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If you accept EBT at your grocery store, then you might have received a notice from the USDA. This notice is probably a SNAP violation notice, which is claiming you are in violation of the SNAP program. The USDA will attach a number of pages to the SNAP violation letter, which will have transactions that occurred at your retail store which the USDA is saying is in violation of one or more groups of violations.
The first thing after you get a SNAP violation notice, you must contact our law firm. It’s critical you understand, you only have 10 days to respond. If you choose to ignore, the USDA will terminate/suspend your grocery store’s ability to take EBT.
About The SNAP Program
The SNAP program helps families with a certain amount of money each month. These benefits are distributed to consumers via an EBT card. The funds on the EBT card cannot be used for general usage, and they cannot be used for fraudulent cash back services. The EBT cards took the place of food stamps in the 1990’s and the card is issued in the state where the consumer lives. The program is run on a nationwide level by the federal government.
This federal and the benefits that come with it 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 occur when a grocery store violates any of the following rules.
The grocery store was involved inthe trafficking of SNAP benefits. This can mean fraudulently accepting benefits, or theft of the benefits.
Your retail store took SNAP benefits in exchange for nonfood items like alcohol, tobacco, or other goods.
The store submitted incorrect info on your retail stores application to accept EBT benefits.
Your store took money for more EBT food stamps than food sales over the same period.
The employees of the store accepted SNAP benefits from an unauthorized person who isn’t allowed to use the benefits.
Defending against a SNAP Violation Letter
Spodek Law Group has experience handling SNAP violation letters. Our law firm can handle your SNAP Violation appeal in all 3 phases of a SNAP Violation action.
Sending the violation letter is the first step taken by the USDA to remove your right to take EBT benefits. This letter may come with no warning and can happen at any time. The charging letter has a variety of allegations, but most letters will outline serious allegations, with an attachment of details. You have only 10 days to respond. Once you hire our law firm, we take into their hands all of the communicationswith the USDA and for compiling all the necessary evidence, and drafting a response to the USDA.
Once the USDA reviews your answer to the violation letter, the USDA might still believe that a violation has occurred. If that happens, they’ll will definitely send a second letter that outlines 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. Once you hire our firm, we’ll file the legal papers and notify the USDA appeal the decision. We’ll gather necessary evidence, and we will draft draft an appellate brief containing all of the legal laws, evidence, etc. which is critical to change the outcome of the violations.
If the USDA refuses to override the decision, in the Administrative Review, our lawyers will file a Judicial review at the local Federal District Court. The Judicial Appeal is like a normal case, where you’ll have to do standard processes like discovery, file motions, and have a trial. Our lawyers can handle these cases in all 50 states.
As a food store retailer, there are many laws you have to adhere to for EBT. In most normal situations, many retail store owners have no issues adhering to them. However, the SNAP program can be tricky. SNAP handles the Electronic Benefits Transfer Card, and has limitations. For example, people getting SNAP benefits cant purchase electronic goods. As a retailer, if you violate the laws, you’ll probably get a SNAP violation letter. Snap violation penalties can include fines and penalties. If you conduct a serious violation, then you might end up with a temporary or permanent disqualification. In most cases, store owners didn’t know SNAP violations are even occurring. Often, unethical employees 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 SNAP violation letter is sent to your store, you only have ten days to respond to the claims by the USDA. Failure to respond to the violations will permanently crush your store. In addition, the USDA will make a verdict even though you don’t respond to the allegations. In the absence of a SNAP violation attorney, you won’t be able to retain EBT benefits. Retaining a SNAP violation lawyer gives you a fighting change. Our SNAP appeals lawyers will discredit the decision of the USDA and appeal any decision. The financial penalties imposed can expensive – to the tune of ten’s of thousands of dollars. The USDA purposefully does large fines to curb violations. The USDA will typically look to see if you have a compliance policy in place. It has to be in writing at the store and in effect when the allegations were filed.
The retailer must be able to prove the above mentioned policy was in place before the charge, and wasn’t drafted after the violation was made. The USDA typically also looks to check if the owners benefited from the violations, or if the business owners were aware of the fraud. Any involvement of the management can lead to disqualification.
We highly recommend any store owner that receives a allegation letter consult with a SNAP violation attorney. Failure can result 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