Sneak Preview: States Given More Power To Curb SNAP Trafficking

October 4, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xgran_bookshot(The following was excerpted from an article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) The Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service is giving states more authority to halt the fraudulent use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, particularly for excessive electronic benefits card replacement requests and trafficking.

FNS recently finalized a rule amending the SNAP program to allow state agencies the right to deny a replacement request for an EBT card if they determine the request to be excessive. Suspected fraud, waste and abuse surrounding frequent multiple replacement requests for EBT cards have been under review for some time (see “Bill Calls for States to Draw Up EBT Prohibitions, May 2012 GRAN). The rule allows states to determine whether the request for a replacement card is legitimate or requires further investigation.

If the state agency deems, however, that an EBT card legitimately has been lost or stolen, it is now required to make a replacement card available for pick up or send one in the mail within two business days after being contacted by individual or household.

In addition, FNS is seeking comments on an interim final rule to reduce SNAP trafficking. Trafficking is the exchange of benefits for cash or other ineligible items. State agencies would be required to monitor EBT card replacement requests and send notices to clients that have requested four cards within a 12-month period. FNS’s fraud detection systems are three times more likely to flag a household or individual’s shopping behavior as “potential trafficking” after it has requested a fourth replacement card within a year.

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