New Bill Aims to Protect SNAP Program with Chips

( – A new bill from Sens. John Fetterman (D-PA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Ron Wyden (R-OR) would upgrade SNAP food stamp cards with new digital microchips which will prevent significant amounts of fraud and theft of the federally backed benefits.

The Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has been a frequent target for scammers and thieves. The criminals use skimmers, or hacked/altered devices to steal the pertinent information from legitimate users. They then steal the value off the accounts, leaving it drained when users attempt to purchase food.

The bill would work to prevent that by updating the technology so that skimmers don’t work anymore. Sen. Wyden put out a statement that suggested there was no reason that this simple technology be kept from securing SNAP benefits when every major credit and banking institution that issues cards uses it.

Thousands of people every year are impacted by the scams, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) which administers the SNAP program.

Currently no state has microchip technology in their SNAP program cards, but California has plans to do so within the next few years. The problem is especially egregious because it steals funds from taxpayers as well as those who need help to afford food.

The bill would mandate updated security features for all SNAP cards in the U.S. within two years and mandate the destruction of old cards within four.

A nearly identical bill is being advanced in the House by Reps. Mike Lawler (R-NY) and Andy Kim (D-NJ).

Cassidy said that the program was meant to help those who needed help affording food, not enriching criminal enterprises. The security update would provide for families in need while preventing theft of the funds.

Some states have reported losses over a million dollars due to the theft. Nationwide, that suggests several million in benefits are stolen every year.

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