OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Help could be on the way for Oklahomans who have had their food stamp benefits drained right out of their bank accounts.
KFOR has shared the stories of several families who had everything taken from card skimming, cloning and other similar forms of fraud.
“[I felt] embarrased, humiliated, hopeless…I did so much stuff that I never thought in this world that I would do,” said William Hassell.
“I went to get my Christmas dinner for my grandbabies and I realized we wouldn’t have no dinner,” said Barbara North.
After those stories aired, several KFOR viewers stepped in to help.
A release from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) noted that after the agency became “aware of increased reports of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) theft due to card skimming, cloning, and similar fraudulent methods”, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (the Omnibus) into law, enabling the replacement of stolen EBT benefits with Federal funds.
The bill’s language dictates that SNAP recipients can claim reimbursements on certain stolen benefits from incidents occurring between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2024.
Read more about the replacement criteria.
Federal guidelines also indicates that states’ “plans must be submitted to FNS no later than Feb. 27, 2023, which is 60 days after the enactment of the Omnibus. Approved plans will be incorporated into the states’ plans of operation and will remain in effect until the publication of the interim final rule.”
In an email to KFOR, OKDHS said they will submit their plan by the deadline:
Guidance to states about the replacement of SNAP benefits was provided from FNS on Jan. 31. Our state plan is being developed to be submitted by that [February deadline] date, and then FNS will have to approve all states’ plans before they may be implemented.Casey L. White, Oklahoma Department of Human Services
“I told my grandbabies that and they was happy. And so those stamps coming back… boy, that’s a blessing by itself,” said Ms. North.
But, Mr. Hassell said he hasn’t been able to get back on track financially since his benefits were stolen in December.
“Even a little bit of food stamps are a little bit of help so hopefully they change it. Hopefully [Oklahoma] help[s] us,” said Hassell.
“[I’m trying to tell myself] like, hang in there, but I’m getting my butt kicked.”