As a retailer you need to have applied for SNAP or EBT to accommodate citizens who receive SNAP benefits. Once your application has been approved and you are in business it is of utmost importance to comply with all the rules and regulations that apply in this case.
What is SNAP Civil Money Penalty
USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) is authorized by the Congress to charge monetary fines to businesses through Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) that do not comply with the snap program so as not to be suspended or disqualified from it. This penalty may be imposed on both the retailers as well as on the individuals who have violated snap regulations in an effort to profit.
With the intention to minimize the impact on a business USDA charges money penalties instead. The penalty may not exceed a certain amount as set by the FNS and is calculated according to the regulations and your EBT store’s transaction data. The maximum amount for each case is adjusted having taken into account the inflation rate at the time , based on the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act.
Once you receive a “CMP Letter” it is important that you open it and read it immediately and carefully. The amount of the CMP is calculated by the USDA from the data it maintains and is stated in the letter. You are then expected to apply for the issuance of a CMP within ten days after receiving the letter. Keep in mind that no extension is given to prepare and forward your respond. The letter may not be clear enough as for details of the alleged violation under which the penalty is assessed. So you must consult you snap attorney, and seek legal advice before proceeding any further. This has to be completed within the ten days given.
It is important as a retailer to understand what violations may occur so as to be extremely careful and avoid any unforeseen or false allegations which will cost you money and time.
snap benefit program is designed to assist the low-income citizens to afford nutritious food for their household also known as “food stamps”. However, instead of exchanging stamps for food at grocery stores, eligible users of snap are provided with EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) card. This can be used at any retail store that is registered with snap. Therefore it is easier to follow transactions and prevent violations.
Some of the violations that may take place the following include:
The amount set for CMP is subject to defiance but you need to provide solid evidence: an effective training program, effective compliance policy and evidence that the employees had been trained prior to the alleged violation and that the retailer was unaware and did not encourage such violations. This is the reason why all requirements as stated above must be in writing and signed at all times as the failure to do so or overlook any regulation can be detrimental for the business and all involved. In some cases the owner or anyone involved may be listed on the General Services Administration’s Excluded Persons List (EPLS). In such a case they may be permanently excluded from doing any form of business with the federal government. Therefore it is important for retailers to be alert at all times and observant regarding the FNS’s regulations and have at all times evidence to prove that their employees were trained accordingly,
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