Later today the Texas House Human Services Committee will take up several bills that could negatively impact the largest anti‐hunger program in Texas, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps).
SNAP is an important tool for any organization fighting hunger, which is why our twenty-one food banks invest resources to help clients access SNAP benefits. Any changes to SNAP will impact our ability to fight hunger in Texas, as well as the lives of 3.75 million Texans - most of them children, elderly or disabled.
These bills have been written under the guise of reducing fraud and waste. However, the only thing that they will accomplish is add undue burden on low-income individuals and turn back the modernization of SNAP by a decade.
More specifically, there are three bills that would force participants to have their photo taken and placed on the EBT card. This means that participants would have to go into an office during the application process (a step that HHSC has tried to eliminate by moving to electronic applications); cashiers would be forced to police participants by checking their cards and IDs, stigmatizing their customers and lengthening the checkout process for everyone; and grocery stores will be put at risk of program noncompliance if they improperly deny purchases by a household member whose photo is not on the card.
There are two additional bills that concern anti-hunger advocates. These two bills are targeted at adults who have minor program infractions. Integrity is an important part of any well run program, which is why we are glad that SNAP fraud is at historic lows. However, these bills would negatively affect parents’ ability to provide for their current or future children. We look forward to working with the legislature to strengthen and improve SNAP. Yet we cannot support bills that will harm the Texas families who rely on SNAP to stay healthy and productive, and restrict program access for other families in their hour of need. Learn more about our position on these bills.