Call me naive, but it never occurred to me that you could use your EBT card for a lot of crazy stuff. http://bostonherald.com/news/national/general/view.bg?articleid=1061146798
It never occurred to me that states have to actually enact their own laws to combat welfare abuse, just because the bloated, bureaucratic U.S. government can’t get it under control.
And it would never occur to me that while the states can rig the EBT cards to decline point of purchase sales on lottery tickets, strip club admissions, chips for another game of blackjack at a casino, a case of beer and a carton of cigarettes to go along with a .44 Magnum, gaudy jewelry, or intricately painted nails and giant tattoos…
It just would never occur to me that all you have to do is use the EBT card at the nearest ATM to make this fantasy shopping trip come true!
Which means the states are getting tough and cracking down on reform, but there is no way to stop welfare recipients from using EBT cards at ATMs for cash. Which means your EBT card might not buy you a case of beer anymore, but if the ATM next to the register works it only caused a 20 second inconvenience.
The other side of the coin is that a struggling family’s closest ATM to get money for food may only be at the corner liquor store. Recipient advocates argue that “cracking down” only stigmatizes the poor and makes sensational headlines (true).
Either way the system is a mess.
Not only is all this crap a waste of money for anyone struggling to make ends meet, it is kind of enabling that we have a system that contributes to problems. Sure, everyone needs to blow some money at the roulette wheel, but why have an antiquated system that fosters pre-existing problems?
Here are some of the recent welfare restrictions recently (http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/18/2901438/at-look-at-welfare-restrictions.html) enacted throughout the country:
ARIZONA: Welfare recipients cannot use their benefits to buy lottery tickets. Casinos cannot have ATM machines that accept electronic welfare benefit cards.
CALIFORNIA: Welfare benefit cards cannot be used to withdraw cash from ATMs at liquor stores, strip clubs and gambling establishments.
COLORADO: The use of benefits for gambling, alcohol or guns is prohibited.
INDIANA: Welfare benefit cards cannot be used to make purchases at liquor stores, gambling establishments, bars or gun dealers.
MAINE: Spending on alcohol, gambling or adult entertainment is not allowed.
MASSACHUSETTS: Welfare recipients cannot use their cards to buy lottery tickets, tobacco and alcohol. Lawmakers also want to prohibit spending at nail salons, jewelry stores, liquor stores and casinos and make tattoos, porn and guns off-limits, too.
MINNESOTA: Purchases of alcohol and tobacco are prohibited, and those caught more than twice using their benefits for those items are disqualified for life.
MISSOURI: Proposals to restrict spending on alcohol, tobacco and gambling died when the legislative session ended in May.
PENNSYLVANIA: Lawmakers want to restrict the use of welfare benefits to housing, toiletries, food, clothing and public transportation. Alcohol is already banned.
WASHINGTON: Tattoos, body piercings, alcohol and tobacco are prohibited. Bars, bail bondsmen, gambling establishments and strip clubs must deactivate the ability of their ATM machines to accept benefit cards.