Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Trafficking Controls and Fraud Investigations; Extension of Comment Period
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) issued a final rule to amend Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or Program) regulations to allow State agencies to deny a request for a replacement card until contact is made by the household with the State agency, if the requests for replacement cards are determined to be excessive. State agencies which elect to exercise this authority will be required to protect vulnerable persons, such as individuals with disabilities, homeless individuals or the elderly, who may repeatedly lose their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards but are not committing fraud. FNS is also changing the EBT card replacement timeframes in the same section to require State agencies to make replacement cards available for pick up or to place the card in the mail within two business days following notice by the household to the State agency that the card has been lost or stolen. FNS is further amending regulations to define the term ``trafficking'' to include the attempt to buy or sell SNAP benefits in cases where an individual makes the offer to sell SNAP benefits and/or EBT card online or in person. Finally, FNS issued an interim final rule (with a request for additional comment) that requires State agencies to monitor EBT card replacement requests and send notices to those clients who have requested four cards within a 12-month period. The State agency shall be exempt from sending this Excessive Replacement Card Notice if it adopts the card withholding option in accordance with the final rule and sends the requisite Withhold Replacement Card Warning Notice on the 4th replacement card request. The comment period is being extended to provide additional time for interested parties to review the interim final rule.