Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cardholders, who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, are sometimes targeted by various scams. Some individuals may try to convince EBT cardholders to sell or trade their benefits for cash, often at a fraction of their value. This is illegal and can lead to the loss of benefits. Emails, phone calls, fake renewal offers with unreal deals or payment request are some of the most common scams that SNAP beneficiaries face all the time.
The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance has announced that individuals who have had their SNAP benefits (or food stamps) stolen can expect to receive compensation as soon as this week, or in the upcoming days, since the replacement will take place in an organized way.
Massachusetts SNAP Beneficiaries to Get Their Food Stamps Replaced
Starting on Thursday, October 19, residents of Massachusetts who qualify, and who have had their SNAP benefits unlawfully taken through methods such as skimming, phishing, or other fraudulent electronic means between October 1, 2022, and September 20, 2023, will be entitled to receive compensation.
“This is a significant step towards protecting SNAP clients from fraudulent activities and ensuring that they receive the benefits for which they are eligible,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh.
“These efforts make people experiencing food insecurity whole and give them back the funds taken by bad actors. SNAP is a critical tool for us to combat hunger and support local grocery stores, farmers, and food security for vulnerable families and individuals in the Commonwealth,” she added.
What Happened to Thousands of EBT Cards in Massachusetts?
In the earlier months of this year, the Bureau of Special Investigations unearthed substantial evidence pointing towards the fraudulent acquisition of over $2.7 million in public assistance during the second quarter of fiscal year 2023. Shockingly, this sum included more than $770,000 allocated to SNAP benefits. As a proactive response to this disconcerting revelation, the state initiated a process for reimbursing individuals who fell prey to SNAP thefts occurring between April 1, 2022, and September 30, 2022.
To reclaim their lost benefits, those affected by these thefts must diligently submit a claim to the Department of Transitional Assistance, which can be reached out on their website. Following rigorous verification by state authorities, the entire amount of misappropriated benefits will be meticulously restored to the victim’s account, helping them recover from this unfortunate incident.
How to Request Replacement of SNAP Benefits in Massachusetts
If you were targeted and affected by scammers, you might start your request using the next channels of communication:
- Online: Fill out our online form in the official website
- Mail: Send printed form to:
- DTA Program Integrity
Fraud Investigation Unit
P.O. Box 4411
Taunton, MA 02780-0435
- DTA Program Integrity
- By Phone: DTA Stolen Benefits Line 833-602-9247, or DTA Assistance Line 877-382-2363
New Increased Income Level to Qualify for SNAP Benefits
On a yearly basis, SNAP benefits are adjusted to account for inflation. These revised benefit amounts come into effect for a 12-month period, commencing each year on October 1st.
Annually, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) conducts an assessment of the income eligibility criteria, the maximum value of the thrifty food plan, and the minimum benefit amount for the food stamps’ allotments.
The new SNAP income limits every household must comply to are as follows (household’s size and maximum gross monthly income):
- 1 person: $2,430
- 2 people: $3,288
- 3 people: : $4,144
- 4 people: $5,000
- 5 people: $5,858
- 6 people: $6,714
- 7 people: $7,570
- 8 people: $8,428
- 9 people: $9,286
- 10 people: $10,144
- Each additional member: add $858 for each
If you’re a first-timer, and you’re looking forward to start for application for food stamps, go to the official USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service website and find all you need to know to request the assistance.
The Most Typical Food Stamps Scams You Should Be Aware Of
EBT scams, unfortunately, target some of the most vulnerable members of our society, those who rely on government assistance for their basic needs. It’s essential to be aware of these scams to protect oneself and one’s benefits.
One common scam involves fraudulent websites or phone calls. Scammers pose as government officials or service providers and request personal information like EBT card numbers and PINs. They may promise to increase benefits or offer assistance in exchange for these details.
Another scam is the sale of counterfeit EBT cards. Scammers may offer to sell EBT cards at a discounted rate, claiming they have extra or expired benefits. These cards are often fake and can lead to legal consequences for the buyer.
If a stranger offers you money in exchange for your EBT card, well, that’s also illegal. Unscrupulous individuals may offer to purchase EBT benefits at a fraction of their value and then use the full amount, leaving the cardholder with less to spend on necessities.