Erie County, Ohio officials: Get your Food Stamp Money ASAP

The Sandusky Register last week urged the 9,000 plus recipients of SNAP (food stamp) benefits to get their cards recharged soon as officials fear that money from the feds could be curtailed due to the shutdown and because many new people might be applying.

However, interesting to me in this story is a section at the end about alerting authorities if you see fraud.

snap fraud signs dc
SNAP Fraud alert posters appeared and disappeared quickly in the Washington. DC metro system last year!

 

You might recall the controversy in Washington, DC last spring when signs went up in the metro system alerting people about how to spot SNAP fraud. The DC government reacted quickly and had them removed “…apologizing to residents for sharing a message that is not a reflection of our values.” (See the story at Breitbart)

Here is a bit of the story from the Sandusky Register,

About 9,300 local recipients at risk of receiving food stamps

Erie County, officials distribute about $1 million monthly to the 9,300 recipients!

SANDUSKY — An ongoing partial federal government shutdown could open up a possibility in which thousands of Erie County residents won’t receive a monthly payment to purchase food.

Erie County Job and Family Services workers on Monday issued an alert to the 9,300 active Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program local recipients about obtaining their February benefits as soon as Wednesday, two weeks earlier than normal. Officials and recipients often shorten the phrase to “SNAP,” referred to by others as “food stamps.”

Agencies nationwide want to release February’s SNAP benefits ahead of time so recipients can best prepare themselves and their dependents.

But why is this happening?

In short, only enough money exists to provide these users — many of which are guardians or custodians with multiple children and senior citizens on fixed incomes — their normal financial allotment placed on Electronic Benefit Transfer cards through February.

But, after that, there’s no guarantee the U.S. Department of Agriculture can keep funding this program, leaving agencies, such as Erie County Job and Family Services, hamstrung in helping out people. The shutdown has significantly scaled back department operations. Many of its workers, for instance, aren’t getting paid, and various services overseen by the department have been reduced or altogether stopped.

 

But then much to my surprise the article goes in to a discussion about SNAP fraud:

Figuring out food stamp fraud

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program , or SNAP, benefits can only be used for food and for plants and seeds to grow food for your household to eat. SNAP benefits cannot be used to buy:

• Any nonfood item, such as pet food; soaps, paper products, and household supplies; grooming items, toothpaste, and cosmetics

• Alcoholic beverages and tobacco

• Vitamins and medicines

• Any food that will be eaten in the store

• Hot foods

“If people see abuse, report it to us, and we will investigate if that person’s benefits are being sold or abused,” said Vicki Bayer, Erie County Job and Family Services’ deputy director of community services.

 

Of course the “sold” part refers to the massive fraud of trafficking in food stamps.

New GAO study!

A new GAO study was released last week outlining the amount of fraud and what the government needs to do to stop it.

If you don’t know how trafficking works they have a cool graphic to show you.

screenshot (842)

A summary begins with this:

Millions of households rely on the $64 billion Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, to buy food. But some stores are defrauding the program by “selling” cash instead of food. For example, a store might give a person $50 in exchange for $100 in benefits—then pocket the difference.

How widespread is this “retailer trafficking”? The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) reports that $1 billion in benefits are trafficked annually. However, the real extent is uncertain and could be anywhere from $960 million to $4.7 billion.

 

question mark
Looking for something to do? Anyone who has been suspicious about a small grocery store, a gas station, or convenience store near you, should take the time to see what the GAO says and then consider turning the store in for investigation. 

 

Endnote: As I build this website, I’ll be developing categories for your future reference. See my Food Stamp fraud category by clicking here.

For a more extensive catalog of Food Stamp fraud stories visit RRW, here.

6 thoughts on “Erie County, Ohio officials: Get your Food Stamp Money ASAP

  1. I like your new blog and the information it provides. I also miss the information on refugee resettlement. It was my ‘go to’ to check my state and local area. Still, this is a nice change you have made.

    Like

    1. Refugee Resettlement Watch is still there (unfortunately wordpress made me change its look). Go there and type your state in the search function and I am sure you will find some news that is still relevant. I don’t see any more reform coming for the Refugee Program in the next two years and maybe never, so there was no sense going on with it and as I said beating my head against a wall! This is more interesting to me—mostly stories about “new Americans” who are frauds and crooks. And, besides, I think the whole issue of fairness is important to every one of us and maybe if there is a one stop shop for finding out about these cases (heck, the mainstream media can barely bring itself to mention the worst crimes by new Americans), people will get fed up and pressure their elected officials to fix immigration—LEGAL and illegal.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks … I still have your refugee website bookmarked and have passed it out to some friends that never knew about it.

        You have a very valid point about new reforms and I understand exactly how hard it must have been to follow that topic and write about it.

        I think your new website will once again bring new information that most people never realized, thus putting the spotlight on possible future frauds and expanding the base for catching actions that go unreported. I guess I am trying to say, readers will pass your information to others making them more aware of what is going one, just like before.

        I agree 100% with what you are saying. Great job on your new blog.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s