LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Many families in Southern Nevada dependent on Electronic Benefit Transfer cards for food are unable to use their benefits.

FOX5 received multiple calls from viewers saying their cards are not working, with one sharing that it took more than 30 days to get his card reloaded.

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services tells FOX5 this is not the result of a hack, and that the system that processes welfare benefits has not been compromised. Instead, the department says there is a spike across the country of people’s information being compromised and thieves stealing their benefit money.

That’s what happened to one father of three in the northwest Valley, who asked to be referred to only by his first name of Anthony. He is still waiting to get his card reloaded.

“My fridge is empty,” Anthony told us. “I have no idea what I’m feeding them. I’m a grown man bawling my eyes out, not knowing how I’m feeding my kids.”

April began for Anthony like most months do.

“On the first, at midnight, we get our deposit,” he explained. “We’re a family of five. We get $973.”

But when he went to buy groceries, Anthony found something wrong.

“Around 9 in the morning, I went to make a Walmart order so the kids could eat that day before I went shopping, and it declined, saying I only had $6 on my balance,” he recalled.

Anthony checked his EBT app to see if there had been a mistake.

“It showed a transaction for $550 and then a transaction for $415, leaving me $6,” he said. “I went down to welfare that day to report it. Once I reported it, they told me that it was going to take 10 to 30 days to investigate.”

Anthony asked if the process could be sped up.

“Once I got to the fraud department, they told me that there’s been multiple reports of it,” he said, noting that the department told him he was the 80th caller that day. “It’s not just me. There’s been a lot of reports of it. But either way, I still have to wait that time frame.”

Welfare workers showed Anthony another app that lets him keep a tighter lock on his card’s security.

“I already downloaded it, already got a new card, and already put all those locks on,” he said, adding that he wished he had known about these security features sooner.

While Anthony is waiting for the money to be put back on his card, he’s not sure how to make ends meet.

“We barely make enough to pay the bills. We’re on welfare because we can’t afford to pay for food,” he said. “The kids know what’s going on. They’re in school, so at least they still get to eat at school, but you know, there’s still weekends, there’s still after school, there’s still breakfast, there’s still adults. It’s crazy.”

Victims of EBT theft can find food resources here.


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