27 Congress Members Demand Action On SNAP Balances Revealed By 10 Investigates

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Story highlights

  • 10 Investigates revealed Ohioans have more than $20k in food benefits

  • Rep. Bob Gibbs heading efforts to investigate

  • Congress demands action from the USDA

While some Ohioans wait months to get food assistance, others are going for months adding food benefits they don't need

10 Investigates found 41 households with balances between $7,000 and $10,000. 14 households have $10,000 or more.

Franklin County's top household has $17,316 on its card. The highest in Ohio: $20,902 in one Cuyahoga county household.

Ohio Congressman Bob Gibbs is on the committee overseeing the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP.

"I mentioned this to my colleagues in Washington and that signed on to the letter and they were like, ‘are you kidding me?’ They were just shocked that people could have balances on their SNAP cards on these levels. Where's the oversight and the accountability?" said Rep. Gibbs.

Rep. Gibbs pledges to take action, including writing new "use it or lose it" style legislation It would cap the time people grow benefit balances at 60 days rather than the current limit of one year.

County agencies are responsible for overseeing food benefits. They tell 10 Investigates these large balances are not from fraud. Counties blame the balances on federal policy giving food benefits on eligibility and not need.

“SNAP benefits are 100% federally funded, and ODJFS is required to follow all federal rules and regulations when expunging unspent benefits,” said Ohio Job and Family Services spokesperson Ben Johnson.

Rep. Gibbs added, "That really distorts the program and makes it tougher for policy makers to understand what the real needs are out there."

10 Investigates also found similar reports of large food benefit balances in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Washington state. Those reports are from 2013 and Congress has not moved to do anything about it until now.

To read the letter from Congress to the USDA, click here