Texas Legislative Board says do more with less. Good luck with that.

October 5, 2009 § 1 Comment

lg2Lisa Goddard
Advocacy and Online Marketing Director 

This, my friends, is why hunger is more than just a moral issue. It’s a political issue, too.

Hopefully, you’ve been following the recent embarrassment where a class action lawsuit was filed against the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) for failure to process SNAP (food stamp) applications within the timeframes required by federal law.

Federal law says all SNAP applications must be processed within 30 days, or within seven days for emergency SNAP assistance. Not only has Texas failed to meet these standards in three years, but one out-of-every-six SNAP applications is incorrectly processed by state workers, as mentioned in this Statesman article.

LoneStarCardNow, the federal government has cracked down. Just last week, the USDA sent a warning to HHSC saying that the future funding for SNAP could be suspended if the state doesn’t comply with federal timeliness standards.

While the ultimate solution is clearly complex, one thing that most folks agree upon is that more qualified case workers will make a big difference.  Well, except for the Texas Legislative Budget Board (LBB) which approves funding for more workers. 

HHSC requested 650 additional workers to help with the backlog of applications from hungry Texans but was only given permission to hire 250 new workers.  And yes, the LBB made this decision in the face of the public tongue-lashing from the USDA, significant increase in SNAP participation this past year and horrendous new poverty data.

What you can do today:

Call your state legislative representatives (both house and senate) and tell them hunger issues are a priority for you, and it is unacceptable for qualified families to be delayed access to SNAP (feel free to say Food Stamps).  The more they hear from you, the better our chances in the upcoming legislative session.  It’s never to early to act.

Not sure who your representative is?  Use our search tool here.

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