Plan Allows States to Directly Handle Food Stamps

The Houston Food Bank today began playing a larger role in helping low-income people get signed up for food stamps. Its part of a plan designed to improve the state's track record in handling food stamp applications in a timely manner. David Pitman has more.
Texas ranks at the bottom of all 50 states in processing food stamp applications. About 40 percent are not handled within the 30 days required by federal law.

Federal officials came up with a waiver program that allows food banks in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth to handle food stamp applications directly — without the state having to repeat the intake interview.

The Food Banks will gather all the documentation to prove residency and income and the banks will have access to state computers to make sure those asking for food stamps are not already receiving them. The Health and Human Services Commission will still have the final say on whether the applicants are eligible.

Right now there's a backlog of about 16-thousand applications — most of them in Houston and Dallas. That's down from 42-thousand unanswered food stamp requests from last fall.
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David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...