What’s happening?

More than $170,000 in federal assistance, including SNAP benefits and Temporary Cash Assistance, was reported stolen between April 1 and June 8, according to the Maryland Department of Human Services, Mallory Sofastaii reports for WMAR. Since the beginning of 2022, the department has received about 350 reports of fraudabout 6 times the number reported in the same period last year. 

How has the department responded to the increase in fraud? 

Though federal law bars states from using federal money to reimburse stolen benefits, the department can direct families to other sources of assistance at the state and local levels. However, “DHS has been unable to identify a source to reimburse fraud victims of these federally funded cash assistance programs,” said a department spokeswoman. 

Instead, DHS is focused on raising awareness about the increase in fraud and working with EBT card vendor Conduent to enhance security, “such as PIN blocking and password functionality, and various account-level alerts,” according to the spokeswoman.

Previous reporting by Sofastaii shows some stolen benefit victims are frustrated with the lack of assistance from the state. 

Anything else I should know? 

Fraud victims can apply for emergency cash assistance through the Consumer Portal, local Departments of Social Services, or by calling 1-800-332-6347 (TTY 1-800-735-2258).

You can read more here.