Woman says food stamps agency told her to pay back $2,095

@samikatherinee/TikTok jetcityimage/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘I have no idea what I’m going to do’: Woman says food stamps agency told her to pay back $2,095. Does she have to?

'Why are we bailing out billionaires & then demanding poor people pay back their government aid?'

 

Braden Bjella

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Posted on Mar 30, 2024   Updated on Mar 30, 2024, 8:15 am CDT

While food assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have numerous benefits for those who take part in them, actually utilizing those benefits can be a difficult process.

For example, one internet user documented how difficult it was to renew SNAP benefits, even though they were still eligible. Another revealed that she was denied a sandwich with SNAP benefits because someone at the store decided to warm it up—SNAP beneficiaries cannot use the benefits to buy hot food. A further user said that someone skimmed the EBT card that contained her benefits, costing her around $900; she alleged that resolving the issue was near impossible.

Now, another TikTok user is calling out the SNAP program for a separate aspect of its implementation: Overpayment.

According to TikTok user Sami (@samikatherinee), she spent years utilizing the food stamp program. However, she recently got a job that earned her enough income to stop receiving SNAP benefits, so, she discontinued her involvement.

Soon after, she received a letter from the government informing her that she owed the government $2,095.

“What the f*ck?” she asks in a video posted to her account. “They also don’t give any options for like payment plans on here…They didn’t tell me why—they were just like, ‘Oh, just pay this balance or it’s gonna get taken out of your next year’s tax return.’”

Later in the video, she says that she did not receive any communication from the government beyond this letter, nor did she falsify any of the information on her food stamp application. Additionally, she claims that she reported all of the income she received while using the program.

“Most people who have food stamps are not well off enough to even be paying 2,000 [dollars],” she details. “Like, most of them don’t have $2000 in their bank account—I know I sure as h*ll don’t.”

“Like, since when did food stamps become a loaning service?” Sami asks. “Since when do I have to pay this sh*t back?”

As Sami adds the hashtag #calfresh in her caption, it’s likely that she is based in the state of California. While she does not give any details about the further contents of the bill she received, the state likely believes that they overpaid her, and thus, they are attempting to claw back some of the benefits she received.

In the case that Sami does not repay the money, the state has the right to get these benefits back through a variety of means.

“If the household is no longer receiving CalFresh benefits and does not agree to one of these voluntary arrangements, or if it misses a payment it agreed to make, the claim may be considered ‘delinquent,’” explains Legal Services of Northern California. “In that case, the CalFresh office can take steps to recoup the CalFresh benefits by intercepting state or federal tax refunds, suing the person, or other means such as taking unemployment compensation benefits or Social Security payments.”

That said, the site also notes there are several methods of legal recourse that Sami can employ to contest this claim. These include arguing that she met the requirements to receive these benefits in the first place or, in the case that she did not actually meet the requirements, finding a payment plan that will allow her to repay the benefits.

@samikatherinee idk it feels a little predatory… why are we bailing out billionaires & then demanding poor people pay back their government aid???? tf #fyp #foodstamps #calfresh #oc #capitalismsucks #eattherich #storytime ♬ original sound – ₊ ⊹ ☆ sami katherine☆⊹ ₊

Regardless, Sami notes in the caption that this system strikes her as unfair.

“Idk it feels a little predatory,” she writes. “Why are we bailing out billionaires & then demanding poor people pay back their government aid?”

Commenters largely agreed.

“This sh*t would send me into a tailspin,” one user said. “So I hope you’re finding ways to disengage from the stress.”

While Sami says throughout the comments section that she’s going to do her best to fight the bill, she states that she’s not optimistic about her chances.

“Gonna call today but after talking to some ppl that have been thru this, I’m pretty sure the resolution is gonna be a payment plan,” she wrote in a comment.

Sami has previously sparked discussion after showing how she was fired from her job for being autistic and showing herself bringing her own cheese to Olive Garden.

The Daily Dot reached out to Sami and CalFresh via email.

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*First Published: Mar 30, 2024, 10:00 am CDT