Bipartisan Members of Congress Introduce Enhanced Cybersecurity for SNAP Act to Safe Meals Advantages In opposition to Hackers and Thieves

Troutman Pepper Forms Incidents and Investigations Team


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., with Sens. John Fetterman, D-Penn., and Invoice Cassidy, R-La., in the present day launched the Enhanced Cybersecurity for SNAP Act to improve the safety of digital profit playing cards and shield households in want from thieves which have stolen hundreds of thousands price of important meals advantages. 

Reps. Andy Kim, D-N.J., and Mike Lawler, R-N.Y.,  are main the invoice within the Home of Representatives.

Thus far, tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in Supplemental Diet Help Program (SNAP) advantages have been stolen by criminals exploiting lax safety of SNAP digital profit playing cards. Congress has spent years urgent the U.S. Division of Agriculture to require states to concern playing cards with safe chips reasonably than magnetic strips that may be simply cloned by criminals. Regardless of these requests, USDA has did not replace safety rules for profit playing cards. 

“There’s no excuse for this two-tier system, the place households in want are caught with outdated, simply hackable know-how whereas people with credit score and ATM playing cards are higher protected. Inaction will not be adequate for households, not when it may be the distinction between a household in want having meals for dinner or going hungry,” Wyden mentioned. 

“SNAP is a important lifeline for almost 2 million Pennsylvanians — we should do all the pieces we will to guard it. It’s despicable that thieves are concentrating on weak hungry households with cyber-crime scams. We will not let households go hungry due to unhealthy religion actors,” Senator Fetterman mentioned. “As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Diet, I’m dedicated to doing all the pieces in my energy to guard and develop SNAP advantages and ensure American households get fed it doesn’t matter what. Along with this invoice, I’ve additionally launched the Equity for Victims of SNAP Skimming Act to present state SNAP companies extra authority to reimburse SNAP recipients of advantages stolen by skimming. I’m proud to work throughout the aisle on this bipartisan, bicameral invoice to modernize SNAP and cease criminals from stealing important meals help from working households.”

“SNAP is meant to assist the one who is meals insecure,” mentioned Dr. Cassidy. “It isn’t supposed to assist crooks who steal these advantages. This fights the crooks whereas preserving the advantages for these most in want.” 

“Lots of of 1000’s of individuals throughout New Jersey alone use SNAP to assist themselves and their households. With outdated card know-how, we’re leaving their advantages weak to cybersecurity theft and leaving households at-risk of being unable to place meals on the desk day-after-day,” mentioned Congressman Kim. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan laws to make common sense upgrades to EBT playing cards that can shield Individuals’ SNAP advantages from on a regular basis threats.”

“We should guarantee households who depend on SNAP get the assist they want – and which means we should guarantee there are enough safeguards in place to guard these advantages from cybersecurity threats,” mentioned Congressman Lawler. “To that finish, I’m proud to affix my colleague Rep. Kim together with Senators Wyden, Fetterman and Cassidy in introducing the bipartisan, bicameral Enhanced Cybersecurity for SNAP Act. This laws will go a protracted method to making certain that those that want this help are those receiving it, not the fraudsters who prey on our most weak.”

The Enhanced Cybersecurity for SNAP Act addresses fraud by directing USDA to replace its cybersecurity rules to make sure SNAP advantages can’t be simply stolen by criminals. Particularly, this invoice would require: 

USDA to concern up to date rules requiring SNAP playing cards to function anti-fraud know-how able to resisting cloning. These rules, which additionally cowl cell funds (resembling tap-to-pay with a smartphone), can be up to date each 5 years and should hold tempo with personal sector and federal company cost safety safeguards. 

With USDA funding, states will start issuing chip-enabled SNAP playing cards inside two years of the adoption of the brand new rules. Inside 4 years, states will now not be capable to concern new SNAP playing cards containing a magnetic stripe. Inside 5 years, states should reissue all present SNAP playing cards containing a magnetic stripe as chip-only playing cards.

USDA to function a grant program offering funds for upgraded chip-capable cost machines to small grocery shops in meals deserts, farmers markets, and farm-to-consumer packages.

States to offer households with no-fee replacements of SNAP playing cards in three days or much less, if their card is stolen, cloned by fraudsters, or malfunctioning.

States to supply a number of accessible, dependable, and mobile-friendly consumer interfaces, resembling a smartphone app or on-line net portal, for households to handle their EBT account.

The invoice is endorsed by the Oregon Meals Financial institution, Massachusetts Legislation Reform Institute (MLRI), Propel, Safe Tech Alliance (STA), Meals Analysis & Motion Middle (FRAC), Starvation Free America, Greater Studying Advocates, Code for America, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Starvation, Bread for the World, American Coronary heart Affiliation, , Feeding Texas, Starvation Free New Jersey, Meals Financial institution of South Jersey and Starvation Options NY.

Meals Analysis & Motion Middle: “The Enhanced Cybersecurity for SNAP Act is a vital subsequent 

step in defending SNAP shoppers in opposition to losses from unauthorized digital transactions,” mentioned Luis Guardia, president of the Meals Analysis & Motion Middle (FRAC). “SNAP is our nation’s first line of protection in opposition to starvation, however its impression has been undermined by ongoing instances of skimming theft, leaving people and households unable to buy sufficient meals for the dinner desk. With chip-enabled profit playing cards, SNAP households will be capable to make safe transactions with out worry of shedding their advantages.”

Massachusetts Legislation Reform Institute: “The Massachusetts Legislation Reform Institute has labored with lots of of households whose SNAP advantages have been stolen. It’s unconscionable that low-income households going through meals insecurity are left extra weak to theft than all different shoppers. SNAP households deserve equitable safety within the checkout line from skimming – we urge lawmakers to handle this main hole in federal regulation.” 

Nan Swift, Governance Program Fellow, R Avenue Institute: “R Avenue Institute is happy to assist the bipartisan “Enhanced Cybersecurity for SNAP Act of 2024.” This laws would offer long-overdue fraud protections and monetary administration instruments for beneficiaries of the Supplemental Diet Help program (SNAP). 

Not like different debit playing cards related to federal packages, together with Social Safety, Veterans, and even the Financial Influence Card Individuals acquired throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SNAP customers’ digital advantages switch (EBT) playing cards wouldn’t have fashionable chip know-how to stop skimming and different types of passive fraud that may deprive households of important funds. In response to the newest information from the U.S. Division of Agriculture, changing these funds can value hundreds of thousands of {dollars}, along with growing dietary uncertainty within the lives of weak people. 

The fault for this oversight, and the duty for resolving and enhancing EBT fraud prevention know-how lies with Congress. The “Enhanced Cybersecurity Cybersecurity for SNAP Act” is a fundamental good governance measure that ought to be enacted shortly to stop fraud and shield restricted sources.”

Read the full bill text here.

A one-page summary is available here.

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