ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Wes Moore this week announced the expansion of Maryland’s plan to replace food and cash assistance funds stolen from Electronic Benefits Transfer cards. SB2/HB50, passed by the Maryland General Assembly and signed into law on Monday, allows EBT cardholders to reclaim benefits stolen as far back as January 1, 2021.
“By signing this legislation into law, we are taking deliberate action to help restore faith in some of our most-needed services and supports,” said Gov. Moore. “Maryland is again showing leadership in ensuring that some of our most vulnerable citizens will receive the help they need.”
Under the new law, Maryland will extend the reimbursement eligibility period by 21 months. The General Assembly approved $1.8 million in state general funds for the upcoming state fiscal year for reimbursing adults and families whose claims were previously denied and are now eligible. Approximately 1,095 additional households will become eligible to recover more than $826,000 in previously reported stolen cash and food assistance benefit payments.
Previously, the department could only reimburse EBT benefits stolen by fraud dating back to Oct. 1, 2022.
“It’s an egregious act to steal from someone who most needs help—we believe the way Maryland is responding will not just set the tone for this state, but for the country,” said Maryland Department of Human Services Secretary Rafael López. “Not only does this new state law expand stolen benefit reimbursement eligibility, it helps our department with the tools we need to strengthen EBT card security and decrease EBT fraud.”
Maryland is the first state in the nation to use federal funds to reimburse Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits stolen by EBT fraud. The Maryland Department of Human Services is also replacing stolen cash assistance benefits using state general funds. Electronic Benefits Transfer theft by “skimming” is a problem nationally. Since the department enacted its reimbursement process on March 18, it has approved more than 6,800 EBT card fraud claims and reimbursed $4.3 million in food and cash assistance benefits stolen from recipients.
Marylanders who already filed a claim for stolen benefits do not need to file again, even if their prior claim was denied. The Department of Human Services will review all claims that were submitted and denied for thefts occurring prior to Oct. 1, 2022. All eligible transactions will be paid on or after July 1. The department will make the replacement of benefits as simple as possible, even though a previous claim was denied.
Additional information regarding Maryland’s EBT Fraud Reimbursement Program is available online.