Stolen SNAP benefits may be eligible for replacement starting next week
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabamians who fall victim to SNAP fraud may soon qualify for reimbursement from the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR).
On Tuesday, May 30, DHR will start offering replacement benefits to victims of EBT card skimming, card cloning, and similar SNAP fraud.
“We cannot let thieves rob low-income families of their ability to put food on the table,” said Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “Replacing stolen benefits will support uninterrupted access to nutritious meals for victims of SNAP fraud who rely on this program to feed their families.”
With the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, Congress authorized states to replace stolen SNAP benefits with federal funds. Earlier this year, Alabama became the fourth state approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service to implement a plan for reimbursing victims.
The federal law limits replacement benefits to thefts occurring between Oct. 1, 2022, and Sept. 30, 2024. Since October, DHR has received approximately 300 reports of stolen SNAP benefits.
To request replacement benefits, victims should contact a county DHR office and report their SNAP benefits stolen. June 30 is the deadline to submit reports for benefits stolen between Oct. 1, 2022, and May 30, 2023. Benefits stolen after May 30 must be reported within 30 calendar days of the date the theft was discovered.
After notifying DHR, an affidavit of stolen benefits must be completed to start the verification process. Location and contact information for all 67 county DHR offices is available at dhr.alabama.gov/county-office-contact.
DHR encourages SNAP participants to safeguard their benefits with these tips:
- Avoid simple PINs: Number combinations such as 1111, 1234 or 9876 are easy for others to guess.
- Keep your PIN and card number secret: Do not share your PIN or card number with anyone outside your household.
- Cover the keypad when you enter your PIN on a machine.
- Beware of phishing: DHR will never call or text to ask for your PIN or card number.
- Change your PIN often: Change your PIN at least once a month, right before your benefit issuance date.
- Check your EBT account regularly for unauthorized charges: If you see any, change your PIN right away to stop the thief from making new purchases. Report suspicious activity to your county DHR office.
- Contact your county DHR office: If you think your SNAP benefits were stolen, contact your county DHR office.
A flyer with more tips is available here.
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