Response to HHSC Testimony on Food Stamp System

Wednesday, September 8, 2010
10: 45 am

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) has released the following statement in response to recent testimony and reports from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission on their progress with the food stamps system:

The State of Texas should not be applauded for forcing struggling Texas families to go hungry for the last five years.  By continuing to run a food stamp system that works against hungry Texas families at every step of the process, the state purposefully discourages needy families from seeking the help they need.

Changing the filing dates on applications to allow them to conform to timeliness standards, running a decades-old phone system where calls go unanswered, and blaming hungry families for untimely decisions when they are not provided with the information required by law are all easy ways to make it seem like progress is being reached.  But these practices are misleading and create a mirage that should not be trusted.

The food stamp system needs serious attention and reform. Timeliness is only one symptom of an epidemic that affects every aspect of the food stamp application process.  Thus far, scrutiny has only come as a result of numerous lawsuits and federal fines – all at the cost of hungry Texas families.

Texans deserve better.  TRLA remains committed to using the legal system to hold the state accountable for running a failing system.

Attribute to
Cynthia Martinez
Communications Director, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid

2 thoughts on “Response to HHSC Testimony on Food Stamp System

  1. Hi. I am currently on hold on this phone system and have been for 96 minutes and counting. I called yesterday and no one ever picked up. All I am trying to do is report a change that I lost my job so HOPEFULLY the $124 they are giving to myself and my son FOR A MONTH of food stamps will be raised a little. I am going to now go above the local department heads and address this at the state level. This system is a joke and everyting stated in this article is true. I am a law abiding citizen who worked for a very well known non-for-profit agency where I helped others but now can not seem to get the help my son and I need. I do not know where this money is going or where the employees are who are responsible for running the Food Stamp/SNAP program are …but I am speaking up to say : WE ARE NOT BEING HELPED.

    Feel free to respond…some one should.

  2. An update. At 110 minutes the phone was finally picked up and I had a nice and interesting conversation with the Gentleman on the other end of the line. Mind you he is just a change of information worker, but a worker nonetheless. I asked him if he thought it would help if a citizen would take these important issues to Austin and he offered a suprising comment. He stated that it would do no good and that the citizen’s and the employee’s comments have gone un-listened to in the last 20 years. He went further to state that their budget keeps getting cut and cut and CUT so far now that they almost have no workers to keep up with the case loads and that this is standard across the board. They want to be of more help but there is simply not enough workers and he stated the the higher ups who have control of this simply do not care because it does not affect them.

    This seems to be the underlying theme in America right now.
    We help other countries yet it is almost IMPOSIBLE to get the PROPER help we need here.

    I almost did not even go ask for help with the food stamp agency because I have heard these stories and thought I could just get a new job the next day.

    Reality is not that way. I do not want to be “in this system” yet am only doing this for the sake of my child. I have always had a job and LOATHE relying on others.

    This program was put in place to help those who truly need it yet from somewhere within the system there is a fundamental breakdown that goes from the top all the way to the lowly bottom…which is where I sit.

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