PUBLIC BENEFITS


The center focuses on health care access, immigrants' access to services, food and nutrition, the state's eligibility and enrollment system, and TANF.

Recent Public Benefits Publications

Food Stamp Demand on the Rise, Over 3 Million Still Getting Benefits (11/26/2002)

This Policy Page examines recent trends in the Food Stamp Program, the economic impact of improving program access and participation, and the effect caseload growth will have on the state budget. County estimates of the number of Texans eligible for Food Stamps and the potential benefit revenue Texas would receive if more eligible families participated are also included.

Co-Payments for Adults in Medicaid (10/31/2002)

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) published proposed rules pertaining to "Cost Sharing Requirements for Medicaid Recipients" in the October 11, 2002, issue of the Texas Register. The proposed rules would create co-pay requirements (described below) for most adult Texas Medicaid recipients. A firm start date for the co-payment policy does not appear to have been set, but HHSC has indicated the earliest possible date would be December 16, 2002.

Critical TX Medicaid and CHIP Issues Before U.S. Senate (09/25/2002)

The U.S. Senate soon will consider the Medicare provider "givebacks" bill that is being negotiated in the Senate Finance Committee. Action is expected to begin in the next few days. Three (3) important provisions may be included in this legislation that could greatly benefit all Texas Medicaid programs (from children to the elderly and disabled), as well as the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Taken together these provisions would help substantially reduce Texas' Medicaid and CHIP funding challenges both immediately and over the long term.

Immigrant Benefits Update (07/25/2002)

As part of its work to support the restoration of benefits to legal immigrants, CPPP surveyed emergency services providers to assess how restrictions on the use of federal and state funds to serve immigrants have affected these providers' ability to help immigrants. This Policy Page summarizes these developments and the results of our survey.

Farm Bill Gives States New Food Stamp Options (07/12/2002)

This Policy Page summarizes the nutrition provisions in the Farm Bill and the options for states to simplify access to Food Stamps.

TANF/Child Care Reauthorization Moves to U.S. Senate (06/20/2002)

Texas' Senators and Senate Finance Committee members need to hear from YOU about the reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant and the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF).

Good News, Bad News for Food Stamps in Congress (05/15/2002)

On Monday, May 13, President Bush signed the 2002 Farm Bill (The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002), which includes significant improvements in the Food Stamp Program. The nutrition title of the Farm Bill simplifies enrollment in the Food Stamp Program, increases benefits for larger families, restores benefits to many legal immigrants, reforms the Quality Control system by which state performance is evaluated, and authorizes an increase in funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (more detail on these changes is forthcoming). The nutrition title of the Farm Bill is being referred to as the most important piece of Food Stamp legislation since the landmark 1977 Act, 25 years ago. Unfortunately, this victory for antihunger advocates has been overshadowed by two proposals in the welfare reauthorization bill (H.R. 4700) that would do major damage to the Food Stamp Program and potentially undercut all the positive changes made in the Farm Bill. This Policy Page explains these proposals and urges our readers to contact their Representatives immediately to ask them to vote against H.R. 4700.

TANF Reauthorization Proposal Goes to House Floor Tomorrow (05/14/2002)

Problematic provisions mark a step backwards in welfare reform debate.

Clarification on Food Stamp Resource Test (05/14/2002)

In Policy Page #149, which addressed new Food Stamp Program rules regarding vehicle limits and the resource test, we incorrectly reported that an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) would no longer be counted as a resource in determining a family's eligibility for Food Stamps. In fact, because they are considered a liquid resource, IRAs are still counted toward the new $5,000 resource limit established in February. Under the new policy, most non-liquid resources are not counted, while most liquid resources are. This Policy Page provides additional detail on how resources are now treated in the Food Stamp Program.

Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Comment Period Until June 30 (05/2/2002)

The United States Department of Labor is soliciting comments on implementation of the Workforce Investment Act. DOL is particularly interested in the effectiveness of One-Stop centers and the integration of WIA and TANF programs.

More Support Needed for Nutrition Funding in Farm Bill (04/12/2002)

Before the Easter recess in March, House and Senate conferees agreed to $6.4 billion over 10 years for the nutrition title of the Farm Bill. When they started meeting again earlier this week to decide which specific provisions to fund, the debate on legal immigrant benefit restorations really heated up. Consequently, these restorations are in jeopardy.

Conferees Agree to $6.4 Billion for Farm Bill Nutrition Title (03/28/2002)

Congressional House and Senate conferees on the 2001 Farm Bill (H.R. 2646) have set funding for the nutrition title at $6.4 billion over the next 10 years. While lower than the $8.9 billion proposed in the original Senate version of the bill, this is a definite victory for anti-hunger advocates, who fought to increase funding for the nutrition title from the $3.6 billion allocated in the House bill. The fight is far from over, however, with conferees set to make final decisions over specific Food Stamp and other nutrition program provisions when they return from the Easter recess on April 8. This Policy Page outlines steps readers can take can take between now and April 8 to support nutrition program improvements.

Medicaid and State Budgets: A Case Study of Texas (03/1/2002)

Like most state governments, Texas has recently marked the end of several-year interlude during which slow Medicaid growth briefly suspended the program's image as a top state budget growth driver. Substantial caseload declines from 1996 to 2000 have now been replaced with a steady upward trend, matched with highly robust enrollment in the state's separate SCHIP program. With these trends afoot, it is helpful to pause and review Medicaid's place in Texas' state budget.

Food Stamp Reauthorization Moves Forward (02/27/2002)

This Policy Page summarizes the nutrition provisions in the Farm Bills and urges readers to contact their Members of Congress immediately in support of positive changes in the Food Stamp Program.

DHS Seeking Comments on Texas Works (02/20/2002)

On February 6, the Department of Human Services held a public hearing on the 2004-2005 budget needs of the Texas Works program. Interested advocates can find out more about this hearing in this brief Policy Page, which also contains information about how to submit written comments on Texas Works needs by February 25, 2002.

New Food Stamp Rules Take Effect (02/5/2002)

At its December meeting, the Texas Board of Human Services approved final Food Stamp rules that 1) raise the vehicle limit on one car from $4,650 to $15,000, 2) exempt all other NON-liquid resources, and 3) establish a higher resource limit of $5,000 for liquid resources (i.e., bank accounts). The new standards apply to all applications completed after February 15. Exemptions from the finger imaging requirement for certain seniors and persons with disabilities are also now in effect. This Policy Page explains the changes and contains links to education materials that can be used by service providers and community-based organizations to publicize the new rules to clients.

TANF & Immigrants in Texas: Lessons for Reauthorization (02/2/2002)

The 1996 federal welfare law created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant and contained sweeping changes to immigrants' eligibility for basic cash assistance and other social support programs. Significant restrictions on eligibility were imposed and additional requirements for access to benefits were added.

Why Talk of a CHIP Shortfall So Early? (01/17/2002)

Presumably, it was never the intent of the Legislature to under-fund CHIP. There is every indication that legislators believed they had adequately funded the program in May 2001. When SB 1, the appropriations act for Texas' 2002-2003 budget was adopted, there were no public discussions at all suggesting that freezing or capping CHIP enrollment was anticipated, despite the fact that the program was allocated $14 million state dollars (general revenue: GR) less than had been requested by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). HHSC asked stakeholders in August for input on CHIP cost-cutting approaches, but indicated that the information was for long-term planning rather than any nearterm concern. In October 2001, there was statewide press coverage when increased premium rates for CHIP health plans were negotiated. Nowhere in the discussion of these increases by state agency staff or Legislators was there any mention of a threat to cap or freeze CHIP enrollment.

Flyer: You May be Able to Apply for Food Stamps Over the Phone (En Espanol) (01/1/2002)

Usted puede calificar para una entrevista por telefono, si usted no puede venir a la oficina para aplicar para estampillas de comida.

Flyer: Rules Regarding Food Stamps and Vehicles Have Changed (01/1/2002)

In February, the rules changed. You may now qualify for....

Flyer: Rules Regarding Food Stamps and Vehicles Have Changed (En Espanol) (01/1/2002)

En febrero 2002, las reglas han cambiado. Ahora usted puede calificar para . . .

Flyer: You May be Able to Apply for Food Stamps Over the Phone (01/1/2002)

You may qualify for a telephone interview, if you cannot come to the office to apply for food stamps.

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