The Consequences Of SNAP Permanent Disqualification
As a store manager or owner, you deal with many customers each day who use EBT benefits. But as you know, there are many rules and regulations that accompany SNAP, making it imperative you and your employees know exactly what to do when customers use EBT. Unfortunately, if mistakes are made along the way or you perhaps have a dishonest employee who decides to bend the rules a bit, your business could be facing significant penalties from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one of which is permanent disqualification from SNAP. If you have been informed by a Charges Letter that permanent disqualification is a distinct possibility, take the matter seriously and discuss your situation with a SNAP permanent disqualification attorney.
If the USDA decides to impose the permanent disqualification penalty against your business, it will have long-lasting consequences for many more years than you ever imagined. To begin with, a permanent DQ means your store will never again be allowed to accept EBT benefits from customers, which will greatly reduce the amount of money your store earns. In addition, you as the store’s owner or manager will never again be allowed to hold any position of authority in a store that accepts EBT, meaning your career as a store manager or business owner is over. Finally, should you decide to close or sell your business, the USDA will impose a Transfer Civil Money Penalty on you, meaning you will be required to pay thousands of dollars in fines upon the selling or closing of your store, even if you take one of these steps decades later.
Do All Businesses Get a Permanent Disqualification?
Fortunately, not all businesses that are targeted by the USDA receive the permanent disqualification penalty. However, it is used quite often, and in many cases is used unnecessarily. Due to pressures from Congress in recent years concerning welfare fraud in the nation, the USDA has cracked down hard on those businesses it believes are involved in SNAP trafficking, which is the exchanging of cash, weapons, or drugs for EBT benefits. Thus, if you know the USDA is considering the permanent disqualification penalty for your business, you may have as few as 10 days to file an appeal. To get started immediately rectifying this situation, consult with and hire an experienced SNAP permanent disqualification attorney as quickly as possible.
How Does the USDA Prove Trafficking Occurred?
When the USDA brings trafficking allegations against your store or business, it will claim to have overwhelming evidence it can use against you to prove its case. For example, the agency may claim it has examined a large number of transactions at your store, and thus has determined strange patterns that indicate trafficking is taking place. In other situations, the USDA will claim it has conducted an undercover investigation of your store, and has evidence you or other employees did in fact exchange cash or other items for EBT benefits. Though the government will make it sound as if the case against you is open and shut, it is anything but that. By quickly hiring a knowledgeable SNAP permanent disqualification attorney to handle your case, they can examine the evidence and point out holes in the government’s case. Despite these being very complex cases, they are quite winnable in court, which is why you should always have an attorney on your side who has achieved excellent results with similar clients.
Impacting Your Personal Life
Should you be permanently disqualified from SNAP, it will have a big impact on your personal life. To begin with, it will limit the types of businesses to which you can look to for employment, since the USDA will make it impossible for you to get hired by any company that has any dealings with the federal government. Also, if you are needing to secure loans to purchase a home, cars, or other items, your personal credit rating will be damaged so much that your loan requests will probably be denied. Finally, since the USDA sets out to make examples of those who commit SNAP trafficking, your personal reputation will also be damaged, creating additional hardship for you and your family.
Know the Rules
If you want to avoid the threat of a permanent disqualification from the USDA, the best thing to do is know the rules pertaining to EBT and SNAP. Time after time, trafficking allegations are made against a business simply because an owner, manager, or other employees made honest mistakes over and over again with customers. However, even if this is the case in your situation, the USDA will not simply listen to you, negotiate a deal, and then close the book on your case. Instead, the agency will show little if any flexibility or understanding for your situation, and will instead pursue prosecution in a very aggressive fashion. Since fighting the charges against you gives you the best hope of emerging from your circumstances a winner, you need to rely on the knowledge and experience of a SNAP permanent disqualification attorney who has fought the federal government on these matters for years.
Difficult but Not Impossible
Finally, remember that avoiding a permanent disqualification penalty from the USDA is difficult, but not impossible. As you know, being threatened by any arm of the federal government is intimidating and scary, which is exactly what the government wants. However, you should always remember that the same government that is looking to make life difficult for you also affords you numerous legal rights that should always be protected. To get started fighting the charges against you and avoiding the life-changing permanent disqualification penalty, discuss your case in more detail with a SNAP permanent disqualification lawyer today.
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