TYLER, Texas — In about a week, more than 150,000 Texans filed for unemployment benefits, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For perspective, that is an 860% increase over the prior week.
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services lowered some of the requirements needed to qualify for welfare programs like SNAP.
"The unemployment numbers are sky high right now. So what Health and Human Services did was waive the job requirements for able bodied people without dependents," Tim Butler of the East Texas Food Bank said. "Typically I'd have to work at least 20 hours a week to qualify for food stamps. That is now waived since unemployment is so high so don't let that scare you off."
Another major change is people who are currently on SNAP or Medicaid benefits will automatically be re-enrolled without having to reapply.