Gov. Abbott Announces Additional Food Stamp Benefits, Despite Labor Shortage - Texas Scorecard

Despite businesses across Texas struggling to find employees to staff open positions, Gov. Greg Abbott has announced that Texas will once again dole out even more additional food stamp funds in light of the COVID emergency declared in March of 2020.

In an announcement Wednesday, Abbott said the Texas Health and Human Services Commission will distribute more than $307 million in emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in January, to be given to more than 1.5 million Texas households.

While SNAP is a federal program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, its administration is left to the states. Funds are put on a Lone Star Card, which looks and operates like a debit card, to make approved food purchases.

“HHSC received federal approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to extend the maximum, allowable amount of SNAP benefits to recipients based on family size, and all SNAP households will receive a minimum of $95 in emergency allotments,” reads Abbott’s announcement. “This additional emergency allotment should appear in recipients’ accounts by January 31.”

This month’s announcement is hardly unique. In fact, they have been almost formulaic since the beginning of Abbott’s COVID emergency declaration (an announcement of another month of emergency benefits, along with similar—but slightly tweaked—quotes from Abbott and other state employees).

“Our continued investment in emergency SNAP benefits has ensured Texas families can put food on the table throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Abbott said in November.

In December, that message changed to, “The extension of emergency SNAP food benefits for the month of December ensures that Texans can put food on the table this holiday season. Thanks to the USDA for their continued collaboration with HHSC to provide healthy meals to Texans across the state.”

This month, the announcement boasts that the emergency allotments will help Texans as they “ring in the new year” and are “in addition to the more than $5.4 billion in benefits previously provided to Texans since April 2020.”

Meanwhile, many businesses across Texas have reported difficulty finding employees, leading to an understaffed workforce that has affected restaurants, retailers, and other industries.