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Governor Abbott, HHSC announce federal approval for automatic SNAP benefit replacements for eight disaster counties

Storm Recovery

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has received federal approval to automatically provide replacement benefits for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients for food lost or destroyed due to Hurricane Laura in eight of the impacted counties: Hardin, Jefferson, Newton, Orange, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby and Tyler. Those eight counties met federal criteria for mass replacements of benefits based on the severity of storm impacts in their area.

“I thank our federal partners for approving these replacement benefits and for their ongoing support as Texas recovers from Hurricane Laura,” said Governor Abbott. “This will help our communities focus on rebuilding and recovering from this storm, while helping ensure that families can continue to provide healthy food for their families.”

“This mass replacement of benefits can help communities focus on resuming their lives in the wake of this disaster,” said Wayne Salter, Texas HHS Access and Eligibility Services deputy executive commissioner. “We’re hopeful that this approval can help families have peace of mind knowing they can access healthy, nutritious foods.”

SNAP recipients in the eight impacted counties do not need to take any action to receive their replacement benefits. A percentage of the benefit allotment for August will be automatically issued to all regular SNAP households in the affected counties and placed on their Lone Star cards by September 18. Individuals in these counties have until September 30 to report other food loss and request additional benefits in addition to the benefits automatically replaced.

HHSC also received approval to waive the 10-day reporting requirement in 35 additional counties so that impacted households will have until Sept. 30, 2020, to report SNAP food loss and request replacement benefits. SNAP recipients in these counties must apply for replacement benefits.

Impacted eligible counties in Governor Abbott’s disaster declaration include: Anderson, Angelina, Bowie, Brazoria, Camp, Cass, Chambers, Cherokee, Fort Bend, Franklin, Galveston, Gregg, Harris, Harrison, Houston, Jasper, Liberty, Marion, Matagorda, Montgomery, Morris, Nacogdoches, Panola, Polk, Red River, Rusk, San Jacinto, Smith, Titus, Trinity, Upshur, Walker, Waller, Wharton, and Wood.

To allow people to continue social distancing and stay at home, HHSC is encouraging SNAP clients to request their replacement food benefits by calling 2-1-1 and pressing option 2. Alternately, recipients can download Form H1855 (Affidavit for Nonreceipt or Destroyed Food Stamp Benefits) on the HHSC website. To limit exposure to COVID-19, recipients are encouraged to mail or fax the completed form to HHSC instead of visiting their local offices. Completed forms should be mailed to Texas Health and Human Services Commission, PO Box 149027, Austin, TX, 78714-9027, or faxed to 1-877-447-2839. For more information, please visit hhs.texas.gov.

Administered by HHSC, SNAP is a federal program that provides food assistance to approximately 1.4 million eligible, low-income families and individuals in Texas. Texans in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP and Medicaid, at YourTexasBenefits.com or use the Your Texas Benefits mobile app to manage their benefits. To find local resources in your area, such as food or shelter, please call 2-1-1 and select option 1.