REQUIRE PHOTO ID FOR EBT PURCHASES
Recent arrests by the State Police have shown that EBT cards are involved in a wide variety of fraudulent transactions. Cards are routinely sold at a discount for cash, or stolen and used by unauthorized persons.
In at least one instance, an EBT card issued to an inmate at the ACI was being used fraudulently by another family member.
EBT fraud is commonplace, with the costs reaching into the millions. The U.S.
Dept. of Agriculture, which supervises the national food stamp program,
estimates that losses from abuse are in the neighborhood of $750 million
annually, a figure which has doubled since 2008.
To sell their benefit, the recipient must give the card to the illegal purchaser.
Since the card has the recipients name on it, requiring any person using
an EBT card to present photo ID would help stop the abuse. This does rely on
retailer staff to check the identification, and this is difficult to ensure. But this is a preventive measure that we expect can be helpful in curtailing
In the case of EBT trafficking, the user isn’t buying food, which is the intention of the program, but trading in the card or taking cash at a discount. This kind of fraud drives costs up and threatens the benefit for those families that depend on the food stamp program.
Requiring photo IDs would do much to identify and correct abuses, and is a cost-effective way of dealing with the problem.