Getting a Permanent SNAP Disqualification Reversed
Among the biggest public programs in the United States is the SNAP program. Millions of families all across the country rely upon it to survive. The goal of the program is to provide low income families supplementary support so they can feed themselves and their children. It cannot be considered luxurious by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s definitely a practical solution for the families who use it. If people cannot access proper nutrition, their lives are negatively affected in a profound way. If the breadwinner in a household finds it impossible to meet all the family’s needs every month and too often has to compromise on the family food budget, the United States Department of Agriculture gives them a chance to apply for SNAP benefits to be used at their local grocery stores and supermarkets to get additional foodstuffs their family may desperately require.
USDA SNAP law is severe and unyielding. The individual tenets are way too numerous to lay out here, but they are certainly quite strict and if you ignore any of them as a business owner, you put your business at risk of heavy sanctions. Items that may and may not be sold to SNAP recipients, the amount families can get monthly, and what products they can and cannot buy using EBT cards is all controlled by the federal government . Their duty is to see to it that the owners of supermarkets and grocery stores have access to the wealth of information about the SNAP program’s do’s and don’ts, and they are mandated by law to strictly obey every item.
Selling SNAP benefits for cash is considered a crime, and people using benefits are not allowed to use them to purchase alcohol, among a number of other items. If a business is caught selling forbidden items, or swapping SNAP benefits for cash, the owner of the business can be slapped with a long list of fines, penalties, and even potentially the loss of their license to accept payments SNAP at their store.
So what if I lose the right to accept SNAP benefits at my store?
Perhaps the idea of losing your license to accept SNAP benefits as a payment method may initially come across as a minor setback, but for most, that loss is enough to close down a grocery business. When families are able to bring their EBT cards to shop in your store, your income rises. There are millions of adults and children who have difficulty affording the food they need every month and they have to have help from the government to put food on their tables. Users of EBT cards customarily give preferential treatment in their shopping to places that are able to accept their card.
The day your grocery store ceases to accept SNAP cards, you will miss out on all that business. It can certainly be a large proportion of your business, and your sales receipts will likely take a big hit as a result. Losing SNAP at your store is never a good thing for a to a grocer to go through, which is why it is paramount that you understand the why an attorney who specializes in this area of the law can be a great help to you if your business ever got permanently disqualified from the SNAP program.
Receiving a SNAP Charge Letter
In the event that the USDA suspects you or any of your staff of transacting any illegal activity involving EBT cards at your place of business, you will receive a letter from them. It could be something as miniscule as selling a customer one single beer that they pay for with their SNAP card. A thing like this may not even land on your radar when, for example, you have a new employee and they were the one on duty at the time or in moments when there were so many items on the checkout counter it just got by you unnoticed.
Mishaps are common, and nobody is perfect. Nevertheless, you and your business could suffer greatly from such mishaps, even those that were honest mistakes. In the event that you are deemed guilty of any illegal transactions involving your SNAP license, you’ll get a letter in the mail. There are times when, in this letter, you are provided a chance to pay a fine instead of having to forfeit your privilege of accepting SNAP benefits. The fine may be a large dollar amount, but it usually still weighs in lower than the potential losses you could face in the absence of your loyal SNAP customers.
If you are financially unable to pay the fine or you neglect to reply to the letter and it’s demand for a fine payment within their 10 (ten) day window, then your store will lose its ability to accept SNAP payments. In certain scenarios, suspension is temporary, but in others, the disqualification is permanent. How many occurrences have happened prior to this one and how serious the problem at hand is in comparison to the legislation makes a difference in the final determination.
Store owners do have a chance to reply to the USDA with regards to their claims if something went wrong at their store, but fascinatingly, the USDA oftentimes does not favor the grocery store in the disputes they field. They can depend far too much on the evidence against the store irrespective of how unclear or outdated it is. Sometimes they go so far as to ignore or misplace your letter. A multitude of issues can arise with your dispute, and a retailer could discover that their SNAP machine suddenly isn’t working one day in the midst of transacting business with their customers.
Disputing a Permanent Disqualification
Disputing a claim is far from simple , even in cases where the evidence against you is questionable. It’s tedious, the process is convoluted, and the numerous laws regarding SNAP benefits are a legal quagmire that can be nearly impossible for the average person to wrap their head around. The wise move is to hire a lawyer to handle it on your behalf. If your lawyer can say they have a lot of experience in SNAP matters, then they can be of much assistance in your dispute against a permanent disqualification. It most certainly is possible to have the permanency removed and your SNAP acceptance restored.
Even smarter is to bring an experienced attorney into play from the very beginning. The day you receive a SNAP charge letter in the mail, call a law firm to get a consultation. Lawyers come equipped with the most effective tools, the know-how, and the legal insight to serve you by ensuring that the documents you got are accurate, that your response to the USDA is executed correctly and completely, and that you never end up at a point where you get stuck with permanent disqualification. Even though you face the strong possibility of scoring a reversal with the right documentation to prove your case and all the correct paperwork, the weeks that go buy with your store being barred from accept payments from such a big segment of your regular customer base can be ruinous for a small grocery store.
No business owner who has SNAP acceptance can afford to have it taken away. For most, it is way too much a key component of their business success because it’s how a large percentage of their clients pay for goods. When a SNAP recipient suddenly realizes that they can’t use their card at your store anymore, they will be forced to find another store to go to. The sad thing is that although you wish they were so loyal, they are not going to check in with you every few days to see if the situation has changed and you are able to accept EBT cards again. Instead, they will get comfortable shopping at their new retailer and you getting back that business is nearly impossible even when your privilege does get restored.
The USDA comes down with a vengeance on proprietors whom they perceive to be misusing or misappropriating SNAP benefits in their stores. If you were to ignore a letter containing such an allegation or even attempting to handle it without the help of someone knowledgeable is a foolish choice. Call in an experienced lawyer who can help you turn the decision to permanently disqualify you from taking SNAP benefits in your store around in your favor. It can literally signify salvation for your store.