In the event of a large-scale disaster, states may request permission from USDA to operate a Disaster SNAP program (D-SNAP). D-SNAP has special income rules and a very simple application process. It provides SNAP benefits quickly to households that would not ordinarily qualify for them, but that suddenly need food assistance due to a disaster situation. D-SNAP may also include special provisions for existing recipients.
Replacement SNAP Benefits in a Misfortune
SNAP recipients who experience a household misfortune that causes their food to spoil or be destroyed can receive a replacement benefit. The loss of food can be due to a situation such as a storm or a flood, which affects large areas, or can be specific to a single household, such as a fire. The amount of the replacement benefit cannot be higher than the household’s usual monthly allotment.
Examples of Household Misfortune:
- Extended power outage (four hours or more)
- Equipment failure (refrigerator/freezer)
- Failure to pay a utility bill
It is always possible for SNAP recipients who lose food in a household misfortune to obtain replacement benefits if the household:
- Reports the loss within 10 days of the misfortune either verbally (by phone or in person) or in writing to their SNAP office, and
- Returns a signed and completed LDSS Form 2291 within 10 days of the date of the reported loss to the SNAP office, either by mail or in person.
Other Things to Note:
- The SNAP office should always issue replacement benefits if a household requests them and has experienced a power outage/shutoff of four hours or longer.
- The SNAP office should not require the household to bring in spoiled food as verification of need, for reasons of health and administrative impracticality.
- A household may not be denied replacement SNAP benefits if it has applied for replacement issuances in the past.
- The SNAP office may use available information to confirm or deny the accuracy of the statement attesting to the household misfortune.
Replacement SNAP Benefits After Electronic Theft
USDA currently permits states to use SNAP funds to issue replacement benefits to households who had a scam-related electronic theft of SNAP benefits from August 22, 2023, through September 30, 2024. Electronic benefit theft, also known as “skimming” “phishing” or “card cloning,” is a type of theft that occurs electronically, even if the EBT card is never physically lost.
SNAP benefits that are eligible for replacement include regular SNAP, restored, replacement, or retroactive issuances, Disaster SNAP (D-SNAP), and supplemental Emergency Allotments (EA). Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) is not eligible for replacement.
Stolen benefits must be reported within 30 days of the date the household becomes aware of the theft to be eligible for replacement. After reporting the theft, SNAP households should submit a claim to request the replacement of stolen benefits. An active SNAP case is not required to submit a claim for replacement benefits. If a client has a closed or rejected case, they should submit a claim for replacement benefits under their old case number rather than submitting a new SNAP application.
Steps to Take After a Household Experiences Theft
Households should complete the following steps to request replacement benefits:
Report their EBT card as stolen immediately after realizing the theft.
Prior to submitting a claim for replacement benefits, clients are required to change their account PIN, report their EBT card stolen, and request a new card by visiting www.connectebt.com or calling EBT Customer Service at 888-328-6399. Note: Clients are not required to report the benefit theft to the police in order to submit a claim for replacement benefits with the SNAP office. Additionally, if clients have already reported their EBT card as stolen after the theft, they do not need to report it stolen again to submit a claim.
Obtain EBT transaction history.
In anticipation of submitting a claim for replacement benefits, clients should review their EBT transaction history so they can report the following information for each fraudulent transaction:
- The date the transaction occurred
- The name and address of the business where the transaction occurred
- The benefit type (whether Cash Assistance or SNAP)
- The amount of each fraudulent transaction.
Clients can use one of the following methods to obtain their EBT transaction history:
- Option 1: Access EBT transaction history at www.connectebt.com or on the ConnectEBT mobile app (available for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store). The OTDA LDSS-5066 Cardholder Online EBT Account User Guide has instructions for creating a Connect EBT account, reporting a CBIC card lost or stolen, requesting a new card, changing the account PIN, and reviewing transaction history. The User Guide is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Russian, and Spanish. Note: If clients have never used Connect EBT, they will need to create an account using an email address and valid EBT Card number. If they have reported their card stolen, they will need to wait for their new card to arrive to create a ConnectEBT account.
- Option 2: Call the toll-free EBT Customer Service line at 1-888-328-6399. Clients can access an automated menu that allows them to hear their ten most recent transactions. Clients can also speak with a customer service representative to request a two-month statement of their account history. Agents are available 24/7 and offer assistance in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Russian, and Spanish.
Gather information to submit a claim for replacement benefits.
After reviewing their transaction history and identifying the fraudulent transactions, the client can then submit their claim to their local SNAP office. To file the claim, they will need the following:
- Client Identification Number (CIN) of the head of household or case payee
- Case Number
- Current Mailing Address
- Date, location, benefit type, and amount of each fraudulent transaction.
Form LDSS-5215 allows households to request the replacement of stolen benefits.
For households in New York City, a local equivalent, HRA-210, has also been approved for use. The HRA-210 application may be submitted online.
Determining the “Amount of Theft”
An occurrence of theft may span more than a single transaction. The occurrence of theft may take place over a few days, or a case may remain compromised with ongoing theft transactions for several months. The ‘amount of theft’ is the combined total loss resulting from (a single or multiple) theft transactions: beginning with the first theft transaction following the original skimming (or phishing, etc.) episode in which the EBT account was compromised and including every subsequent theft transaction until the compromised EBT card was deactivated.
When working with a household it is important to carefully review the transaction history and make sure that you identify the “combined total loss” due to a theft incident rather than just the initial transaction that started the fraudulent activities. The SNAP office will only consider the sum of the reported fraudulent transactions listed on the LDSS-5215/HRA-210, even if it is apparent in the transaction history that there were additional fraudulent activities stemming from the same theft incident.
How to Submit Claims for Replacement SNAP
Clients can submit a claim for replacement SNAP using any of the following methods:
- In NYC: File a claim online at nyc.gov/hra. This process may take as little as 10 minutes if the client has already reported the fraud and reviewed and identified the suspected fraudulent transactions. Submitting an online claim is strongly recommended by HRA for people in NYC.
- Rest of NYS: The application is paper-based, but an online application in MyBenefits is expected to launch in early 2024. Households can upload the LDSS 5215 via the NYDocSubmit app if they live in a participating district.
- In NYC: Clients can print a paper claim form from nyc.gov/hra, or call DSS One Number (718-557-1399) to request that a form be mailed to them. Paper claim forms are also available in the local BAC or SNAP Center. Completed paper applications can be mailed to: Department of Social Services, PO BOX 02-9121, Brooklyn GPO, Brooklyn, NY 11202
- Rest of NYS: Households can mail the application to the local SNAP office.
- In NYC: Clients can submit a claim via paper form or on PC Banks in any Benefits Access, SNAP, or HASA Center. Find the closest Center
- Rest of NYS: Clients can drop off the application in person at the local SNAP office.
Once a claim is submitted, the client should allow up to 30 calendar days to receive a decision notice in the mail. Clients should anticipate receiving their replacement benefits on their newest and most recently used EBT card around the time that they receive their notice of determination.
Frequency of Replacement Benefits
A household may receive up to two instances of replacement SNAP benefits in each Federal Fiscal Year (FFY), which runs October 1 – September 30. Households are eligible to receive either the amount of SNAP benefits that were stolen, or an amount equal to two times the SNAP benefits received in the most recent complete month of participation in SNAP before benefits were stolen, whichever is less.