Statesman – U.S. food stamp official: State could be aiding more Texans

Texas could be providing food stamps to 650,000 more people and could increase the amount of federal money it receives for the program each year from $4 billion to $5 billion if the state increased its participation rate to the national average, according to President Barack Obama’s top food stamp official.

But Texas officials, who are struggling with a strained application system, say increasing participation is not their goal.

Kevin Concannon, undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was in Austin on Tuesday to meet with Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs to check on Texas’ progress in meeting the food stamp application backlog. The state is routinely failing to process applications within federal and state deadlines — 30 days for a regular application and seven days for an emergency application — and many Texas families have been waiting months for assistance.

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