HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has announced plans to replace Pennsylvanian’s stolen SPAN benefits, a project the department says will be the first of its kind for the state.

The department says eligible SNAP recipients who’ve had their benefits electronically stolen on or after Oct. 1, 2022, will be able to receive their stolen SNAP benefits through federal funds provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.

SNAP recipients who have had their benefits electronically stolen can apply through the following methods:

Reports of electronic benefit theft must be reported within 60 calendar days of the discovery of the theft.

The department says SNAP benefits are eligible for a replacement if they were stolen due to electronic fraudulent activity, such as:

  • Skimming: The use of electronic equipment to take someone’s information without their knowledge.
  • Card Cloning: Copying stolen electronic benefits transfer (EBT) information to a new card.
  • Phishing scams: When scammers use fraudulent text messages or phone calls to obtain EBT card numbers and PINs to steal SNAP benefits.
  • Scamming: Falsely convincing a SNAP recipient to give their EBT and/or personal information to someone else.

Benefits can not be replaced if the client gave their EBT card and pin to someone who then stole the benefits or if the EBT card was lost or stolen.

The maximum amount a household can receive in a single reimbursement is up to two months’ worth of their regular SNAP payment or the amount that was stolen, whichever is less. Benefits lost to electronic fraud cannot be replaced more than two times in a federal fiscal year, which runs from October 1 to September 30.

“SNAP is the nation’s most important food security program, helping more than 1.9 million Pennsylvanians put food on their tables to help them stay safe, healthy, and fed. But too often, bad actors attempt to take advantage of SNAP recipients by engaging in scams and theft of these benefits,” said DHS Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh. “I am incredibly pleased that we can now restore these benefits to the people who need them most. I encourage anyone who may qualify to reach out to DHS right away so you can restore the benefits you’re entitled to.”

Anyone who suspects fraud should report it to the DHS Fraud Tipline at 1-844-DHS-TIPS.