State lawmakers consider adding photo to welfare assistance cards to curb fraud

welfare cards
(USDA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Will adding a photo to welfare assistance cards help to curb fraud in the system, or does it create a “card of shame” that’s not worth the added expense?

That’s the question many state lawmakers are considering as more states work to crack down on rampant abuse in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs. Maine, Georgia, Massachusetts and New York have already switched to photo cards, and about a dozen states are contemplating the same, Bloomberg.com reports.

“Anybody who doesn’t think that food stamps are not (rife) with fraud is just closing their eyes and don’t want to see the truth,” said Georgia state Rep. Greg Morris, who sponsored the photo-card bill that became law in his state April 29, according to the news site.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage released data in January on EBT transactions in the Pine Tree State that shows “that since January 1, 2012 more than 3,000 transactions were made at more than 22 ‘smoke shops’ in Maine, which sell primarily cigarettes and other tobacco products. There are several examples of individuals using their EBT cards to spend hundreds of dollars at a time at liquor stores …

“One liquor store in New Hampshire had more than a thousand transactions totally nearly $8,000,” according to LePage’s January press release.
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