Food Stamps has been renamed SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. If you know what SNAP was before, you will be confused. Don't worry; that's everyone. Just go with it. I'll still call it Food Stamps here because it's more identifiable.
First, in Texas
With healthcare being a big concern and everything, I thought I'd go ahead and repost a link to my outline on Medicaid in Texas for women, children, pregnant women, et al.
Medicaid and You, a very unofficial outline of how Medicaid works in Texas. If you are pregnant and lost your job, or have kids and lost your job, or you know, you need help, please check it out.
Public Service Announcment, written prior to the above, with a short explanation of other programs available through the state.
Texas Works Handbook, for anyone who likes to do research. It is--confusing and it seems contradictory. But that is the manual of Texas Works, services covering food stamps, women and children's Medicaid, and TANF. It does not cover SSI (that's federal) or nursing home care.
The Medicaid Eligibility for the Elderly and People with Disabilities Handbook, for anyone with elderly/disabled relatives, friends, who needs more information.
Neither are easy to read or understand--I will say they are counterintuitive--but they do have all of state policy in them, updated reguarly. Both are googleable; go to google, advanced, enter the web address to limit the search, and enter keywords. It won't necessarily make it less confusing, but it may get you to your information quicker.
I cannot emphasize enough that I am not a caseworker anymore, so consider this an unofficial guide. You cannot wave anything (excpet maybe the handbooks) at an eligibility specialist. However, if you have questions and would be more comfortable asking me rather than going into an office, I'll do my best to answer them or say flat out I don't know or can't find that information. Unofficially.
Special Remarks Regarding Elderly
This will cover Medicaid and SNAP-CAP (a differnet kind of SNAP than the SNAP formerly known as Food Stamps, see why I'm still calling it Food Stamps?), which is a food program.
The programs covering nursing home care are very--complex. I was trained for the entitlements, not the medicaid for elderly/disabled, so my knowledge is very basic, or enough that when I had elderly clients, I could direct them to go to ME to apply. Hell, when I knew someone had someone elderly, I'd refer them over there. Nursing home care is fucking complicated and works on a grant basis. There is a waiting list. There is a limited amount of money per year (depending on program).
I'm going to say this again: if you have an elderly relative/friend/neighbor that may need nursing home care, in-home care, any kind of assistance, this is one of those times that early is best. Earlier the better. Not like, ten years from now, no, but it's as much the waiting list thing as getting familiar with what is available and being ready. A lot of people wait until the day they need nursing home care--do not do that. That is a special hell. A good caseworker can guide you through the process and get you help, and a great caseworker can probably get all this done fast, but fast is very relative.
I know how much it sucks to think about this--I've had a great grandmother and a grandmother both entered into nursing homes, and the stress is horrendous, and me and my mom are professionals with welfare programs and knowing who to ask, what to ask, and how it works. My personal timeline is three to five years before you think this circumstance is going to occur, so you have time to research the ratings on nursing homes that are covered by Medicaid--yes, those are out there and public information--and to get familiar with the programs available. There are a lot of options, and I know it's not something anyone wants to deal with, but having your information ready and talking to professionals ahead of time will reduce stress for your loved one as well.
This program is separate from SNAP that was formerly known as Food Stamps. It's SNAP-CAP, formerly known as only SNAP. Please just pretend that makes sense.
I'm cutting and pasting from the handbook:
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Combined Application Project (SNAP-CAP) is a six-year demonstration project to outreach elderly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients not currently certified for SNAP. Single SNAP-CAP households are certified for either a $58 or $73 standard SNAP-CAP allotment based on their reported monthly shelter expense.
If the household reports the monthly shelter expense is less than $289 per month, the monthly SNAP-CAP allotment is $58. If the household reports the monthly shelter expense is more than or equal to $289 per month, the monthly SNAP-CAP allotment is $73.
To be eligible for SNAP-CAP, an individual must:
* be an SSI recipient;
* be age 50 or older;
* reside in Texas;
* not reside in an institution that causes ineligibility; and
* not receive regular SNAP benefits.
No other regular SNAP eligibility criteria apply to SNAP-CAP. Note: Individuals may switch from SNAP to SNAP-CAP as described in B-476.2.1, Switching from the Regular SNAP Program to SNAP-CAP.
Outside of Texas
This is by necessity more general, but some very specific links.
211 Information and Referral - I'll quote, "2-1-1 provides free and confidential information and referral. Call 2-1-1 for help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling and more. Learn more about your local 2-1-1 by looking it up here."
It's active in a lot of states, but I don't have the latest maps. At my job before this one, I sat in on a presentation by 211 on their life, times, and function. They are trained specialists--there's like an accreditation for what they do, and everyone there has to get it before they are allowed to touch a phone. No, I'm not kidding. They are professional information and referral specialists with a database that scares me in its hugeness that is constantly updated with different programs to help individuals and families. And we are not talking like, one. We are talking like, thousands and thousands and thousands, and that is outside government-sponsored assistance. I mean, there is also that, but besides that? A freaking lot.
I cannot emphasize enough that it does not hurt to call when help is needed. No one knows what they qualify for or everything that's out there, and they have programs listed in my city that I didn't know existed, and I kept up with that kind of thing when I was a caseworker and when I did the complaint line.
There was a lot of welfare wank/welfare things going around, so that reminded me of this.
For entertainment value, here's my rant on welfare from a couple of years ago: Welfare - A Rant, because every so often I lose my shit on the subject in a really dramatic way.
And there you go. Questions, thoughts, more info needed? Ask. If I know, I'll answer, and if I don't, I'll find out or direct you to where there are people who do know. If anything needs expanding, or ooh, you have links to places with more information, hit reply and I'll add it to this entry.
More may be added if I think of things I missed or someone notices something I should add.
First Step - I'm going to quote the incredibly awesome seikaitsukimizu:
Here's a helpful site that, with your information (financial, geographical) it'll show you what help/state programs you're eligible for. We use it to check for Medicaid eligibility. Hope it helps someone!
She also states this is not just for the homeless.
Also, this post is linkable if anyone wants to direct people here. I forgot to mention that.