State Senator Mattie Hunter speaks while on the Senate floor.SPRINGFIELD — To gain an understanding of the scope and frequency of SNAP benefit fraud in Illinois, State Senator Mattie Hunter passed a bill through committee granting the Illinois Department of Human Services the authority to collect data on these stolen benefits within the state.

"The COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted the importance of SNAP benefits in ensuring that families have access to the food they need,” said Hunter (D-Chicago). “However, fraud threatens the integrity of this critical program.”

House Bill 2214 allows IDHS 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 recent months, 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. Under this measure, IDHS will be required to report its findings to the General Assembly annually beginning on Jan. 1, 2024.

Last year, Congress passed legislation to replace SNAP benefits stolen between Oct. 1, 2022 and Sept. 30, 2024. House Bill 2214 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.

"This bill addresses the need for more accountability and transparency in our state's anti-fraud measures,” Hunter said. “By tracking and collecting data on how often SNAP fraud occurs in Illinois, we can develop more effective policies to combat this issue and prevent it from happening in the future."

House Bill 2214 passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday. It now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Category: News

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