Yes, I’m ranting about food stamp abuse again
I’m Just Sayin’
by SHEILA SMITH
Great news, everyone! The state’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has banned the spending of welfare money on cigarettes, alcohol and lottery tickets. The new regulations even include restrictions that prohibit the use of a welfare electronic benefit card at liquor stores, gambling sites and strip clubs, as required under federal law.
There are even repercussions! Violators of the new regulations will stop receiving welfare benefits for a year on a first offense, followed by two years for a second offense and permanently for a third offense.
Now that I’ve told you the great news, let’s get to what everyone is thinking, which can only be expressed through capital letters and exclamation points: WHY IN HAIDES WERE PEOPLE ALLOWED TO SPEND TAXPAYERS’ MONEY ON CIGARETTES, ALCOHOL AND LOTTERY TICKETS IN THE FIRST PLACE?!?!?!
Really, I don’t understand this, so someone please write a Letter to the Editor and help me comprehend. Was the State of Louisiana actually watching supposedly struggling residents spend money on those things and saying, “Oh, that’s cool, the working class will pick up the tab”? Or did they not approve of such spending but were a tad too busy to address the issue?
Here is another thing I did not know: apparently, some welfare money can be taken off an electronic benefit card as cash through an ATM. According to the Louisiana Electronic Benefit Transfer site, not everyone who receives food stamps has cash benefits included but many do. The web site further states that people with this benefit may receive cash back at stores; cash from an ATM; or use the cash benefits to purchase non-grocery items such as PET FOOD.
I’m an animal lover, people. I have two dogs of my own. You know how I keep them fed? Well, I work full-time and on top of paying my own household bills, about $200 a month for medical insurance and about $220 for home, auto and life insurance, I also buy food for my dogs. Is the State of Louisiana really telling me that I am paying taxes to keep Mr. Jones’ dog Fido fed? Most of our veterans can’t get the benefits they deserve but I’m going to work to feed someone’s cat?
Someone – well, many in the state government need to be kicked in the face repeatedly. Or beaten with a 50-pound bag of dog chow.
I did, however, get a wonderful laugh from this “rule” posted on the site: Recipients cannot “Sell, trade or give away your SNAP benefits, PIN or Louisiana EBT Card…Allow a retailer to buy your food benefits in exchange for cash…Use someone else’s SNAP benefits or Louisiana EBT card for your household.”
How many times have you or I been in line at grocery stores and saw an upstanding group of people (yes, I am being completely sarcastic when I describe those people as ‘upstanding’) waiting to check out? One pays for her items with a food stamp card, goes back behind the line and passes it up to a relative/friend; that one checks out, goes back behind the line and passes it up to a relative/friend; pretty soon, four different households that are completely undeserving have stocked up on junk food and grade A beef. The business doesn’t seem too worried because they are still getting their money yet the state expects the business to report any benefit abuse.
The entire situation is ridiculous and abusive towards those of us who work for an honest living. I know I have written plenty of columns and editorials on this subject but I will keep yelling about it until the state makes some intelligent effort in revamping its “benefits” system.
I am done ranting now. I’m just sayin’, I have to get back to work because since I choose to not be lazy and have some self-respect, I need to earn money to pay my bills and feed my dogs – and everyone else’s.
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