NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 8th August 2023, 11:44 pm
Owning a store that accepts SNAP benefits from those in need of financial assistance keeping their families healthy is a major responsibility. The USDA is in charge of this program and the monitoring of it to ensure people are doing what needs doing and appropriately using their benefits, and they are tough on those who abuse the system. If you are a business owner who accepts SNAP benefits, using it correctly is the only way you get to keep your benefits. If you violate the terms or are found guilty of SNAP benefits trafficking or fraud, you lose your ability to accept this method of payment.
When this occurs, your business suffers. Millions of residents in the US utilize this program, which means you could lose a lot of your business if you are disqualified from the program. If the USDA’s investigative team has reason to believe you are involved in a snap scam, they will send you a snap charging letter. This letter outlines the evidence, what you’ve done wrong, and how the USDA plans to handle this situation.
You have so many days to file a response, and you must do so or risk the penalties. This could be a suspension of your snap eligibility or a total disqualification. If you are disqualified and decide you want to sell your business because it’s no longer profitable enough for you to continue running, you’ll find that there are some civil penalties that follow. If you are threatened with suspension, you do have an option to pay a fine rather than go through with the suspension.
What is a snap civil penalty?
snap civil money penalties are a big deal. You don’t have to face the suspension of your snap benefits, however. If you are sent a charging letter, you might find the USDA has provided you with the option to pay the civil money penalties or take the suspension if you are found guilty. The penalty is never the same as someone else’s penalty, but it’s not going to cost you more than $59,000. Even if you decide to sell the business because you are disqualified from the program for good, you might still find this fine is imposed upon you following the sale of your business.
To avoid a SNAP civil penalty, your store must meet several requirements. There are certain stipulations in place that help you stay safe in this situation by covering you and the rules, and they are as follows.
– Your store must have a written SNAP compliance policy whether it’s posted on a wall or in the employee handbook you provide to all new hires
– Your store must have the compliance policy in place prior to being charged with any SNAP penalties
– Your store must have a training program for all new hires that’s in writing and in effect at hire
– You nor the managers or the employees of your store may benefit from the use of any SNAP acceptance or violation
If your store is able to prove all of these are valid and in place, the suspension is not something you’re stuck with. You can choose to pay the snap civil money penalty and continue without interruption of your acceptance benefits.
Before you make any decision regarding snap civil money penalties, you must call an attorney who is experienced in the area of snap law. This is not something you want to try and handle on your own. The laws are strict and numerous, and that means it’s easy to violate them if you are not careful. You want an attorney to help you when you are sent a charging letter so you don’t further incriminate yourself or your business. You must be aware of what you should say, how you should respond, and what you should do to ensure your benefits are not revoked, suspended, or permanently disqualified.
An attorney is here to help you with this civil money penalty by negotiating the cost, discussing the options, and helping you prove there was no wrongdoing on your part. It’s not always easy to have charges of this nature dropped, but an attorney can increase your chances of seeing that happen.
Snap Civil Money Penalties Lawyers
The federal government has a vested interest in making sure the population of the United States is in good health. Everyone in the United States who meets certain determined guidelines can apply for a program designed to remedy potential hunger. Families and individuals may qualify for certain direct benefits. These benefits are known as The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This program was set up the government in order to help all Americans afford to eat a good diet. Roughly forty million Americans rely on this program to put food on their tables. The vast majority of those who get such benefits are families with children. Many others qualify because they are disabled in some way. The rules that govern this program are generally determined by the federal government. However, states are allowed to make adjustments in who may qualify for such help and under what circumstances. These laws also apply to retailers who accept such form of payment.
Violations of the Law
Rules that govern this program must be followed not only by recipient but also by all retailers. Retailers may get in many types of trouble if they fail to understand this process. The penalties for failure to adhere to these regulations can be quite varied. A retailer may be refused permission to accept any payments from people who are using it. This can be for a month or two. It may also mean they are forbidden from participation in the program for weeks or even a year. In the long term, if government officials find that the retailer has engaged in such violations many times, they may face being barred from accepting such payment forever. A retailer may also face the possibility that they might be sent to jail because they knowingly violated the law. These are not the only penalties that can be applied to retailers.
Those who are charged with this issue will get what is known as a SNAP Violation Letter. The letter, also called a Charging Letter, details exactly what the company is being accused of doing and why. This letter leaves the recipient with only ten days to respond to these allegations and refute them. Part of such allegations may include what is termed a SNAP Civil Money Penalty. All those who are getting such as letter should know exactly what this entails. Those who work with this organization may find this process confusing. This is where a consultation with a SNAP civil monetary penalties lawyer can be of use for anyone accused of this action. They can explain what this means to the retailer and why it is crucial to respond to this allegation as soon as possible.
Over time, the organization that has been accused of such a violation may face permanent suspension from participation. However, Congressional officials have determined this penalty may be too harsh. In that case, they provide retailers with a potential alternative. This is the Civil Money Penalty. Under this process, the retailer can choose to apply to pay a fine. While the fine can be a considerable sum, it has certain advantages. The participant who chooses this route gets to stay in the program. If a business is unable to accept snap, this can lead to clients heading off to other spaces. With over forty million people getting snap, that is a considerable number of people. The last thing the retailer wants is to tell others so many people they can’t shop there. Retailers may be eligible for this form of penalty provided they meet certain criteria.
The federal government does not let retailers participate in this program if they are convicted of selling any form of firearms with the funds they have received from the fraud. They are also unable to participate if they have been found guilty of trafficking such benefits. Everyone else needs to keep in mind certain requirements that will potentially allow them to avoid being refused participation in one of the most widely used form of grocery payments.
All four of these criteria need to be met:
In store programs that make it clear what must be done to adhere to the requirements of the program.
This program must have been in place in the store before any possible snap violations were discovered by those charges with investigating SNAP fraud.
All stores must also have a training program that teaches everyone involved how to work with snap recipients. Staffers need to be able to answer questions that might apply to them and to the people they serve while on duty there.
Any store owners or co-owners have not benefited from the SNAP fraud. They should also not have known about the fraud, approved it to any employees or encouraged it. The feds allow the owner a single violation of this policy. If there’s been more than one, the owner cannot apply for this fine or get access to the snap program.
This can be a difficult procedure to keep in mind as the letter only provides the owner with a scant ten days to indicate they have such policies in place. Working with a lawyer who knows such procedures can help clarify what this policy means for any given store owner. They can make sure that the accused is represented and their interests are fully protected as the policy unfolds.