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Families in NYC Hit by SNAP Benefits Theft, Assembly Members Demand Action from the State

"SNAP/EBT Food Stamp Benefits Accepted" is displayed on a screen inside a Family Dollar Stores Inc. store in Chicago, Ill., on March 3, 2020.

Families in New York City are facing a troubling trend: money is being stolen from their SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, and when they ask for help from city and state agencies, nothing happens. According to New York Assembly member Khaleel Anderson in an article written by Josephine Stratman on December 10, 2022, his office has received dozens of calls from families who have had their SNAP funds stolen.

One such victim is 50-year-old Lakisha Martinez from the Rockaways. In July, $900 was stolen from her SNAP card, money that she uses to support herself and her four grandchildren. Anderson says that his office is seeing a spike in benefit fraud, with his constituents becoming victims of “card skimming.” It is estimated that more than 2,200 families could be impacted by this trend.

In response, Anderson has reached out to city, state, and federal agencies for answers. The state agency in charge of SNAP benefits is the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). Anderson is demanding that the OTDA take action and reimburse the families who have had their SNAP funds stolen.

“It is unacceptable that families are having their SNAP benefits stolen and are not receiving the support they need from state agencies,” Anderson said in a statement. “I am calling on the OTDA to take immediate action to investigate these cases and provide reimbursements to the families who have been impacted.”

It remains to be seen what action, if any, the OTDA will take in response to Anderson’s demands. In the meantime, families in New York City who rely on SNAP benefits to make ends meet are left vulnerable to theft and with little recourse to recover their stolen funds.

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