CHICAGO – State Rep. Sonya M. Harper, D-Chicago, is promoting a stepped-up response to the pervasive and growing issue of SNAP theft by passing a new law which will require the state agency in charge of the SNAP program to collect data on SNAP theft and to create reports to enable the General Assembly to better craft effective legislation around the problem.

“The theft of SNAP benefits is a serious problem that, cruelly, impacts some of our most vulnerable people and families,” Harper said. “When you need your benefits to afford adequate nutrition for yourself and your family, the loss of those benefits can be catastrophic. That’s why it’s critical that lawmakers have the best possible information about this problem, so we can act to put an end to it.”

Food stamps are typically issued to recipients using a debit-card system. Thieves have become adept at using devices called “skimmers” to steal recipients’ SNAP account information, either by hiding the skimmer into payment machines or by swiping it near a victim’s pocket or purse.

Harper’s House Bill 2214 requires the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to track and collect data on the theft of SNAP benefits, which are also known as “food stamps,” and, beginning in 2024, report its findings to the General Assembly every 3 months.

Harper’s original bill would have required IDHS to replace stolen SNAP funds, but this provision was removed by a Senate amendment.

The final bill was unanimously passed by both House and Senate and has been signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. It goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024.

“As I’ve said before, we’ll have to do more going forward in terms of making victims of SNAP theft whole again, but this legislation does represent a positive first step in solving this critical problem,” Harper said. “With better access to more comprehensive information about the problem, my colleagues and I can work to craft more effective legislation targeting SNAP theft and, hopefully, to bring this problem to an end.”

Rep. Sonya HarperRep. Sonya Harper

6th District

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Springfield Office:
274-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5971

District Office:
 2015 West 63rd Street
Chicago, IL  60636
(773) 925-6580