The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 section 501(b) allows states to replace electronically stolen SNAP benefits with federal funds appropriated under section 18 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2027).
Electronically stolen benefits are defined as:
- Card skimming: Skimming occurs when devices illegally installed on ATMs and point-of-sale (POS) terminals record Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card numbers and Personal Identification Numbers (PIN). Criminals use the data to create fake EBT cards and then steal from participant accounts.
- Card cloning: Card cloning occurs when criminals use the data captured by skimming or other means to create fake EBT cards, the process criminals use to copy the EBT card number, without stealing the physical card.
- Phishing (or another similar method of fraud): occurs when participants receive phone calls, emails or text messages from people trying to mimic state agency messaging to scam households into releasing their EBT card data.
The Electronically Stolen Benefit Replacement Request:
A report of electronically stolen benefits is considered timely if received within 30 calendar days of the theft.
The Electronically Stolen Benefit Replacement Request (IM-111) captures the participant’s statement of loss and encourages the participant to provide any documentary evidence they may have to support their claim. The claim will be considered even if the participant does not have any of this information; lack of documentary evidence will not disqualify a household from receiving replacement benefits. However, the agency must receive a completed and signed IM-111 prior to starting the validation process.
Participants can report the stolen benefits by completing the IM-111 and returning it to FSD by mail, fax, in-person, or the FSD upload portal.
Participants may also report the stolen benefits by phone or the DSS Chat. Staff will document the participant’s report in the eligibility system and instruct the participant to complete the IM-111 and return it to the agency within 10 calendar days. The IM-111 form is considered timely if the 10th day falls on a weekend or holiday and the form is received the day after the weekend or holiday.
Validating the Loss
For a participant or authorized representative to receive an electronically stolen replacement benefit, they must have a valid claim. If SNAP benefits were removed from their EBT card without their permission while the card remained in their possession and the personal identification number (PIN) remained secure, the claim is valid.
Evidence (verification) used to validate the claim includes but is not limited to the following:
- Police report number, law enforcement agency, police officer and officer’s phone number, if provided
- Retailer or news media reports of identified skimming devices
- EBT processor data/transaction history
- Trends occurring in the State, such as known phishing schemes
- The EBT vendor’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system or other EBT vendor data
Reasons a replacement request will be denied or not considered:
- FSD is not able to validate the claim of fraudulent activity
- The household already received the maximum of two replacement issuances during the current federal fiscal year
- The report of theft was more than 30 days after the household discovered it
- The household claim of theft does not fall into the allowable replacement timeframe of October 1, 2022 –September 30, 2024
- IM-111 was not received timely or complete within 10 days of the reported theft
When a claim has been approved or denied, an Action Taken on your Request for Replacement Benefits (IM-112RB) will be sent to the participant.
If a replacement is partially or totally denied, the household has the right to request a fair hearing; however, no replacement can be made while the denial is being appealed.
Timeliness for Processing
The replacement request must be processed within 30 days from the date the theft is reported to FSD. If the IM-111 is received and considered timely, FSD staff will have 10 days to validate the claim, deny the claim, or request additional information to process the claim.
If a determination cannot be made, or the participant provided insufficient information, deny the request no later than the 30th day.
Retroactive Replacement Requests
Replacement requests for electronically stolen benefits can be considered retroactively from October 1, 2022 through September 5, 2023 if received by December 4, 2023.
Retroactive Requests on the IM-110 prior to September 5, 2023:
- The retroactive claims will be reviewed and processed by Program and Policy (P&P) staff
- P&P staff will review denied benefit replacement IM-110’s that were received prior to September 5, 2023
- If more information is needed, P&P staff will contact participants by telephone and if not reached, will send a request for information by mail to the participant and allow 10 days to respond
- If the participant does not respond to request for information, the IM-110 will remain denied.
Retroactive Requests after September 5, 2023:
- P&P staff will direct participants to complete the IM-111
- Retroactive claims will be processed no later than 60 days after receipt of request.
Benefit Amount to be Replaced
Benefits replaced due to electronic theft from an EBT account may be replaced two times per federal fiscal year (FFY), which is October 1–September 30 of each year.
Replacement benefit issuances will be coded ESB (Electronically Stolen Benefits) in the eligibility system.
The replacement amount can be a maximum of the last two months of benefits or the amount of the actual loss, whichever is less. The participant can request more than the current month’s allotment because the theft could include unused benefits from the month prior.
Example: If a household reports that it lost $100 on March 1, 2023, because of electronic theft, and their last benefit was issued on February 10, 2023, for $250 (two months of their last monthly benefit is equal to $500) the household would receive $100 in replacement benefits, as it is the lesser of the two. If the same household reports that it lost $600 on March 1, 2023, they would receive $500 in replacement benefits.
If a theft occurs over the course of multiple days to include multiple transactions involving electronic theft of more than one month’s allotment, calculations for replacement benefits will be determined based on the date of the first occurrence of theft.
Example: A household receives $200 as their monthly allotment on the 15th of the month for May 2023 and June 2023. These two allotments equal $400. On June 20, 2023, the participant realizes and reports $250 in SNAP benefits were stolen in multiple transactions between June 17 and June 18. In this situation, the June 15 allotment is the monthly allotment that took place immediately prior to June 17, the first date of theft. The household would receive the reported $250 loss in replacement benefits, as it is less than two months of the May and June allotments, which totals $400.
Assigned to Specialized Staff
Staff must closely review all replacement requests. Requests for replacement for electronically stolen benefits will not be processed locally. Specialized staff will review any documentary evidence provided by the participant and will process the request for replacement.
A Welfare Investigation Unit (WIU) referral will be made on all verified ESB replacements. If the replacement request is denied and participant fraud is suspected, an intentional program violation (IPV) referral will be made to WIU.