Maryland secures federal funds to reimburse people with stolen SNAP benefits
Maryland is moving forward on a plan to implement federal funds to reimburse stolen Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP, benefits from state residents.
About 3,800 known victims lost a total of $2.5 million due to a scam called electronic benefits transfer skimming, where criminals steal card and pin numbers.
SNAP gives people experiencing poverty a monthly stipend for food and essential goods. In 2021, about 573,000 households used SNAP benefits in Maryland, according to the University of Maryland School of Social Work.
“These benefits are critical for some of Maryland’s most vulnerable residents and it was imperative that we move immediately to help restore faith in their services and help make them whole,” said Gov. Wes Moore.
Maryland will now be able to replace funds stolen starting in October 2022 through September 2024, according to the Maryland Department of Human Services.
As part of the plan submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to receive the federal funding, Maryland will implement new security measures on the electronic benefit cards.
Those include features like allowing clients to lock their card when it’s not in use and texting cardholders after a purchase is made. The state will also start educating people about how they can better protect their card information.
The federal funds come from the most recent U.S. appropriations omnibus that requires states to reimburse stolen SNAP funds. The law only allows for two months of benefits to be reinstated.
DHS expects that cardholders will be able to make reimbursement claims starting in mid-March through the myMDTHINK Consumer Portal.
Residents who suspect they may be a victim of fraud should report suspicious activity to their local department of social services and request a new EBT card.