19 Jul 17

SNAP Civil Money Penalty

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Last Updated on: 23rd August 2023, 02:08 am

People facing hardship and extreme difficulty should not have to starve to death. This fundamental belief is at the heart of the SNAP program. It is a federal assistance program that helps people who are out of work or on very wages buy food.

The vast majority of individuals receiving food stamps are down on their luck. They have lost their job through no fault of their own or suffered a series of catastrophic setbacks in their life. snap is a measure designed to help such persons as they get on their feet. As a government program, it is subject to the strictest regulation. Any intentional or unintentional violation of these rules can result in the severest of penalties.

Committing food stamp fraud can be tempting for those in need and those trying to help them. It is important to note that the laws governing the snap program apply not only to the recipients of food stamps but also to the retail outlets from which they purchase their groceries.

Food stamp trafficking is one of the many ways recipients commit food stamp fraud. This involves exchanging food stamps for hard cash or some other valuable item. Most people on benefits struggle to make ends meet. They may have a part-time job to prove they are trying to find work, which is a requirement of snap. Part-time work is often more precarious and unreliable than full-time work.

Many snap beneficiaries cannot get enough hours, even if they have more than one job, to pay rent and utilities and buy food. In this situation, it can be tempting to try and convert food stamps into hard cash or to exchange them for some item of value that they can then sell for hard cash. The people in this situation may reason that it is all going toward keeping them and their family alive and off the street so there can be no harm in it. The fact is it is against the law. If they are caught exchanging food stamps for hard cash, they will be prosecuted. The individual or vendor involved in helping them carry out this exchange is also subject to prosecution.

Another common form of snap fraud involves buying items from a store that are not on an approved list. This form of fraud occurs most often in small neighborhood stores. Food stamp recipients get to know the personnel who work behind the cash register. Some of these employees may even be friends and neighbors of the food stamp recipient. Beer, cigarettes, and other such non-approved items can be easily wrung up manually as something else by store personnel. Stores that are caught selling non-approved items to food stamp recipients are subject to civil money penalties.

Civil money penalties ( allow you, as a store owner, to continue your membership in the snap program. The government realizes the burden that suspension from snap can put on small retail outlets. If you are the owner and operator of such a store, your business should not be made to suffer because of the dishonesty or incompetence of your employees.

If you have received a charging letter, which is a letter stating the offense, you will have to pay no more than fifty nine thousand dollars in penalties. You will also be required to institute a thorough employee training program that gives specific instruction in snap guidelines.

However, your first response to receiving such a letter should be to contact a lawyer. You should work only with those lawyer specialized in working such cases. snap law is very detailed and the inner workings of the program require lawyers with a great deal of knowledge about them.

As a small business owner, you don’t want to overburden yourself in litigation with the federal government. Nor do you want to risk suspension from the snap program. On the other hand, you don’t want to pay out thousands of dollars if you don’t have to. If you receive a charging letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the snap program, it may feel as though you’ve done something wrong and must simply resign yourself to all that they’re accusing you of. That is the wrong way of thinking.

The government must be made to prove its case against you. Contacting a snap lawyer will allow you to establish whether you have actually done anything wrong. Such lawyers are trained to investigate, to gather and analyze evidence, and to put forth sound argument in your defense. Hearsay and rumors, for example, do not prove anything against you. The government must have specific proof that you are in violation of snap laws.

Even if it is found that someone in your store allowed the purchase of a non-approved item or was involved in benefits fraud in some other way, you want to get a judgment that is least burdensome on your business. A SNAP lawyer can help you negotiate a settlement with the federal government.

Your company need not pay exorbitant amounts of money because of the indiscretion of one of its employees. A snap lawyer can help prove that you did everything in your power to follow SNAP law, and to ensure your employees were well aware of its stipulations. It is unreasonable for anyone to believe that you can watch over every employee constantly. There will always be people who break the rules. It doesn’t make the entire organization liable.

If the government has conclusive proof that your store was involved in violating snap law, hiring a snap lawyer can help you keep the amount of the civil money penalty to a minimum. If the government has no proof or very little evidence that anyone in your store did anything wrong, a snap lawyer can help you beat back the charges. In any case, your first action once you have received a charging letter should be to bring in an attorney who specializes in handling this kind of case. It is your best hope for a fair and just outcome.

Civil Money Penalties for SNAP Charges: Protecting Your Business and License

In today’s society, the cost of living is exorbitant, and many families struggle to make ends meet. Despite having full-time jobs or receiving disability benefits, it is all too common for families in lower socioeconomic strata to run out of money to care for their children and put food on the table. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a government benefit program that helps alleviate the pressure of an inadequate food budget by providing much-needed supplemental nutrition to children and families across the United States. However, some grocers who accept Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards and benefit recipients misrepresent themselves on their applications to receive more money from the government.

Understanding SNAP Civil Money Penalties

If you are a grocery store owner serving SNAP customers and receive a SNAP Civil Money Penalty letter, take this very seriously. The letter details alleged violations related penalties charged against your business for performing illegal transactions with EBT payments. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sends this letter when they believe that your business has been profiting financially or benefiting in any other fashion from improper use of EBT cards used by customers at your place of business.

Responding to the Civil Money Penalty

When you receive a Civil Money Penalty letter, you have two options:

  1. Respond within ten days inside window given by paying cash fine.
  2. Disregard or respond late leading disqualification from accepting SNAP benefits.

You must respond within ten days; there are no extensions offered by USDA protocol without exception.

The Advantage of Paying a Civil Money Penalty

Some proprietors question paying financial penalty instead taking suspension but losing license even temporarily can be far more expensive than civil money penalty costs most grocery stores face annually through millions in purchases made via EBT cards using SNAP benefits as payment method. If you suddenly lose the ability to accept EBT cards from your customers, you will lose them. Millions of families are incapable of paying for their monthly groceries out of their working income, and not being able to take their EBT cards means losing frequent custom.

How an Attorney Can Help

SNAP civil money penalties can be complicated for individuals to understand. An experienced SNAP attorney can assist in sorting through documentation, filling out penalty application, comprehending notice issued by USDA. The attorney can also help answer questions such as whether SNAP compliance policies have been implemented at store or staff members undergo training about SNAP benefits and demonstrate with documentation that your SNAP compliance policy was in effect before it was violated. Additionally, an attorney can help determine if proprietors or workers profited personally from abuse of SNAP benefits.

An expert program attorney may get penalty amount reduced helping retain license to accept SNAP benefits giving ability continue operating business making money even short term suspension could cost thousands dollars effects reaching much further if all customers decide shop elsewhere once they learn no longer accepting EBT payments.

Why You Need an Experienced Attorney from Spodek Law Group

At Spodek Law Group we understand a Civil Money Penalty letter is overwhelming stressful experience any business owner faces. Our experienced attorneys have deep understanding law guiding legal process responding letter protecting businesses retaining licenses accepting SNAP benefits nationwide track record success handling legal situations faced by clients using compelling language showing gravity situation professional approach ensuring taken seriously by USDA.

Contact Us Today

If received a Civil Money Penalty letter don’t wait another day getting legal help needed contact Spodek Law Group today schedule consultation one our experienced attorneys who work tirelessly protect businesses retain licenses accepting SNAP benefits during challenging times.


Here is a table outlining potential consequences when ignoring a Civil Money Penalty letter:

Consequence Description
Lose SNAP license Your store will no longer be able to accept EBT payments for SNAP benefits.
Financial penalty You will be required to pay a cash fine.
Suspension of SNAP privileges Your store will be suspended from accepting SNAP benefits for a period of time.
Customers who rely on SNAP benefits may choose to shop elsewhere.


In conclusion, if you are facing a Civil Money Penalty letter related to your business’s acceptance of EBT payments, it is critical that you take action immediately. At Spodek Law Group, our experienced attorneys have the knowledge and expertise necessary to guide you through this challenging situation. We understand how important it is for businesses like yours to retain their licenses and continue serving customers in need. Contact us today for a consultation and learn more about how we can help protect your business.


USDA Food and Nutrition Service. (2022, January 10). Civil Money Penalty. Retrieved from

USDA Food and Nutrition Service. (2022, February 15). Program Data. Retrieved from