AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced Wednesday it received federal approval to replace stolen Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for people who were victims of fraud.

According to an HHSC news release, Texas experienced increased reports of scams, including skimming and cloning. These are tactics that scammers use to obtain Lone Star Card numbers as well as Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) to gain access to the benefits.

“These benefit replacements will help those affected by fraud get their funds replaced so they have access to the food they need,” Wayne Salter, the HHS access and eligibility services deputy executive commissioner, said. “We’re doing all we can to help our customers detect and prevent fraud, and this is just another step in ensuring we’re helping those who have been scammed.”

HHSC received the federal approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to move forward with replacing stolen benefits, the release said.

Any SNAP recipients who were victims of fraud should request a new Lone Star Card and PIN and request replacement benefits, which must be done by visiting a local HHSC office to fill out Form H1854 — an unauthorized use of EBT benefits, the release said.

If individuals are unable to visit a local office due to factors such as age, disability, distance or inability to appoint an authorized representative, they can call their local HHSC office to have a form mailed to them, the release said.

If eligible for replacement benefits, the total replacement amount cannot exceed the amount of the stolen benefits or the amount equal to two months of the household’s SNAP benefits, whichever is less, according to HHSC. Most eligible SNAP households will receive replacement benefits issued to their new Lone Star Cards within 10 days of completing Form H1854, the release said.

SNAP recipients can request replacements of stolen benefits twice in each federal fiscal year (FFY). FFY 2023 is from Oct. 1, 2022-Sept. 30, 2023, and FFY 2024 is from Oct. 1, 2023-Sept. 30, 2024, HHSC said. Recipients who believe their SNAP benefits were stolen between Oct. 1, 2022, and May 30, 2023, have until Aug. 29, 2023, to request a benefit replacement. Beginning May 31, 2023, SNAP recipients must report stolen SNAP benefits within 30 days of suspected fraud to request a benefit replacement, the release said.

To learn more about requesting replacement benefits, go to the SNAP Fraud Benefit Replacement page.

If customers would like to learn more about how to prevent and detect fraud, they can visit the EBT fraud web page.