Reversal of a Permanent Disqualification
FOR MORE THAN TWO DECADES, a small grocer in Lexington, Kentucky participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as a retailer. The store had never had a SNAP disqualification letter before, or so much as a SNAP violation warning letter. When the small grocer began participating, the program was based around physical food stamps exchanged for eligible food items, like fruits & vegetables. But over time both the program and the grocer shifted to accepting payments with an EBT machine. As the years passed, the grocer became a neighborhood staple. In order to grow further he offered even more foods that were SNAP eligible. In response, the local residents turned into regular customers of the store. The small grocer's business flourished.
Three and a half years earlier... an on-site investigation of the retailer's store was conducted by the USDA's Office of Inspector General. This agency is responsible for law enforcement and regulatory enforcement. They seek out stores involved in intentional program violations on behalf of the Federal Government. They conduct undercover investigations, posing as SNAP household members looking to commit program violations. These investigations are conducted over a period of time, using multiple benefit cards to thoroughly test the retailer's compliance.
However, the purpose of these investigations is to find criminal behavior. They're not intended to deal with the retailer's compliance with SNAP regulations. Because of this, the investigators do not document their cases as well as they should, and the delay between the allegations and the charging letter is considerable. The delay is burdensome to the retailers. If allegations occur too far in the past, the retailer has no records of the transactions that are in question.
So, our store owner had operated his business for a number of years, having no idea that the USDA ever felt there was something wrong.
What To Do With A Permanent SNAP Disqualification
The most important thing for a retailer who has lost their EBT license to do is to consult with a knowledgeable SNAP disqualification attorney. Good legal advice is important, which is why we offer store owners a free consultation. There are a number of different types of disqualifications and SNAP charge letters, and each has a different strategy and process for representation. As soon as you receive your letter, reach out to us to schedule a free SNAP disqualification letter consultation with our EBT attorneys. There is a ten (10) day limit to respond to a disqualification, and every minute counts to help your case.