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WIC/SNAP: EBT Outage Notifications

As part of continuous systems updates, the EBT-4 vendor may have planned outages.  Retailers can sign up to receive email or text message notifications about Texas EBT-4 planned outages at: 

https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/TXHHSC/subscriber/new

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Texas WIC Vendor Monitoring Suspended

Dear Texas WIC Vendor Community,

Due to the flexibilities around monitoring permitted by USDA, Texas WIC Vendor Management and Operations Unit (VMO) is immediately suspending the following activities:

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Coronavirus WIC Update

    The Texas Health & Human Services Commission will be publishing a Vendor News Flash in the near future regarding WIC purchases during this critical time due to measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

-Suspending LEB requirements.  Retailers may sell any items in the LEB category that are on the APL and on the customers’ prescription without fear of an LEB violation (the 85% policy).

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USDA Issues Final Regulation on ABAWD SNAP Recepients

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a final rule that would make it more difficult for states to gain waivers for work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) who are beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Current SNAP statute limits adults to three months of benefits within a three-year period unless the individuals work or participate in work training for 20+ hours per week. States have had the ability to apply for waivers that would shield able-bodied adults without dependents from the time limit included in these federal work requirements. States can currently receive waivers for work requirements if their unemployment rates are at least 20 percent higher than the national rate. The final rule will retain states’ statutory flexibility to waive the time limit in high unemployment areas but will impose stricter standards for the waivers.

  • USDA is amending its regulations to provide a stricter definition of an “area in which the individuals reside,” to redefine the criteria for an area to have “an unemployment rate of over 10 percent,” and to redefine what it means for an area to “not have a sufficient number of jobs to provide employment for the individuals.”
The final rule will take effect on April 1, 2020 and is purported to remove 750,000 individuals from the SNAP program.
The final rule applies to SNAP recipients ages 18-49 who do not work or have dependents. Excluded from the rule are children, parents with children under the age of 6, those over the age of 50, individuals with a disability, and pregnant women.

Click here to view the final rule. USDA’s fact sheet outlining the final rule is available here.
For Frequently Asked Questions and Reponses from USDA, please follow this link.

Shurfine to Foodclub brand changes

Dear Texas WIC Vendor Community,

Texas WIC announces the following changes to the FY2020 “Choose These Brands” category:

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Texas HHSC comments on SNAP eligibility rule

During a recent call with Texas Health and Human Services Commission, TRA referenced a study noted in the link here.  This study indicated a new eligibility  rule which would impact the number of families eligible for SNAP in Texas.  TRA will continue to monitor the issue and give guidance to food retailers regarding potential SNAP sales impact in 2020. "HHSC is currently reviewing the proposed rules, but has not made available any information on the impact to Texas distribution", says Duane Pietsch, Lone Star Business Services/ EBT. "It is my understanding that because the rules are only proposed at this time, HHSC cannot speak to impacts, and not likely do so until the rules are finalized by FNS."

Texas food banks ready to help families impacted by government shutdown

More than 3.5 million Texans will get their February SNAP benefits early because of the partial government shutdown.

The Texas Health and Human Services on Sunday announced that the February SNAP benefits will be issued early. The state said current SNAP recipients will get February benefits automatically loaded onto their Lone Star Cards by Jan. 20.

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