Out-of-state shopping leads to new taskforce

The Benefits Program Integrity team has activated a new task force to review whether out-of-state purchases are due to short-term travel or if the client has moved out of Texas. Access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are tied to a person’s state of residence. 

Clients who intend to move out of the state must cancel their Texas SNAP benefits before applying for benefits in their new state. By planning ahead and enrolling in a new state a week or two before moving, clients can reduce or eliminate any lapse in coverage during relocation. According to Texas eligibility rules, SNAP is not authorized for any client who has been out of state for an entire month. 

Clients who relocate and fail to notify HHS could face civil and criminal penalties for fraudulently collecting benefits. A recent OIG case resulted in a former Texas client repaying the state more than $41,000 for SNAP and other benefits collected after relocating to California. She was also disqualified from SNAP benefits for 12 months.