WV DHHR Addresses Stolen SNAP Benefits
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) very recently sent out a reminder to people who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits that while being able to easily access their benefits by using their Electronic Benefit Transfer card (EBT card,) there is a heightened risk of having their benefits stolen by card skimming, phishing or cloning scams, all of which can steal your SNAP benefits.
DHHR said the risks of having that happen to Snap card users is similar to the risk anyone has in using a credit or debit card, however there have been recent incidences where SNAP cards have been compromised to steal the legitimate SNAP benefits from low-income WV beneficiaries. DHHR says it is working with state and federal partners, retailers, and EBT processors to combat this.
DHHR also wanted to remind SNAP card users, as well as the people compromising the cards to steal benefits, that the theft of SNAP benefits is punishable by federal and state law which can include imprisonment and financial penalties. If a recipient of SNAP benefits is convicted of benefit theft, penalties may also include being banned from participating in the SNAP program.
Through the Federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, DHHR can replace stolen EBT benefits due to card skimming, cloning or phishing, retroactive to October 1, 2022, and through September 30, 2024. Replacement benefits cannot exceed the actual amount stolen or the household’s benefit allotment amount for the two months immediately preceding the theft, whichever is lesser, so it is important to file a claim to replace stolen benefits as soon as you discover it has happened.
West Virginia residents who receive SNAP benefits and believe benefits have been stolen due to card skimming, cloning, or phishing, should contact the local DHHR office or contact the DHHR Customer Service Center at 1-877-716-1212 to file a claim.
Additionally, the DHHR has announced that their WIC Program staff will be attending, and extending out-reach at some WV fairs and festivals, and will be accepting applications. At these events. The closest one of these to Pocahontas County will be the West Virginia State Fair, which runs from August 10th through the 19th.
At these events, local West Virginia WIC agencies will host children’s activities, diaper changing stations and mother’s lounge for infant feeding, and free farmers markets in addition to enrolling eligible families.