TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Some East Texans have reached out to us saying they are experiencing delays in receiving SNAP benefits, or the supplemental nutrition assistance program. SNAP benefits help millions of Texans each year.

HHSC said they are seeing an increase in SNAP application volumes across the state since the start of the pandemic.

“I have four kids so they eat a lot. You’ve got to feed them. You know, with rent and everything going up, then the price of gas going up, definitely need that so it’s a big help,” said a benefits recipient.

Papa Murphy’s is a business in Tyler that accepts EBT or electronic benefit transfers. Owner Adam Turner has customers who come in often to bring food home to their families.

“Probably at least 15% of our business is just EBT. They are regular, they do come in quite a bit,” said Turner. Turner shares with us his concern about the delays, personally knowing the people it affects.

“It’s kind of horrible for them. You know, these are people that really need the money and they need access to quality food, that’s the biggest thing,” added Turner.

SNAP applications per month increased by 65% this year compared to pre-pandemic months.

“I really feel like it provides quality food for people who are low income and need help, so we love being able to accept it,” explained Turner.

HHSC said cases may take longer to process with the higher demand and shorter staff, but add they are working as quickly as they can with the workers they do have.

As of this week, Texas Health and Human Services estimates more than 291,000 SNAP applications are waiting to be processed.

HHSC said they are working to grow their staff through job fairs and pay increases.

For any questions about an application, HHSC contact number is 211, but SNAP benefit recipients warn us there are sometimes hour-long wait times.