27 July 2023- The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) today announced that recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) who have had their benefits electronically stolen are now able to have those benefits replaced. Eligible SNAP recipients who have had their benefits electronically stolen on or after October 1, 2022, will be able to replace their stolen SNAP benefits through federal funds, provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.
“SNAP is the nation’s most important food security program, helping more than 1.9 million Pennsylvanians put food on their tables to help them stay safe, healthy, and fed. But too often, bad actors attempt to take advantage of SNAP recipients by engaging in scams and theft of these benefits,” said DHS Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh. “I am incredibly pleased that we can now restore these benefits to the people who need them most. I encourage anyone who may qualify to reach out to DHS right away so you can restore the benefits you’re entitled to.”
SNAP recipients who have had their benefits electronically stolen can fill out a Benefit Theft Claim Form and submit it online or provide it to DHS through COMPASS, by calling the Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930 or at 215-560-7226 for Philadelphia clients, or by visiting a County Assistance Office (CAO). Reports of electronic benefit theft must be reported within 60 calendar days of the discovery of the theft.
SNAP benefits are eligible for replacement if they were stolen due to electronic fraudulent activity, such as:
1. Skimming: The use of electronic equipment to take someone’s information without their knowledge.
2. Card Cloning: Copying stolen electronic benefits transfer (EBT) information to a new card.
3. Phishing scams: When scammers use fraudulent text messages or phone calls to obtain EBT card numbers and PINs to steal SNAP benefits.
4. Scamming: Falsely convincing a SNAP recipient to give their EBT and/or personal information to someone else.
DHS cannot replace benefits if the client gave their physical EBT card and PIN to someone who then stole the benefits, or if a physical EBT card was lost or stolen.
The maximum amount a household can receive in a single reimbursement is up to two months’ worth of their regular SNAP payment or the amount that was stolen, whichever is less. Benefits lost to electronic fraud cannot be replaced more than two times in a federal fiscal year, which runs from October 1 to September 30.
DHS takes fraud prevention seriously and works diligently to ensure the benefits DHS administers get to the Pennsylvanians who need them. DHS will never ask for information about an EBT card, SNAP, or any other public assistance programs via unsolicited or random calls or texts. Anyone who suspects fraud should report it to the DHS Fraud Tipline at 1-844-DHS-TIPS. Pennsylvanians who have additional questions about whether a call, text, letter, or other communication is legitimate should contact DHS’ Office of Income Maintenance.
DHS also urges all clients to remain vigilant in protecting their cards and personal information and encourages clients to take an extra look at FBI guidance before scanning their card at a point-of-sale machine to ensure there is no skimming attachment.
Applications for public assistance programs, including SNAP, can be submitted online at www.dhs.pa.gov/COMPASS. On-site CAO services are available if clients cannot access online services or need assistance that cannot be accessed through the COMPASS website, the MyCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling the Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930.