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States Begin Reimbursing Stolen SNAP Funds to Victims

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ( Photo: Poverty Action Lab )

Maryland and Vermont residents who have had their food benefits stolen can now claim reimbursement from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ( Photo: Maryland Matters )

Alabama and Iowa are also expected to start reimbursing SNAP funds in May and June, respectively.

The states have submitted their reimbursement plans, and the USDA‘s stolen SNAP funds page will publish details as and when each plan is approved.

Food benefit theft has become a disturbing trend in the United States, with thieves using a range of methods to steal millions of dollars in SNAP funds assistance intended for low-income families. The two main methods used by criminals are skimming and phishing, where card information is copied during payment or withdrawal of cash.

In response to this trend, Congress passed a law at the end of last year that allows states to use federal funds to replace the stolen SNAP funds. Victims of SNAP benefit theft between October 1, 2022, and September 30, 2024, are entitled to reimbursement. So far, four states have submitted their plans, with Maryland and Vermont already implementing their payback schemes.

Maryland was the first state to implement its plan

It was submitted on February 10 and approved in less than two weeks. Victims who had their benefits stolen between October 1, 2022, and February 28, 2023, have until May 31 to file a claim. Vermont launched its benefits recovery scheme on March 14, and victims who had their benefits stolen between October 1, 2022, and March 14, 2023, have until April 12 to file a claim.

Alabama and Iowa have also submitted their reimbursement plans, with Alabama due to start implementation on May 30 and Iowa on June 15. While each state will have different processes in place for victims to reclaim funds, documentation showing what was stolen will likely be required.

There is also a limit on how much can be claimed, with states only allowed to pay up to two months’ worth of benefits, even if more money was stolen.

Victims of food benefit fraud are advised to change their EBT PIN and password immediately and report the theft to get a new card as soon as possible. SNAP benefits have become a lifeline for millions of American households, and if they are stolen, families may have to go hungry, take on debt, or turn to help from charities or friends and family.

READ ALSO: Experts Propose Raising Social Security Payroll Tax Cap As A Solution To Potential Benefit Cuts

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