Membership in federal SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, also known as food stamps, has gone up in the years since the 2007 recession and rise in unemployment rates. SNAP benefits are designed to be used only for groceries, which is why they don't consist of cash but instead are card-based.
Food stamp fraud occurs when individuals sell their SNAP money to stores in exchange for cash. They make a fraudulent purchase but receive cash instead of the intended product. The cash is often given at a reduced rate, but people in need of free cash are willing to accept this.
If you believe that a store near your house is guilty of conducting illegal food stamp fraud, it is your responsibility to report it to the appropriate authorities. This form of fraud bankrupts the federal and state coffers for purposes not related to helping families survive.
Whom To Report To
All food stamp fraud may be reported to the United States Department of Agriculture, which oversees all food stamp disbursement. Reports may be sent to the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, which will then notify the appropriate state agency to begin conducting the investigation on the guilty party.
Other Forms Of Food Stamp Fraud
While the federal government will often respond to allegations of large-scale fraud perpetrated by stores, you may need to contact state agencies directly if you are reporting on individuals guilty of fraud rather than companies.
Individual food stamp fraud varies from the sorts of purchases described above to people continuing to use their food stamps even after they've gotten a new job and are no longer eligible for benefits. If you know someone who you believe is lying about their income or assets yet still takes use of SNAP benefits or similar food stamp benefits in your state, contact the Department of Human Services or other agency in your state tasked with the responsibility for giving food benefits.
Different states have different processes for reporting food stamp fraud. In any case, it is highly discouraged to report food stamp fraud unless you are very certain that it is happening. You may be penalized yourself if you create more work than is necessary for state agencies if it turns out that you didn't have any legitimate reason to suspect someone for committing fraud. Be smart when it comes to reporting food stamp fraud.