Some Marylanders who had their food and cash benefits stolen from their EBT cards by fraudsters using “skimming” devices are now able to reclaim even more of their stolen benefits.
The office of Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced Wednesday that the state is expanding efforts to replace funds stolen from EBT cards. The expansion allows EBT holders in Maryland to reclaim benefits stolen as far back as Jan. 1, 2021. The previous cut-off was Oct. 1, 2022.
The move comes thanks to new legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly in the recent session and which Moore signed into law Monday.
“By signing this legislation into law, we are taking deliberate action to help restore faith in some of our most-needed services and supports,” Moore said in a statement. “Maryland is again showing leadership in ensuring that some of our most vulnerable citizens will receive the help they need.”
The state projects nearly 2,000 households will become eligible to recover more than $826,000 in previously-reported stolen benefits.
Last month, Maryland officials said the state became the first in the nation to use federal funds to reimburse Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits stolen by suspected skimmers. The new legislation approved the use of $1.8 million in state general funds to reimburse EBT holders whose claims were previously denied because of the cut-off date.
Maryland first rolled out the reimbursement program last month and, since then, has approved more than 6,800 EBT fraud claims and reimbursed a total of $4.3 million in food and cash assistance.
Marylanders who already filed a claim for stolen benefits do not need to file a new claim, even if their prior one was denied. The governor’s office said the Department of Human Services would review all claims that were submitted and denied for thefts occurring prior to Oct. 1, 2022.
Marylanders whose benefits were stolen have to complete a reimbursement claim online no later than May 31. Thefts that have occurred after March 1 must be filed within 45 days of when the theft was discovered.
Benefits will only be replaced if they were stolen through electronic means. The Maryland Department of Human Services said it will not reimburse people who willingly gave their card number and PIN to someone else who then stole their benefits.
EBT theft by “skimming” is a national problem, officials say. It involves fraudsters installing devices in card readers to steal the numbers and PINs of EBT holders.
Maryland is looking at ways to combat fraud, including technology enhancements, such as having a card lock/unlock feature available via mobile app and fraud alerts.
Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.
© 2023 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.