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Massachusetts households to receive state-funded SNAP benefit replacements after millions stolen



BOSTON – Individuals and families in Massachusetts will receive a state-funded one-time retroactive replacement Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program payment starting Friday, May 12, to cover benefits stolen through skimming, phishing, or other similar fraudulent electronically-based methods between April 1, 2022, and September 30, 2022. This follows Governor Healey’s signing of a supplemental budget that included $2 million to replace stolen benefits not covered by the Congressional Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023.

“I want to thank the legislature for supporting this proposal and their ongoing partnership in promoting food and EBT card security across the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh. “SNAP is the first line of defense against hunger and supports our local grocery stores and farmers. Our state is a leader in providing households with replacement SNAP benefits not covered by the federal government and will continue to prioritize food security in Massachusetts through initiatives like this.”

“Thieves who systematically target debt and credit card users are now also victimizing low-income households who use EBT cards to buy food and meet their basic needs. Massachusetts continues to use every tool it has available to alert clients and protect them, while working with our EBT vendor and the federal government to modernize card security,” said Acting Department of Transitional Assistance Commissioner Mary Sheehan. “These state-funded replacement benefits will be a critical support for families as food prices continue to remain high. DTA has been working diligently to implement these reimbursements as quickly as possible after the signing of the supplemental budget.”

Unfortunately, scammers continue to target benefit recipients. All DTA clients are encouraged to change their PIN frequently. For additional protection, households can have their cash benefits (TAFDC or EAEDC) sent directly to a checking or savings account through direct deposit. Residents can contact their case manager if they have a bank account and want to set up direct deposit. Households are also reminded to never provide their personal information, EBT card number, or PIN to unidentified callers or in a link provided via text or email. A DTA staff member will never ask for a PIN.

DTA has taken multiple proactive steps to notify clients of scams and ways to protect their benefits. These include: sending text messages and notices to clients, adding an alert on the agency’s mobile app DTA Connect, inserting flyers in regular DTA mailings and providing them in DTA local offices, creating outreach materials for stakeholders and community partners in 11 languages, sending out media advisories, updating messages on the DTA Assistance Line to include this information, creating videos in English, Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL), and creating dedicated webpages. Additionally, Massachusetts was recently selected as one of five states to partner with the federal government on a mobile EBT pilot program, where clients will eventually be able to use their card more securely on their mobile device, eliminating the risk of skimming.

If any DTA client believes they may have fallen victim to a scam, they are encouraged to report it to DTA’s fraud hotline at 1-800-372-8399.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Fed Up

    May 12, 2023 at 7:41 pm

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions and your tax dollars.

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