Maryland families robbed of $170k in SNAP and cash aid in the past two months

BALTIMORE – The Maryland Department of Human Services confirmed that more than $170,000 in federal aid had been stolen from local families.

WMAR-2 News Mallory Sofastaii has covered the spike in stolen benefits. She asked the ministry about the estimated loss in fraud cases reported between April 1 and June 8.

READ MORE: A race to the ATM: Families must beat thieves to get their own food and cash assistance

A spokeswoman replied that approximately $68,000 in SNAP benefits and $105,000 in Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) benefits were reported stolen during that time.

Since January 1, 350 cases of fraud have been reported to the ministry. Last year, around the same time, DHS received about 58 reports.

The ministry has said it will not replace stolen benefits.

WMAR-2 News reported that federal regulations prohibit the state from replacing benefits with federal funds, but the agency can help families with local and state funds. The DC Department of Human Services is currently doing this.

RELATED: Families lose food and money aid to thieves; state says it cannot replace benefits

When asked whether Maryland DHS has taken steps to identify state or local funding sources to compensate victims of fraud, a spokeswoman replied:

“DHS consistently seeks opportunities to increase revenue streams to meet program needs. At this time, DHS has failed to identify a source to reimburse fraud victims of these federally funded cash assistance programs.

WMAR-2 News also asked the agency how it is working to make EBT cards more secure and whether it has been in contact with Conduent, the supplier that supplies Independence cards, about the increase in fraud.

A spokeswoman for the agency responded:

“DHS has partnered with Conduent to implement enhanced security features such as PIN and password blocking, and several account-level alerts. In addition to improving card security, our department is currently conducting an education and educational campaign to raise awareness about safe card usage in Marylanders. We have shared information with our community partners and asked them to share that information through their networks. In addition, we provide safety information on our various social media platforms.

Yes. DHS is in constant communication with our supplier partner, Conduent, about enhanced security features that can be added to Independence Cards and the electronic benefits transfer process.”

DHS has also instructed its local offices to refer fraud victims to other sources. report victims minimal help.

If you are a victim of this crime, you are encouraged to sign up for: emergency cash assistance through the Consumer portal or by visiting one of the 24 local branches of social servicesand by calling 1-800-332-6347 (TTY 1-800-735-2258).

Detailed information about the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Emergency Rental Assistance program, as well as where to apply, can be found on their website

Please contact your local elected officials. You can find their information by: click here† Type your address in the “lookup” tab and you will have the option to email all audited lawmakers.

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