Pennsylvania joins states reinstating stolen SNAP benefits

Pennsylvania is among the first wave of states to begin reimbursing stolen SNAP benefits using federal funding approved last December.
EBT sign
(Scott Heins / Getty Images)

Recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program whose benefits were stolen after October 1, 2022, may now apply to get them reinstated, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services announced Thursday.

SNAP recipients in Pennsylvania who have had their benefits stolen electronically can now fill out a Benefit Theft Claim Form and submit it online. Alternatively, Pennsylvanians can submit claims via a state benefits portal called COMPASS, by phone or in-person at a county assistance office. 

“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,” DHS Secretary Val Arkoosh said in a press release. “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.”    

Pennsylvania is among the first wave of states to begin reimbursing stolen SNAP benefits using federal funding allocated in this year’s omnibus spending bill. It required states to develop plans for replacing stolen benefits and submit them to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service for approval last February. States that have already begun offering reimbursements include Alabama, Maryland and Vermont


Fraudulent benefit claims escalated nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the scale of SNAP benefit theft via card skimming, card cloning and phishing scams is unknown, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agency reports that some states are looking to introduce EBT cards with chips to mitigate thefts and the Food and Nutrition Service will soon begin a pilot project that uses contactless mobile SNAP payments.  

“Although we are aware of reports of benefit theft in some states, USDA does not have comprehensive data on the number of incidents for each state,” reads the USDA website. “As a result of the law passed in December 2022, states are required to collect data on the scope and frequency of card skimming and report regularly to FNS. This will help states, FNS and Congress better understand the magnitude of card skimming going forward.”

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