Operating Disaster SNAP with County Stakeholders

Following Hurricane Harvey, the Commission to Rebuild Texas assessed federal, state and local responses and recommended ways that Texas could be better prepared to withstand future disasters. The commission’s Eye of the Storm report (PDF) was followed in 2019 by the Texas Legislature’s passage of Senate Bill 981 and House Bill 2335 with the objective of improving coordination between the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and county governments for operating the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) after a major disaster. If you are looking for help or information about disaster assistance, visit the Disaster Assistance page. This page is to help Texas counties prepare for D-SNAP events.

What is D-SNAP?

The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program offers short-term food assistance benefits to families recovering from a disaster. D-SNAP is designed to help when people return to their homes and have access to electricity and grocery stores.

To be eligible, people must:

  • Reside in a county that has been declared a federal disaster area.
  • Experience a loss of income, the destruction of their home or another disaster-related expense, such as requiring temporary shelter or home repairs.
  • Not receive regular SNAP food benefits at the time of the disaster.
  • Meet certain income limits.

Implementation of Senate Bill 981 and House Bill 2335

SB 981 and HB 2335 modified Chapter 33, Subchapter A, of the Texas Human Resources Code, to require HHSC to:

  • Collaborate with local government officials to:
    1. Create a directory of local points of contact for the program.
    2. Determine the best method for communication between HHSC and local government officials.
    3. Evaluate, develop and maintain a list of potential in-person application sites that meet federal requirements.
  • Enter into memorandums of understanding with local government agencies that document the roles and responsibilities for determining the need for and location of in-person application sites.
  • Provide information on the program and collaboration strategies to local government officials in coastal counties by hosting webinars, conducting conference calls and/or holding in-person meetings.

Coordination with Local Points of Contact

HHSC uses the county emergency management contact list maintained by the Texas Division of Emergency Management as the directory of local points of contact for operating D-SNAP.

Following a major disaster and prior to operating D-SNAP, HHSC may request additional contact information for county staff aiding day-to-day operations of the program.

Identifying Potential In-Person Application Sites

Following a major disaster, if HHSC determines that local eligibility offices are insufficient to manage a large volume of D-SNAP applicants, it will coordinate with county government officials to identify potential alternate sites.

HHSC encourages county officials responsible for emergency management to collaborate with the agency to identify potential in-person application sites in advance of a major disaster. County officials and HHSC may enter into a memorandum of understanding that outlines respective roles and responsibilities related to determining the need for and location of sites for in-person applications.

Entering into a Memorandum of Understanding

Before submitting a request to execute a memorandum of understanding, HHSC recommends reviewing the Training and Resources section.

Step 1: Notify HHSC of Your Intent to Participate

To participate in the program, email an engagement letter to OESSARIIM@hhsc.state.tx.us using the template in the Training and Resources section below.

Use the Site Identification Checklist, in the Training and Resources section below, to identify potential application sites. The checklist can be submitted with an engagement letter or at any time after the memorandum of understanding has been executed.

Step 2: Complete the Memorandum of Understanding

After HHSC receives the engagement letter, it will begin developing the memorandum of understanding.

HHSC will send the memorandum to the county official authorized to enter into a contract on behalf of the county, who will sign and return it.

Once returned, an HHSC representative signs the memorandum and provides a copy of the executed agreement with instructions for maintaining the list of potential in-person application sites.

Maintaining the In-Person Application Site List

The in-person application site list contains all potential sites and local points of contact identified by the county. The list is maintained by HHSC in the contract file for the executed memorandum of understanding.

Requests to Add, Change or Remove Potential In-Person Application Sites or Local Points of Contact

County officials may add, change or remove an application site or local point of contact from the county’s in-person application site list by sending an email of the request to OESSARIIM@hhsc.state.tx.us. HHSC will acknowledge the change request has been received within 10 business days. Once the change request has been completed, HHSC will provide an updated in-person application site list by email.

Training and Resources

The following resources are available to counties to aid in coordinating with HHSC to prepare for and operate D-SNAP.

Contact Us

If you have questions, email OESSARIIM@hhsc.state.tx.us.

If you are looking for help or information about disaster assistance, visit the Disaster Assistance page. This page is to help Texas counties prepare for D-SNAP events.