Like every state, Texas has a set schedule for when it distributes Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Texas SNAP benefits are administered by the state's Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and can be used to purchase most foods sold at grocery stores and other retailers.
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Benefits are distributed once a month to Texas Lone Star Card accounts - the state's version of SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. Texas Lone Star Cards can be used at any store that has a Lone Star Card sign. If you don't see it, ask a store employee if the store accepts the cards.
SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is a federal program that provides food-purchasing assistance to low-income households. Although it is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the program is administered at the state level.
According to the Texas HHSC, most adults between the ages of 18 and 49 with no children in the household can get SNAP for only three months in a three-year period. However, the benefit period might be longer if you work at least 20 hours a week or are in a job or training program.
If you live in a household where all members are either older adults (age 60 and older) or people with disabilities, you can apply for the Texas Simplified Application Project (TSAP). This is a simplified SNAP application and provides three years of benefits instead of six months.
If you are eligible for SNAP benefits, they will be deposited monthly into your account. You can check your Lone Star Card balance and view recent card activity through your online account at YourTexasBenefits.com. Texas Lone Star Cards can also be used online at certain retailers. Check for approved online retailers by visiting this USDA page.
The Lone Star Card is used in the same way any other debit card is used, according to the HHSC. To pay for approved SNAP or TANF items, swipe your Lone Star Card through the store's machine and enter your personal identification number (PIN). The amount of the purchase is taken out of your Lone Star Card account.
SNAP benefits can be used to purchase the following food items:
Fruits and vegetables
Meat, poultry and fish
Breads and cereals
Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat.
Among the items you can't buy with SNAP benefits are alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins, medicines, supplements, live animals, pet foods, cleaning supplies, paper products and cosmetics. You also can't use benefits to buy food prepared hot at the point of sale because Texas does not participate in the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program.
The date you receive your Texas SNAP food benefits is based on your Eligibility Determination Group (EDG) number, with benefits being deposited onto Lone Star Cards at different dates, depending on whether your household was certified before or after June 1, 2020. Your EDG number can be found on the TF0001 form the HHSC sent confirming your eligibility for SNAP benefits. If you can't find it, call 800-777-7328.
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October's 2022 schedule for Texas Lone Star Card SNAP benefits is broken down into two separate calendars.
For SNAP households certified before June 1, 2020, benefits are made available over the first 15 days of the month and based on the last digit in the recipient's EDG number:
For SNAP households certified after June 1, 2020, benefits are available on a staggered basis between the 16th and the 28th day of the month, based on the
last two digits of the EDG number:
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Food Stamps Schedule: Texas Lone Star Card SNAP Benefits for October 2022