Federal Officials Threaten To Cut Millions in Funding to Texas Amid Delays in Benefits

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: Jun 12, 2024

Texas has just been warned by federal officials that its delays in administering SNAP benefits and medical coverage could cost the state millions in funding.

After being found “out of compliance” with SNAP benefits and Medicare, federal agencies have had to step in to ensure that residents have access to necessary services.

Persistent Delays Have Caught the Attention of the Biden Administration

Due to ongoing delays in administering Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) benefits, the Biden administration has sent several letters to Texas officials. They have officially been warned that the state is putting its relationship with federal agencies in jeopardy by failing to adequately supply residents with services.

The White House seen behind green grass and trees in the daytime.

Source: Ana Lanza/Unsplash

Democratic Representative Lloyd Doggett revealed the ongoing issue this week.

What Funding Will Be Pulled?

Several federal groups have agreed to pull funding from Texas if the situation is not rectified. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMS) have all said the state could lose millions in funding.

A small stage with a table and four people sitting on a panel in front of a USDA seal podium in a brick building

Source: USDAgov/Wikipedia Commons

The SNAP program accounts for roughly 65% of USDA nutrition assistance spending annually. SNAP is a necessary program that provides food security and stimulates economic growth. The use of it should benefit both residents and states.

Governor Greg Abbott Being Blamed for Backlog

Lloyd Doggett has blamed Texas Governor Greg Abbott for the delay in assistance coverage.

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Source: @dizzle_que/X

In response to the letters sent by the Biden administration, he said, “The indifference of Governor Abbott has left millions of vulnerable families without access to a family physician or the ability to put food on the table.” With more than 65% of Americans struggling with inflation, social benefits are more necessary than ever to provide families with healthy meals.

Any Loss of Federal Funding Should Be Pointed to State Leadership

Doggett believed the idea of Greg Abbott’s inaction to provide for the residents of Texas. “While belated actions from USDA and CMS are much needed, Texans will continue to suffer until we have competent state leadership that prioritizes those most in need. Any loss of federal funding, even administrative funds, would be a direct result of the Abbott HHSC’s failures,” he said of the matter.

Governor Greg Abbott sits in a wheelchair next to former President Donald Trump with other men in front of a barbed wire fence at the US-Mexico border.

Source: @cjmurphy1/X

Abbott remains popular with his constituents in his state overall. However, the massive cuts to SNAP benefits could have a negative effect on his approval rating.

Snap Benefits Are Out of Compliance in the State

Texas has been issued a warning because it is currently lacking in its Application Processing Timelines (APT), which currently sit at only 67.3%. This rate measures how fast families become approved for SNAP benefits.

A Texas state flag waving against the blue sky

Source: Pete Alexopoulos/Unsplash

The USDA guidelines show that the state needs 95% of applications to be processed within 30 days. There are also instances of expedited cases that can be approved even faster.


Texas Has Been Working To Eliminate the Backlog

Despite the accusations of not meeting USDA standards, Texas has been working this year to reduce the backlog. In 2024, the state reduced outstanding SNAP applications from 160,000 to 90,000.

A large stone building with a domed roof and a metal statue in front

Source: AdrienWikipedia/Wikipedia Commons

However, federal officials are still unhappy with the number of residents waiting to be approved and the need for timeliness to be accelerated.


The State Stands To Lose Millions in Snap Funding

The federal administration has now threatened to pull $8.3 million in SNAP funding to the state if the problems aren’t fixed.

An aerial view of a grocery store with many shelves stocked with colorful products.

Source: Peter Bond/Unsplash

Pulling millions in funding would mean that even more residents would go without access to healthy food and groceries.


The State Has Also Been Blamed for Failing To Meet Medicaid Coverage

In addition to failing to administer SNAP benefits, the state has also been accused of low APT rates for Medicaid coverage.

The exterior of a large building surrounded by green trees and a large downtown area

Source: @DrRonanKelly/X

More than 2.1 million Texas residents lost Medicaid coverage after the COVID-19 pandemic rules shifted for eligibility checks. Many lost coverage due to outdated personal information and clerical reasons.


Medicaid Is Not Being Reinstated Fast Enough

Many Texans are finding it difficult to have their benefits reinstated.

A faceless person lies in a hospital bed

Source: iStock

A letter sent from CMS says that states “generally must determine eligibility within 90 days for applicants who apply for Medicaid on the basis of a disability, and 45 days for all other Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) applicants.” Texas is far behind on these numbers and failing to catch up.


Inadequate Resources To Deal with Medicaid Applications

The system is currently understaffed and unable to handle the flood of new applications, many of which are from residents who need their medical benefits reinstated.

A close-up of someone typing on a laptop with a stethoscope next to them.

Source: National Cancer Institute/Unsplash

After federal coronavirus policies ended, the HHSC was required to reconsider millions of applications, resulting in a review of federal officials.


Congress Has Bipartisan Support of SNAP Benefits

Aside from the Texas Republican’s delay in providing SNAP and Medicaid benefits to residents, the programs generally have bipartisan support in Congress.

Photograph of the United States Congress while in session

Source: Britannica

The support reflects the fast changes in inflation and food change around the country. Currently, more programs and benefits are needed to end food insecurity nationwide.