How long does food stamp investigation take? There’s no specific answer because it depends on the type of investigation and personnel involved. Some may take days, while some cases might take years for examination.
If you are concerned about food stamp investigations or want to be cautious before going for food stamps, this is the article to read. You’ll find every detail and will finally be able to answer how long doe food stamp investigations take.
What Is Food Stamp?
Food stamps or officially known as Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is for low-income Americans who face trouble providing food for themselves and family due to low wage or poverty. Snap supports you financially so you can meet the bare minimum grocery budget to buy healthy food.
The job market being tough as it is, many Americans can’t meet the financial requirement to provide food costs while maintaining other bills and rents. And the recent unfortunate events saw a spike in Americans who are suffering from food insecurity significantly.
SNAP provides food stamps to fight this food insecurity, considering a person’s assets, income, family members, responsibilities, and monthly costs.
Why Would Someone Face Food Stamp Investigation?
Suppose an American citizen who enjoys Food Stamp or SNAP provides fake documents, hides their proper income and assets, or uses their food stamp for ineligible purchase or selling.
In that case, they will commit Food Stamp fraud or Welfare fraud in general. If someone does that or is suspected of doing so, they may be called upon for a Food Stamp investigation.
The common frauds or reasons for why someone would be called upon on food stamp investigation are:
- False Information
- Selling Food Stamps
- Buying Ineligible Products using Food Stamps
- Selling Ineligible Products for Food Stamps
The most common reason behind a food stamp investigation is providing false information to the state.
This can happen in multiple ways. Hiding the value of your assets, showing less monthly income, providing fake medical conditions, giving false family members information, etc., are a violation of the law and will require the government to investigate this matter.
There are a few who sells their food stamps for money. Selling your food stamps to someone else is a criminal offense, and both the buyer and the seller will face investigation. Most of this type of offense occurs in buy-n-sell sites like eBay & craigslist.
Food stamps are given to you so that you and your family can have healthy food for yourself, but it doesn’t mean the state is providing you money to buy anything. You can buy healthy food using a food stamp—no alcohol, not food for your pet, and definitely nothing but food only.
But if you buy something irrelevant that isn’t regarded as a healthy food by SNAP, you’ll be facing a thorough investigation for your actions. In this case, both the buyer and the shop selling the product will be investigated and face a lawsuit if proven guilty.
How Long Does The Investigation Take?
The accurate duration of a food stamp investigation is unpredictable. It can take a day, week, months, or years, depending on the offense and what the state has to investigate.
For example, someone is buying alcohol or cigarettes using his or her food stamp. Now, someone tipped off the state about the said individual, and the government starts their investigation. But to prove the individual as a culprit, they need to catch the offender during the offense.
And this can take days or weeks. What if that person didn’t buy any alcohol or cigarettes for months? The investigators won’t have any solid proof that the person broke the law, nor can they prove that the store sold non-eligible products in exchange for food stamps. So, the investigation time is unpredictable.
On the other hand, the investigation process can be cut short if the perpetrator gets caught at the first sighting.
Therefore, it is safe to say that the investigation’s duration ultimately depends on how someone is breaking the SNAP laws. Thus, the answer wanders around in unpredictable grounds.
How to Avoid Food Stamp Investigations?
Total Gross Income
The answer is simple, don’t break the rules that SNAP provided regarding food stamps. But it would be best if you began with understanding what information you need to provide first.
When considering the total monthly income, some people make the mistake of disregarding income from other sources like charity funds, your partner’s income whether or not you’re married or separated, extra cash leftovers, etc.
You need to put every detail regarding your monthly income when filing for food stamps. As you need to update this on a three-month basis, make sure to put all the factors in before filling out the form.
A common issue regarding food stamp investigation is the income of partners.
It doesn’t matter if you are married to your partner or not; if you live in the same house together, then his or her monthly income should also be added. Otherwise, you’ll face investigation, and thorough research on this matter might take over a week or two.
You need to add every sort of expense that you and your family will make during the time of your food stamp contract. But don’t add any expense that you aren’t sure that you will face because that might lead to an investigation.
But as this is on unpredictable terms, the duration will be longer. You have to remember you’ll get food stamps only if you are below or equal to the poverty line.
Food stamps are, without any doubt, a first-line defense against food insecurity for the American people.
But misuse of this advantage will lead to an investigation, and until you are proven innocent, you won’t be able to enjoy any food stamp features. As the investigation time is undetermined, it is better to avoid any scenarios that will give rise to the question; how long does food stamp investigation take?