The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) has been granted a significant allocation as one of the fortunate recipients of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) SNAP Fraud Framework Grants. This commendable achievement secures $749,987 in funding for the OIG, earmarked for a comprehensive three-year initiative.
The primary objective of these funds of this substantial financial support is to bolster Michigan’s endeavors in enhancing its ability to combat the misuse of benefits within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as the Food Stamps program. The OIG is poised to employ innovative strategies and implement best practices, all geared towards strengthening the state’s capacity to detect, investigate, and ultimately prevent fraudulent activities associated with the SNAP program.
SNAP Benefits in Michigan: How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Fraud With Your EBT Card
Michigan is set to embark on a proactive initiative by introducing and trialing an integrated fraud management tool in conjunction with their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) distribution system. To start, the EBT vendor’s fraud management tool is equipped with an array of features, including analytics, real-time monitoring, alert systems, and cardholder notifications designed to promptly detect and address potential instances of fraudulent activity.
Aside from the $750,000 the Michigan food stamp program received, recipients also have to be vigilant in how they use their EBT card. Some actions that you can take as a cardholder are:
- Always protect your PIN number. Keep your card’s Personal Identification Number (PIN) confidential. Do not share it with anyone, and avoid using easily guessable PINs like birthdays or simple numerical sequences. For example, don’t use “1234” or “1111”. That’s quite easy to unveil for scammers.
- Regularly check your EBT card balance and transaction history. If you notice any unfamiliar or unauthorized transactions, report them immediately to your EBT provider and ask them to take immediate actions.
- Keep your EBT card in a safe and secure place. Treat it like you would a debit or credit card, and never leave it unattended.
- Always be aware of the current and new scams. Be cautious of unsolicited calls, texts, or emails asking for your EBT card information. Legitimate EBT providers will never request this information through such channels.
- If you lose your EBT card, report it immediately to your EBT provider, in order for it to be blocked and a new one to be issued to you.
Who Qualifies for Food Stamps in Michigan?
Eligibility for assistance is subordinated to the financial circumstances of all individuals residing within a household. Any group of individuals who cohabit and share in the acquisition and preparation of food are categorized as members of a single household unit. Broadly speaking, officials will check your expenditures, assets, and earnings to ascertain whether you qualify for any form of assistance.
Some household expenses are taken into account when determining what’s the amount your family qualify for. Examples of some of these expenses include: shelter (rent, mortgage, heat, electric,
water, telephone, etc.), court-ordered or legally obligated child support payments and alimony.
Dependent care and medical expenses (medical and dental care, hospitalization or nursing care, medical supplies, health insurance premiums etc.) For certain members who have a disability or are at least 60 years old.
If you have inquiries pertaining to the Food Assistance Program, please get in touch with your local MDHHS Office.
The food asset assistance limit is $15,000, as of 2023. Examples of assets are: cash on hand, saving accounts, investments, trusts, and property or real estate.