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If you’re a retailer who accepts EBT at your grocery store, then you might have been the recipient of a a letter of warning from the USDA. This notice is probably a SNAP violation letter, which is claiming you have violated the SNAP program. The USDA will include proof to the SNAP violation notice, which will have records of transactions which occurred at your grocery store which the government claims is in violation of one or more categories of violations.
After you get a SNAP violation notice, you must contact our legal team. It’s critical you understand, you only have 10 days to respond. If you don’t respond, the government will terminate/suspend your stores privilege to take EBT.
About The Program
The SNAP program provides families with money each month. The SNAP program benefits are given via an EBT card. The benefits on the EBT card aren’t for general usage, and they can’t be used for fraudulent cash back transactions. The EBT cards took the place of food stamps in the 1990’s and are issued by each state individually where the consumer lives. The SNAP program is run on a nationwide level by the federal government.
The SNAP federal and it’s parameters are governed by the United States Code and the Code of Federal Regulations. The USDA FNS agency enforces the regulations and runs the program.
What does it mean to have a SNAP violation
Snap violations happen when a grocery store violates any of the following rules.
The retail store was involved intrafficking SNAP benefits. Examples of this is fraudulently accepting benefits, or stealing the benefits.
The grocery store accepted SNAP funds in exchange for nonfood items like alcohol, tobacco, or other goods.
The store submitted incorrect information on your grocery stores application to accept EBT benefits.
Your store took money for more EBT food stamps than sale of actual food at the same time.
The employees of the store accepted SNAP benefits from an unauthorized person who isn’t allowed to use the benefits.
How we can help defend you against a SNAP violation notice
Our law firm has immense experience handling SNAP violations letters. Our team of attorneys can handle your SNAP violation process in all 3 phases of a SNAP violation action.
Sending the violation letter is the first step taken by the USDA to remove your EBT license. This comes with, or without, prior warnings can come at any time. The charging letter will contain allegations, but most of them will lay out serious allegations, and have attached documents detailing the violations. You have only 10 days to respond. After you hire our law firm, our lawyers handle all of the communicationswith the USDA and for compiling all the necessary evidence, and drafting a response to the USDA.
After reviewing the store’s answer to the SNAP violation letter, the USDA may still believe that a violation has occurred. If that happens, the USDA will 100% issue a second letter that specifically states their legal verdict to suspend or disqualify the grocery store based on the accusations previously mentioned. You have 10 days to appeal this. If you don’t, then you’ll be unable to protest the USDA decision. After you hire our lawyers, our team the appeal to notify them appeal the decision. We’ll collect necessary evidence, and we will draft generate the necessary appeals briefs which contains all of the case law, evidence, etc. which is critical to fix the outcome.
In the event the USDA refuses to override the decision, in the Administrative Review, we will file a Judicial review at the local Federal Court. This process is like a normal case, where you’ll be able to do discovery, file motions, and have a trial. We can handle these cases in all 50 states.
As a grocery store retailer, there are many laws have to obey in order to accept EBT. In most normal situations, many retail store owners have no problems adhering to them. However, USDA’s SNAP program can be tricky. SNAP handles the Electronic Benefits Transfer Card, and has limitations. For example, SNAP recipients cant buy electronic goods. If, and when, you violate the laws, you’ll probably get a SNAP violation letter. Penalties of violating SNAP can result in fines, and penalties. If you conduct a serious SNAP violation, then you may end up with either a permanent or temporary disqualification. In many situations, store owners don’t know SNAP violations were even happening. Often, it’s dishonest employees who are misusing the SNAP program. It’s helpful to speak with a SNAP violation lawyer to ensure sure you don’t have your benefits revoked.
When a charge letter is delivered to your retail store, you have only ten days to respond to the claims by the USDA. Failure to respond to the allegations will permanently crush your store. If you don’t respond the USDA will make a verdict even if you choose not to respond to the allegations. Without legal experience, you cannot defend your store. Hiring a SNAP violation lawyer gives you the ability to fight for your rights. Our SNAP appeals lawyers can discredit the findings of the USDA and fight any decision. The financial penalties imposed can expensive – to the tune of ten’s of thousands of dollars. The USDA purposefully chooses to impose huge fines to curb violations. The USDA will typically look to see if you have a compliance policy in place. The policy has to be in writing at the store and in effect when the allegations were filed.
The grocery store also has to be able to prove the compliance policy was in place before the charge, and wasn’t drafted after the violation was made. The USDA will also look in order to check if the retail store owners benefited in any way from the fraud, or if the business owners were aware of the fraud. If the management was involved it can lead to disqualification.
We highly recommend any store owner that receives a allegation letter consult with a SNAP violation attorney. Choosing not to respond in negative consequences. The USDA is required by Congress to issue a disqualification for a period of up to 5 years. This can result in huge losses which are hard to recover from.
An awesome firm that truly cares about you. I thought I could handle the USDA on my own, but failed. Todd intervened and helped fix my mistakes.- Denton, CLIENT Denton