I needed it for this story:
Feds: More Americans selling their food stamps for cash
The percentage of Americans selling their food stamps back to stores for cash has increased by 30 percent over the past several years, according to a new Agriculture Department study.Yeah, that economy is hummin' right along, isn't it? Five years in, and gas prices are still sky-high; real unemployment is still close to double digits; and fraud is still rampant in assistance programs. It's one thing to receive temporary assistance in tough times; it's another thing entirely to not only not need the assistance but to actively seek illegal means of turning that assistance into monetary gain.
The study on food stamps trafficking -- which the agency said included “covert investigation” in stores -- compared the periods of 2006 -2008 to 2009 -2011.
I have a good friend from way back who fell on hard times. He went through a messy divorce and got RIF'd at his job (to make way for the owner's kid) within the span of a year, and found himself in a position where he needed help if he wanted to continue to do things like eat. He applied for and received an EBT voucher for food assistance, and used it for a few months until he found a new job. Now, I can vouch for my friend. He wouldn't do this as anything other than a last resort.
Point is, once he found a new job and no longer needed the voucher, he could not get them to STOP sending him more cards. It took nearly a dozen calls before he finally got through to someone that he no longer wanted nor needed the assistance, and if they persisted in sending him more EBT cards - that he wasn't using and was in fact mailing back to them - he was going to go to the papers with his story. They had no interest whatsoever in removing him from the rolls - fewer people receiving assistance means less of a need for caseworkers...
So, no, it doesn't surprise me that fraud is rampant...
That is all.
Another dispatch from...
(image courtesy of Robb Allen)