hunter 051123SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Mattie Hunter advanced a bill through the Senate granting the Illinois Department of Human Services the authority to collect data on the frequency of stolen SNAP benefits within the state. This comes in response to widespread reports of identity fraud leaving Illinois residents without needed funds to purchase groceries and other necessities.

"The passage of this legislation marks a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to safeguard the integrity of SNAP benefits," said Hunter (D-Chicago). "Collecting essential data on SNAP benefit fraud enables us to implement targeted solutions and protect vulnerable families in our state."

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.

"By shedding light on the scope and frequency of SNAP benefit fraud, we can pave the way for stronger anti-fraud measures in Illinois," Hunter said. "Our aim is to ensure that every dollar allocated for SNAP assistance reaches those who genuinely need it, and this bill is a crucial tool in achieving that goal."

House Bill 2214 passed the Senate on Thursday.