Thursday, February 29, 2024

Virginia Receives Federal Approval to Replace SNAP Benefits for Victims of Fraud

(Photo courtesy of Food Stamps Now.)

RICHMOND —  The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) received approval from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service to replace certain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits stolen from clients’ Electronic  Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards.

Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, Virginia can use federal funding to replace SNAP benefits stolen between Oct. 1, 2022 and Sept. 30, 2024 through card cloning, skimming and other fraudulent methods.

According to VDSS, eligible SNAP benefits may also include Disaster SNAP and emergency allotments. Benefit replacement kicks in beginning July 17. 

Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer benefits, also known as P-EBT benefits, established by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, are not approved to be replaced, VDSS said.  

VDSS urged SNAP customers to take preventive measures to protect their funds whenever possible, including changing card PINs often, examining card swiping devices for signs of tampering, and not responding to unsolicited texts, emails or phone calls concerning their EBT account.

VDSS has a dedicated webpage with more information on how customers can help protect themselves from EBT scams.

VDSS said victims of EBT scams should contact their local department of social services and fill out all required paperwork within 30 days of discovering that benefits were stolen. Upon validation of the claim, replacement funds will be issued within 10 days of the reported loss. Households are limited to two replacement issuances for stolen benefits in the federal fiscal year.   

Visit dss.virginia.gov/EBTscam to access the funds replacement form and find more information about SNAP replacement funding.

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