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EBT Card: Fraud or Confusion

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Published on Apr 14, 2012

Usage of EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards came up for a lengthy discussion in the Minnesota House hearings on Welfare Reform. There was a claim that some people had more than one EBT card. Welfare recipients explained that it is impossible for one person to be issued more than one card. The card is issued by the county and it is a replacement for the old paper food stamps and the monthly welfare check. The card is issued by the county upon proper determination of eligibility and the monthly amount is set in the central computer record. This includes the monthly "food stamp" allowance and a cash amount if appropriate. The recipient does nothing to renew the monthly benefits, they are posted to the computer record. One person might have more than one card in possession if he or she were shopping for other members of the household. The original Welfare Reform Bill as introduced in the House had many severe cutbacks including reusing eligibility from five years to three years and lowering the exit point from 115% of poverty to 100% of poverty. Both of these provisions were removed in the final bill. The Welfare Rights Committee had strenuous objections to a number of aspects of the bill and they interrupted the first hearing with a "Mic Check," a device from the occupy movement. In a later hearing Chairman Abeler warned the committee that armed guards were present to protect the legislators from intimidation.

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