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SNAPSNAP Policy and Advocacy

SNAP Benefits Stolen Through Electronic Theft Are Now Eligible for Replacement

By February 29, 2024No Comments


For SNAP benefits stolen between October 1, 2022 and August 20, 2023, the deadline to apply has been extended to April 1, 2024.
Benefits stolen on or after August 21, 2023 must be reported within 30 days of the date the household becomes aware of the theft.

Jump to USDA and NYSOTDA Resources

SNAP households can now submit claims to request the replacement of SNAP and/or Cash Assistance benefits stolen electronically through EBT card skimming and phishing scams. The United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS) and New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) provided new information about how impacted households can apply for replacement benefits.

USDA permits states to use SNAP funds to issue replacement benefits to households who had a scam-related electronic benefit theft of SNAP benefits from October 1, 2022 through September 30, 2024. SNAP benefits considered eligible for replacement include regular, ongoing SNAP, restored, replacement or retroactive issuances, Disaster SNAP (D-SNAP), and supplemental Emergency Allotments (EA).

Similarly, the NYS Legislature enacted a law that permits the issuance of replacement benefits for households who had a scam-related electronic benefit theft of Cash Assistance benefits on or after January 1, 2022. In addition, Family Assistance (FA), Safety Net Assistance (SN-FP), Safety Net Cash Assistance (SN-CSH), Safety Net Non-Cash Assistance (SN-FNP), Emergency Safety Net Assistance (ESNA) and Emergency Assistance to Families (EAF) may be eligible for replacement.

Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) and Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund (PEAF) payments are not eligible for replacement.

Clients are not required to have an active SNAP or Cash Assistance case 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 or Cash Assistance application.

For SNAP benefits stolen between October 1, 2022 and August 20, 2023, the deadline to apply has been extended to April 1, 2024. The same April 1 deadline applies for cash assistance stolen between January 1, 2022 and August 20, 2023.

Note: Households whose SNAP benefits were stolen between October 1, 2022 and August 20, 2023, and whose TA benefits were stolen between January 1, 2022 and August 20, 2023, who do not apply for replacement benefits by April 1, 2024, may still apply for replacement benefits as long as the application is submitted within 30 days from the date that the household discovered the theft.

Benefits stolen on or after August 21, 2023 must be reported within 30 days of the date the household becomes aware of the theft to be eligible for replacement.

What is Electronic Benefit Theft?

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.

Skimming devices are placed on store’s card-swiping machine to copy EBT, credit, and debit card information. Card information is then used to make fake cards (called “clones”) to steal money from accounts. Skimming can happen anywhere EBT cards are swiped. SNAP participants impacted by skimming often find out when they attempt to make a new purchase or check their EBT balance.

Phishing is a different type of fraud where thieves trick people into clicking on a link that looks legitimate (usually sent through text or email). These fraudulent messages often direct the SNAP recipient to a third-party website or attempt to coax the person into providing their EBT card number and PIN, enabling scammers to create a point of access with which they steal the victim’s SNAP benefits. NYS OTDA and SNAP Offices will never ask for SNAP EBT account information by phone or email.

What should clients do if their SNAP or Cash Assistance benefits are stolen?

If a client’s SNAP or Cash benefits are stolen, they must 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 ConnectEBT or calling EBT Customer Service at 888-328-6399. 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 SNAP and/or Cash Assistance benefits, clients should review and note their EBT transaction history so that 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 should consider fraudulent transactions to be ones that they did not make or consent to. Clients can use one of the following methods to obtain their EBT transaction history:

  • Option 1: Accessing EBT transaction history at ConnectEBT or by downloading the ConnectEBT mobile app (available for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store). Please refer to the OTDA LDSS-5066 Cardholder Online EBT Account User Guide for instructions on 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. Please 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. Through the Customer Service line, clients can access an automated menu that allows them to hear their ten most recent transactions. Clients can also use the automated menu or 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.

The LDSS-5215 – “Request for Replacement of Stolen Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and/or Temporary Assistance (TA) Benefits” allows households to request replacement of stolen benefits.

For households in New York City, a local equivalent, HRA-210, “Request for Replacement of Stolen Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and/or Cash Assistance (CA) Benefits” 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/HR-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 and/or Cash Benefits

Clients can submit a claim for replacement SNAP and/or Cash benefits using any of the following methods:

Online/Mobile App

  • In NYC: Filing a claim online at 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 early 2024. Households can upload the LDSS 5215 via the NYDocSubmit app, if the household lives in a participating district.

By mail

  • In NYC: Clients can print a paper claim form from 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.

Tips for Helping Families with Replacement of Stolen SNAP Benefits

A common error made during the skimming claims submission process can result in rejected claims or incorrect replacement benefit amounts.

When clients use ConnectEBT to pull transaction dates, they must use the “Transaction” date, and NOT the “Settlement” date.

Many of the submitted claims include this mistake, causing rejection or approval of a very low benefit amount, because the skimmed benefits were not transacted on the dates listed on the claim form.

When obtaining transaction history online, OTDA and HRA recommend relying on ConnectEBT to obtain this information instead of third-party applications (i.e., Providers mobile application). When assisting clients with submitting their claims, please confirm that the correct date information is entered.

Things to Look for When Verifying Scam-Related Benefit Theft
When helping clients determine and verify stolen SNAP benefits using ConnectEBT, the following items are indicators of scam-related benefit theft. Understanding and looking for these indicators can help you identify theft:

  • Online balance inquiries made by households who typically do not conduct online balance inquiries;
  • Online balance inquiries that are not followed by an online purchase;
  • Atypically timed balance inquiries;
  • Large purchases by households who typically make smaller purchases;
  • Household attestation that they were not in the location of the theft at the time of the theft;
  • Several high-dollar transactions occurring in a short timeframe;
  • Atypical out-of-state transactions;
  • Small transactions of just a few dollars or less prior to the alleged theft (balance tests);
  • Transactions at retail locations that the household typically does not visit;
  • Large transactions that liquidate the entire account balance;
  • Transactions immediately following the availability of a benefit deposit; and
  • Atypically timed transactions (i.e., middle of the night).

A combination of one or more of these factors provides proof of the theft and will need to be documented on the applicant’s claim for replacement of stolen benefits.

SNAP offices will determine the validity of any claim by looking at all factors including:

  • Household attestation on the claim form,
  • Evidence presented by the household, and
  • Transaction data, and any other available evidence, such as knowledge of compromised EBT processors.

Frequency and Amount of Replacement Benefits

For SNAP, a household may receive up to two instances of replacement SNAP benefits in each Federal Fiscal Year (FFY), which runs October 1 – September 30.

For TA, households may receive up to two instances of replacement TA cash benefits in each FFY for the time period of January 1, 2022, through September 30, 2024. Beginning October 1, 2024, households will only be eligible to receive one replacement TA cash benefit in a single FFY.

Households are eligible to receive either the amount of SNAP or cash benefits that were stolen, or an amount equal to two (2) times the SNAP or cash benefits received in the most recent complete month of participation in SNAP/TA before benefits were stolen, whichever is less.

Protecting your SNAP and Cash Assistance Benefits – New Card Locking Features

USDA and OTDA encourages SNAP participants to safeguard their EBT cards and take the following actions to help prevent theft of SNAP benefits:

  • Keep the SNAP EBT PIN a secret. Do not share your PIN with anyone outside your household. Cover the keypad when you enter your PIN on a machine.
  • Lock your EBT card. Use the new lock/unlock card feature to help you secure your EBT card and protect your benefits from scam-related theft through the ConnectEBT mobile app. See below for a “how to”.
  • Check the SNAP EBT account regularly for authorized charges. Change the EBT PIN immediately to stop the thief from making any new purchases. By changing the PIN, anyone attempting to gain access to the EBT account via a duplicate card will be restricted.
  • Check card reading machines to make sure there’s nothing suspicious attached to the card swiper or keypad. The skimming device can be difficult to detect, but are often bigger than the original machine and may hide parts of the machine.
  • Report stolen/skimmed cards immediately:
    • Call the EBT Customer Service Helpline at 1-888-328-6399, or
    • Go to or the ConnectEBT mobile app.

When reporting an EBT card lost or stolen using the above methods, the client will also have the option to order a replacement card. The EBT Customer Service Helpline is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and assists Arabic, Chinese, English, Haitian-Creole, Italian, Korean, Russian, and Spanish speakers.

EBT Card Lock
You can lock your EBT card when it is not in use and then unlock the card to make a purchase. Locking your card is easy. Follow these four simple steps:

  1. Open or download the ConnectEBT app on your mobile device (available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store)
  2. Securely log into your account
  3. Tap the new “Lock/Unlock Card” icon on the home screen
  4. Select “Lock My Card Everywhere” and click “OK”.

Locking your EBT card will block all purchases, balance inquiries, and transactions. Whenever you go shopping, use the ConnectEBT app to unlock your card and lock it again after you check out. Even when your card is locked, you can still make changes to an existing PIN and any returns/credits from online shopping will be accepted.

Please note: the locking feature cannot prevent your card information from being skimmed when using your card in a compromised device, but by locking your card after your purchase you can keep any theft to a minimum.

For additional help, you can call the Connect EBT Helpline at 1-888-328-6399 to check the lock/unlock status of your card and to speak to a representative to have your card unlocked.


USDA SNAP Scam Alerts Webpage

OTDA policy memos

  • 23-ADM-07 Replacement Procedure for SNAP and-or TA Benefits Stolen via Skimming, Cloning, Phishing, or Other Fraudulent Methods
  • GIS 22 TA/DC095 and Attachment 1 Safeguard Your Card Poster
  • GIS24DC005 New Common Benefit Identification Card (CBIC) Card Lock Feature

OTDA forms:

OTDA EBT Scam Alert Webpage

HRA Benefit Replacement Page —includes outreach materials and other information in multiple languages.