Michelle applied for services with Lone Star Legal Aid (LSLA) at the Spring Branch Family Development Center Outreach Enrollment Clinic in May 2021, as a minor, with her mother signing as her guardian. Michelle was 28 weeks pregnant at the time and needed health and nutritional benefits so she could regularly visit her doctor for pregnancy appointments and make sure she is eating healthy.

Michelle had applied for Pregnant Women Benefits, Supplemental Nutrition Benefits (SNAP), and a renewal of her Medicaid Benefits. Her pregnancy was moving along and she had not seen a doctor. Upon approval of eligibility, she was given 15 days to find a provider. If she didn’t find one herself, HHSC would assign one to her. She found a provider, but then didn’t hear anything from HHSC. 

LSLA complained to the agency for not acting on her application. HHSC had not responded to Michelle or even interviewed her so that she could begin utilizing her benefits.

In the meantime, Michelle went to the hospital and declared her situation an emergency, since she desperately needed a doctor. While there, Michelle received the call from HHSC, and they interviewed her by phone. They granted her CHIP prenatal benefits, but denied her SNAP benefits because she was living with her mother. 

We investigated further and appealed this decision based to HHSC asserting she should still be approved for SNAP since she rents a room from her mother and pays all her own bills. Within a few days of receiving Michelle’s appeal, HHSC approved her application and granted her SNAP benefits.

*Name(s) were changed to protect the identity of the client.