A person grabs food items from a cart and places them on a checkout belt.SPRINGFIELD —The Illinois Department of Human Services will collect data on the frequency of stolen SNAP benefits beginning Jan. 1 after a new law from State Senator Mattie Hunter takes effect.

“We have heard from many Illinois residents who have been victims of identity fraud and lost access to their SNAP benefits," said Hunter (D-Chicago). "By tracking the frequency of these occurrences, IDHS will have a better idea of the scope of the problem and how we can effectively move forward.”

Under the new law, IDHS will have the authority to track how often benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are stolen from their rightful recipients. SNAP participants receive monthly benefits for groceries deposited onto EBT cards, and in the past year, card skimming has increased significantly in many states. IDHS began collecting data on card skimming and other fraud methods in December 2022, making it unclear how much theft had previously occurred.

Last year, Congress passed legislation to replace SNAP benefits stolen between Oct. 1, 2022 and Sept. 30, 2024. This new law will serve as a starting point for Illinois to gain a clearer understanding of the scope and frequency of SNAP benefit fraud in the state, allowing for more effective measures to be put in place to combat this issue.

“When families lose their benefits —at no fault of their own — they are unable to purchase food until the situation can be resolved,” Hunter said. “We must ensure these benefits remain accessible to those who need them.”

House Bill 2214 takes effect Jan. 1.