Texas Food Stamps Program is Worst Performing in the Nation-


 
Rick Perry's Record on Food Stamps

Texas Food Stamps Program is Worst Performing in the Nation-
 


28 August 2011 at 9:04:06 AM
salon

Saw that Rick Perry, in Iowa yesterday, said that food stamp use in Iowa is a *testament to widespread misery*. Sounds like the implication is that if a state is running properly, with a lot of jobs, that it has a low or non-existent food stamps program. So what about Texas?

In 2010, Texas had the worst performing food stamps program in the nation. According to the Houston Chronicle:

It ranks last among the 50 states and U.S. territories in processing food stamp applications and also does a poor job getting eligible low-income people to apply, said Kevin Concannon, a U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary, in an earlier meeting with reporters.

And because Texas does not even come close to the national average in enrolling those eligible, grocery retailers like H-E-B and Randalls are missing out on nearly $1 billion a year in food sales, he said.

“If I were a native son sitting down here, I would be very upset that my state was not the leader that it is capable of being,” Concannon said.

Texas does not have enough workers to process food stamp applications and is one of only three states that fingerprints applicants for food assistance. The state also imposes a time-consuming and complicated assets test that impedes the effort to help desperate and hungry people, Concannon said.

From 2008, where, after a new computer system was put in, food stamps applications were delayed.

To Texans applying for food stamps, it may not seem to matter whether their application goes through the state's old computer system or the updated one.

But new state data show that less than half — 48 percent — of Texas food stamp applications processed using the updated computer system, known as TIERS, are completed within the 30 days the federal government requires.

In the old system, SAVERR, 90 percent of cases were processed within the federal timeline.

One problem is that there aren't enough workers trained in TIERS, and the state is losing them almost as fast as they are hired. To combat attrition, state officials announced Tuesday that they're giving 6,000 workers raises or promotions.

On the USDA website for SNAP (food stamps) , looks like the # of people participating in food stamps programs in Texas has steadily gone up. 2010 is the column at far right

exas 2,622,548 2,422,198 2,532,047 3,003,156 3,551,581

For reference, from USA Today in 2011, Texas population numbers. Says overall Texas population more than 25 million, with hispanics accounting for 65% of states growth since 2000. If I divide 25 million by 3.5 that comes to 7.14

And then some. Overall, Texas' population grew to more than 25 million, awarding the nation's second most populous state four more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Hispanics accounted for 65% of the state's growth since 2000, while non-Hispanic whites experienced the smallest increase of any group, just 4.2%. The black population grew by 22%.

"We're seeing the development of two populations groups in Texas: aging Anglos and young minorities," says Steve Murdock, a former Census Bureau director and now a Rice University sociology professor. "We're seeing Hispanic growth not just deepen but become pervasive throughout the state."

A healthy state economy during the recent recession and Mexican nationals fleeing drug cartel violence in Mexico also contributed to Texas' population boom, he says. Border towns saw sharp increases: Brownsville's population rose 25% and Laredo's by 33%.

But natural Latino population increases — more Latinos born in the state than dying — were the main engine, he says. For the first time in recent history, Texas is less than half non-Hispanic white, dipping to 45%, the data shows. Hispanics make up about 38% of the total population.

The state's burgeoning Hispanic population mirrors what's happening across the USA, Murdock says. "The Texas of today is the U.S. of tomorrow," he says.

Another telling statistic: Texas added nearly 1 million children under 18 — 95% of them Hispanic, says William Frey, a demographer for the Brookings Institution. "That's the future of the state," he says. "It's a diverse one."

Also for reference, the USDA food stamp requirements for non-citizens.

From GAO

Illegal Aliens: Extent of Welfare Benefits Received on Behalf of U.S. Citizen Children

HEHS-98-30 November 19, 1997
Full Report
 (PDF, 32 pages)  

Summary

In fiscal year 1995, about $1.1 billion in welfare and food stamp benefits were provided to illegal aliens with citizen children. This amount equals about three percent of overall welfare benefits and two percent of food stamp benefits. A vast majority of the households receiving these benefits lived in California, New York, Texas, and Arizona. Although illegal aliens also received supplemental security income and housing assistance for their citizen children, data with which to develop estimates for these two programs were unavailable. Comprehensive national statistics on any misrepresentation or fraud perpetrated by illegal aliens receiving benefits on behalf of their citizen children are unavailable. However, a few studies done by California counties on welfare households suggest that the rates and types of potential misrepresentation or fraud are similar for both households headed by illegal aliens and for the general welfare population.

GAO noted that: (1) in fiscal year (FY) 1995, about $1.1 billion in Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and Food Stamp benefits were provided to households with an illegal alien parent for the use of his or her citizen child; (2) this amount accounted for about 3 percent of AFDC and 2 percent of Food Stamp benefit costs; (3) a vast majority of households receiving these benefits resided in a few states--85 percent of the AFDC households were in California, New York, Texas, and Arizona; (4) 81 percent of Food Stamp households were in California, Texas, and Arizona; (5) California households alone accounted for $720 million of the combined AFDC and Food Stamp caseloads; (6) although illegal aliens also received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Department of Housing and Urban Development housing assistance for their citizen children, data to develop estimates for these two programs were not available; (7) comprehensive national statistics on any misrepresentation or fraud perpetrated by illegal aliens receiving benefits on behalf of their citizen children are not available; (8) a few California counties' studies of AFDC households indicate that the rates and types of potential misrepresentation or fraud are similar both for households headed by illegal aliens and for the general welfare population; (9) in these studies, one of the most commonly cited types of misrepresentation or fraud was the underreporting of income; (10) income is a key factor in determining program eligibility and benefit amounts and, when underreported, can result in overpayment of benefits; and (11) the states visited by GAO had procedures in place to verify income, but officials said that verifying individuals' income from earnings obtained through the underground economy was very difficult--for both illegal aliens and for citizens--in part because these earnings are not documented or reported to state or federal databases used to verify employment or earnings.

What I wonder is, given that statistically, one of the largest jumps in population is from the hispanic/latino population, how many of that population are non-citizens as described in the above document for eligibility rules? In other words, suppose that at least some of the population doesn't apply for food stamps because they aren't eligible or don't know that they are? That's besides the fact that Texas the worst system in the USA.

Shouldn't we call that misery in Texas as well?

P.S. Saw an article from CNN Money from Aug 4 2011- Food Stamp Use Rises to record 45.8 million.

To qualify for food stamps, an individual's income can't exceed $1,174 a month or $14,088 a year -- an amount that is 130% of the national poverty level.

The average food stamp benefit was $133.80 per person and $283.65 per household in May.

The highest concentration of food stamp users were in California, Florida, New York and Texas -- where more than 3 million residents in each state received food stamps in May.

P.P.S. From DMN Sep 7 2011- Hunger in Texas increases.

Over the past three years, an average of 18.8 percent of Texas households couldn't get enough food to meet their needs, at least at times, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest review, released Wednesday. That was the second-highest percentage of any state, with only Mississippi, at 19.4 percent, looking worse. North Dakota had the lowest three-year average -- 7.1 percent. You can view the report here . Between 2007 and 2009, the Texas food insecurity rate was 17.4 percent, said J.C. Dwyer, state policy coordinator of the Texas Food Bank Network. His group, Baylor University's Texas Hunger Initiative and First Choice Power, also on Wednesday, released a county-by-county analysis of food insecurity in Texas.

It shows Dallas County has about 450,000 people who have unsteady access to food, or 19 percent of its population. In Collin County, there are about 100,000 such folks (and a rate of 14 percent), while in Denton County, the 15-percent rate equates to about 90,000 people.

While Gov. Rick Perry touts his job creation record and Texas' comparatively strong state economy as he seeks the GOP presidential nomination, the report showed blemishes when it comes to Texas' poor.

Nationally, the percentage of households that were food insecure remained essentially
unchanged from 2009 to 2010, at 14.5 percent. U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon was quick to credit programs such as food stamps, which now serves 45 million Americans, and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. In the department's survey of about 45,000 households last December, 59 percent of food-insecure households reported that in the previous month they had participated in one or more of the three largest federal food and nutrition assistance programs.

In a conference call with reporters, Concannon (above, USDA photo) was asked about the statistically significant increase in food-insecurity rates in some states, such as Texas. Concannon said Texas hasn't done as well as Florida, another large state that was battered much harder by the recent recession. Florida's three-year average was 16.1 percent.


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