Lakewood law firm sues USDA, wants all families with stolen snap benefits refunded

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 9:47 PM EDT
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LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WOIO) - We’ve been reporting on the rising number of stolen snap benefits in Northeast Ohio.

A new law allows some of these families to get reimbursed, but only those targeted since October of last year.

Now a local law firm says that’s not enough.

“They use the cards that are issued to them, they’re doing everything they’re supposed to do, and they go to the store and the money just isn’t there,” said Jeff Crossman, attorney at the Dann Law Firm.

It’s a story we’re hearing about more and more often. Families on food assistance are shocked to find out their snap benefits are gone.

What’s even worse, there’s no way for these families to get that money back until at the earliest, the end of July.

That’s when the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Service’s new plan to reimburse people kicks into action.

But it’s only for those stolen from between October 2022 to September 30th of 2024, when the policy expires.

The Dann Law Firm now says that needs to change.

“We brought a class action lawsuit against the USDA for failing to reimburse people, through no fault of their own, who have had their benefits stolen,” said Crossman.

Crossman of the Dann Law Firm wants all people who’ve been stolen from to be refunded, not just those that fit the ODJFS’s time window.

The lawsuit also calls for the government to rethink how it runs the snap benefit program and step up its technology to protect its participants.

“They’re using the old debit cards that don’t have the chips in them,” said Crossman. “And the chips are important. They’re security devices and it’s much harder to steal funds off a debit card with a chip than the old style cards.”

In the mean time, Crossman recommends those on food assistance, targeted by thieves before October, contact Dann Law.

You may be entitled to join this lawsuit.

We reached out to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services about the lawsuit, but they declined to comment.