefits will continue while you are waiting on a decision. You have the right to have a legal representative help you with your appeal. If your English is limited, you have the right to an interpreter at no cost to you.

Free Food Pantries in Texas

Visit, which contains listings of food pantries and food banks in the state of Texas. 

Your Rights When Receiving SNAP

The SNAP program is a nationwide entitlement program. This means that as long as you meet the rules for SNAP, you have a legal right to receive them. See Getting SNAP: What Are My Rights?

SNAP Benefits: Get Help

Visit Your Texas Benefits for information on applying for SNAP food benefits.

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