Food Stamp Fraud: How to Recognize and Report It

Food stamps, which are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), help over 9 million low-income families in America buy the food they need to stay healthy. The program is one of the country’s most important in the fight against hunger and is a core pillar of many people’s livelihoods. SNAP allows money that would have been spent on food to be used for other essentials, such as medical bills, rent, and utilities.

Unfortunately, some people take advantage of SNAP to access benefits to which they’re not actually entitled. Doing this is not only immoral, since it cuts funding for those who need it the most, but it’s also illegal. Continue reading to learn how to spot food stamp fraud and what to do if you suspect it.

What is Food Stamp Fraud?

Food stamp fraud occurs when someone violates SNAP rules at the state or federal level. It’s important to note that if you make an honest mistake while applying for this program, it’s not considered fraud. However, certain activities are expressly prohibited by program rules that are fraudulent. 

Some examples of SNAP fraud include:

  • Intentionally providing false information on a SNAP application to obtain benefits for which you are not eligible or to obtain greater benefits than you should receive

  • Exchanging your SNAP benefits for goods that aren’t covered by the food stamp program

  • Selling SNAP benefits for cash

How Do I Report SNAP Fraud?

If you catch or detect a case of food stamp fraud, you should contact the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). This Department of Agriculture agency has local branches in each state, so reach out to the appropriate office based on where you live. Contact information for the most significant states for our community is listed below:

  • Arizona

    • Phone: (800) 251-2436 or (855) 777-8590

  • California

    • Phone: (800) 344-8477

    • Email

  • North Carolina

    • Phone: (866) 719-0141

  • South Carolina

    • Phone: (800) 616-1309

  • Colorado

    • Phone: (877) 934-6361

    • Email

  • Florida

    • Phone: (866) 762-2237

  • Illinois

    • Phone: (800) 453-7283 or (800) 843-6154

  • Massachusetts

    • Phone: (800) 372-8399 or (866) 950-3663

    • Email

  • Nevada

    • Phone: (702) 486-1646 or (702) 486-1875

  • New Jersey

    • Phone: (800) 792-9773

    • Email

  • New Mexico

    • Phone: (800) 228-4802

  • New York

    • Phone: (518) 402-0125

    • Email

  • Oregon

    • Phone: (888) 372-8301

  • Pennsylvania

    • Phone: (800) 932-0582

  • Texas

    • Phone: (800) 436-6184 or (512) 973-9203

  • Washington

    • Phone: (800) 562-6906 or (888) 436-6392

  • Washington D.C.

    • Phone: (800) 521-1639; (202) 673-4464; or (202) 724-8477

    • Email

Does Applying for Food Stamps Affect My Immigration Status?

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During 2019, then-President Donald Trump enacted legislation that made it more difficult for people who accepted government benefits, such as food stamps, to obtain permanent residency. This law became known as the "Final Public Charge Rule." 

However, as of March 9, 2021, the Final Public Charge Rule is no longer in effect. Applying for food stamps will not affect your immigration status, nor will it impact any current or future immigration proceedings. 

How Can I Benefit from Food Stamps Legally?

Each state has its own laws and regulations that determine who is eligible for the local SNAP program. If you require food assistance due to a precarious economic situation, you should contact your local SNAP agency to determine if you and your family qualify for the program. The easiest way to do this is by calling the National Hunger Hotline at 1-877-842-6273.

You Can Prevent Abuse of Support Programs!

SNAP is one of the most important government programs in the U.S. that supports the most vulnerable sectors of society. Therefore, it’s essential to stay vigilant and avoid fraud that could impact the budget available to provide assistance to those who need it most. 
If you need government support to buy food for your family and don’t know how it works, we’re here to help! Simply reach out to our group of experts through our chat and we’ll gladly help you find a solution. It’s our mission to provide you with the tools and resources that help you live an empowered life in the United States.