Chief: Tech lag allows EBT misuse
The state’s top welfare official has admitted his agency doesn’t have the technology to prevent EBT cards from being used on booze, guns and porn, throwing into question the value of the highly touted EBT reforms that State House lawmakers passed last year — further proof that the state needs to tighten the rules even more, critics said.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” said state Rep. Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton). “What we can do is stop these stores and businesses from accepting these cards if they sell alcohol or tattoos or are nail salons. The single biggest issue is the cash access, that people can still get cash.”
They. Can. Get. CASH. with their EBT cards. We were told that liquor stores were blocked from accepting EBT cards, etc. - and all along, all they have to do is access the cash portion and they can buy whatever they want. The powers-that-be are trying to say this is a technology issue - that while they can ban EBT usage in certain places, like liquor stores; they can't ban the use of EBT cards in stores that sell food items as well as alcohol.
All the while they sidestep the cash portion.
Look, as long as EBT recipients can access cold hard cash at ATMs, you can make all the restrictions you want. You can make the EBT card only accepted at supermarkets, clothing stores, and Bible Study groups, but if little Johnny EBT can get cash, he can buy all the cocaine his shredded nose can handle. Once you allow cash, you have lost the ability to restrict purchases. Period. Full stop. And they knew this when they assured us that EBT recipients weren't using their EBT cards - that's our damn money - to go out and buy cases of beer and smokes.
I don't understand why there's a cash option. I rarely even carry cash any more, as so many places take credit cards that there's very little need for actual greenbacks. All of the necessities - food, clothing, etc. - can be paid for with credit/debit cards, so it's questionable why that option is even built in. Might it be that they want a little bit of untraceable money? It's hard to imagine what you can only buy with cash that you would need an EBT card for. Offhand, I'd say the only things folks would want cash for would be the items that they're not supposed to be buying with EBT cards, like booze, butts, and scratch tickets.
I know, I know, I have a lot of nerve demanding accountability where they shovel my tax dollars...
That is all.