Is there a statute of limitations regarding the payback of food stamps?

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Is there a statute of limitations regarding the payback of food stamps?

Avout 31 years ago I was on food stamps with my 3 children. My boyfriend was using my address to have his mail sent to my house but he was still living in NY. I explained this to the social worker but at the time she insisted that he was living there. We gave her proof that his address was in NY (pay statements and tax papers) but she still did not believe. So now I am getting letters saying that I have to pay back the food stamps.

Asked on March 9, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, New Jersey

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you were not the applicant for the food stamps, then I don't see how the agency can even attempt to obtain personal jurisdiction over you. If you were the applicant and your food stamp amount was calculated based on him living there (or what the agency thought was him living there), and you corrected them and you didn't know the calculation was wrong, then that is not your problem.  However, if you mean that by him living there it would have disqualified you from receiving food stamps in the first place (either income too high) or their allegation that you may have lied on the application, you need to again correct them as your primary argument (even if it means locating your boyfriend and asking him to sign a notarized statement) and then state the statute of limitations has run. Have the agency show you owe it and show the statute has not run. Talk to your local politicians and office of the attorney general for help. If you can, contact your local legal aid office and see if it can help you at no cost either write a letter back or dispute the demand. Some federal laws and a few cases (I believe at the state and federal level) have also prevented these agencies from collecting on cases over six years old.


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