Should cigarette purchases be allowed with EBT Card?
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17

Thread: Should cigarette purchases be allowed with EBT Card?

  1. #1
    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    7,532

    Default Should cigarette purchases be allowed with EBT Card?

    Currently EBT cards can be used essentially as cash for any purchase. Should their use be restricted?

    Woman fired for refusing to accept EBT card for cigarettes; NH says welfare abuse tough to stop

    PETERBOROUGH - Jackie Whiton's stand against what she sees as a misuse of state assistance has become a national story.

    ?I've had so much support it's been overwhelming,? she said in her Antrim home Wednesday night as she prepared to go on FOX news this morning.

    A former employee of the Big Apple convenience store in Peterborough, Whiton was fired after she refused to accept Electronic Benefit Transfer cards as payment for cigarettes. She is now collecting signatures for a petition protesting how the state aid program is run, and plans to lobby the governor.

    ?Somebody told me to call Welfare Fraud and I said absolutely not. This is not fraud. They allow this to happen,? she said of the state.

    EBT cards are issued to recipients of the Department of Health and Human Services Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF program. In the mid-1990s, the Department of Health and Human Services started issuing the cards. Before that people received a check.

    EBT benefits or state assistance money can be used to purchase anything, including alcohol and cigarettes. The cards can be used at strip clubs, tanning and nail salons and tattoo parlors, Whiton said.

    ?They can get cash out of an ATM with those,? she said.

    No state in the country has restrictions on how cash benefits can be spent, according to Terry Smith, director of DHHS Division of Family Assistance.

    ?That's pretty much the law of the land; it's not just New Hampshire,? he said.

    About 14,000 households received monthly cash benefits from the state last year, a total of $36 million.

    More than 56,000 households received food stamp assistance, which are overseen by the federal government, according to Smith. Smith said the federal government trains store employees on the restrictions of the food stamp EBT cards and then monitors stores and individual use to enforce those restrictions.

    If the state were to enact restrictions on how cash assistance is spent, DHHS would have to set up a costly infrastructure to monitor use, Smith said. ?We'd need more staff, travel budgets,? he said.

    Fired from market

    Whiton said she had worked at the market six years.

    ?What happened was, a young man came in and wanted to buy cigarettes and I asked him for his ID and he handed me his EBT card. I told him he couldn't buy them with the card and he said yes he could.?

    The following day, the foster mother of the man, who Whiton estimates to be about 20, came into the convenience store to complain.

    Whiton still refused to accept the EBT card for cigarettes, so the woman went to her boss, she said.

    ?The next day I got a call from the home office and they said I have to sell to him and I said at 65 years old, I don't have to do anything I don't want to do. I said I would bow out gracefully and gave my two weeks' notice. The next day they fired me,? Whiton said.

    She added it was the head office C.N. Brown Co., not her manager in Peterborough, who fired her.

    ?This is what the taxpayer's hard-earned dollars are going toward,? she said. ?There are a few people of course who are against me, and they are probably card holders.?

    Enforcing the rules

    Whiton said she plans to send her petition to the governor, asking the state to dissolve the ?cash cards.?

    ?I am not against the EBT (food stamp) grocery cards. I am not,? she said. ?But a woman can't even buy toilet paper or tampons with those.?

    A new federal law requires states to prohibit in the next two years the use of the EBT ?cash cards? at liquor stores, casinos and adult entertainment venues, Smith said.

    In light of the new federal law, DHHS went back and looked at EBT card use in May and found that not one card was used at a liquor store that month. That doesn't mean a person in the program didn't go to an ATM, withdraw cash and then purchase liquor with the state assistance money, Smith said.

    Who gets the help?

    The TANF program is set up to help people who are at or under 43 percent of the poverty level.

    A single mother with two children and no income can receive up to $675 a month, for example.

    ?Are some people being irresponsible? I expect so. But there is not a lot of money to be irresponsible with,? Smith said.

    TANF is set up to encourage people to find work and move off assistance.

    ?New Hampshire has the highest work participation in the Northeast and I think we come in 10th in the country in having people in work activities,? Smith said.

    He said restricting the EBT purchases would not stop irresponsible spending, since users could simply go to an ATM and get cash.
    http://www.unionleader.com/article/2...85/0/FRONTPAGE
    Mom to Lee, Jake, Brandon, Rocco
    Stepmom to Ryan, Regan, Braden, Baley
    Granddaughters Kylie 10/18/2010 & Aleya 4/22/2013


    I never consider a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosopy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend. --Thomas Jefferson

  2. #2
    Posting Addict
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    7,221

    Default

    I am a little confused by the article, specifically this:
    What happened was, a young man came in and wanted to buy cigarettes and I asked him for his ID and he handed me his EBT card. I told him he couldn't buy them with the card and he said yes he could.

    The following day, the foster mother of the man, who Whiton estimates to be about 20, came into the convenience store to complain.

    Whiton still refused to accept the EBT card for cigarettes, so the woman went to her boss, she said.
    If I am understanding correctly, the man showed his ID to Whiton the previous day, so why would she "estimate" his age?

    Secondly, if this is a foster care situation, it influences my decision. I'm making a lot of assumptions here, but if he is a foster child over the age of 18 still attending high school, the state is helping to support him. Why wouldn't part of that support include discretionary income? (I know in my state the foster children are supposed to receive money from their foster parents.) Thus, why would he not have the same rights as an other person buying a legal product with what the establishment considers a legal form of payment?

    I don't know all the different cards out there, but aren't there some where CS can be loaded directly on it? DD1's CS will continue until she is 21. Should she not be allowed to purchase a legal product just because the money was deposited to a state-issued account rather than directly to her?

  3. #3
    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    7,532

    Default

    EBT cards are issued to recipients of the Department of Health and Human Services Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF program.
    These are only issued for the TANF program (used to be AFDC). It has nothing to do with child support. They used to issue checks but now they put it on a card instead that can be used just like an ATM or debit card.
    Mom to Lee, Jake, Brandon, Rocco
    Stepmom to Ryan, Regan, Braden, Baley
    Granddaughters Kylie 10/18/2010 & Aleya 4/22/2013


    I never consider a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosopy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend. --Thomas Jefferson

  4. #4
    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    7,532

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ethanwinfield View Post
    I am a little confused by the article, specifically this:


    If I am understanding correctly, the man showed his ID to Whiton the previous day, so why would she "estimate" his age?
    It said that she asked for his ID, not that he provided it. He gave her the EBT card instead.
    Mom to Lee, Jake, Brandon, Rocco
    Stepmom to Ryan, Regan, Braden, Baley
    Granddaughters Kylie 10/18/2010 & Aleya 4/22/2013


    I never consider a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosopy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend. --Thomas Jefferson

  5. #5
    Posting Addict
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    8,382

    Default

    This was illegal for her to do.

    I don't necessarily agree to funding bad habits through tax money but it's not my decision what they spend their income on. I just know that it is not a large amount generally and should be used for important things first.

    Although, it does state she asked for id and doesn't say he showed her id saying he was legally allowed to buy the cigarettes.

    She was wrong.
    Mom to E and C

  6. #6
    Posting Addict
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    7,221

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GloriaInTX View Post
    These are only issued for the TANF program (used to be AFDC). It has nothing to do with child support. They used to issue checks but now they put it on a card instead that can be used just like an ATM or debit card.
    In some states you can have CS loaded onto the same card.

  7. #7
    Posting Addict
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    7,221

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GloriaInTX View Post
    It said that she asked for his ID, not that he provided it. He gave her the EBT card instead.
    Really? Than the issue would be moot - if she denied the purchase based on failure to show ID she wouldn't be in this mess. If she "estimates" his age at 19 - 20 her story isn't adding up.

  8. #8
    Posting Addict
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    7,221

    Default

    I am really tired of people taking "inventory" of how other people spend their money and thinking they have a say in based on the fact they somehow contribute to it. If the law doesn't put restrictions on it, how can people arbitrarily think they can decide otherwise?

  9. #9
    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    7,532

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ethanwinfield View Post
    I am really tired of people taking "inventory" of how other people spend their money and thinking they have a say in based on the fact they somehow contribute to it. If the law doesn't put restrictions on it, how can people arbitrarily think they can decide otherwise?
    I think people have every reason to be upset that the money that is taken from them involuntarily is wasted like this. It is exactly why government programs are not the best way to distribute charity because then the people think it is owed them and they deserve it. If someone has enough surplus from a government program to purchase alcohol and cigarettes with it than they are getting money they don't "need". Government programs are supposed to be for people in need. I don't know if there is a feasible way of making people spend the money they get wisely, but that doesn't mean I can't think it is wrong when they are blatantly wasting it as in this case.
    Mom to Lee, Jake, Brandon, Rocco
    Stepmom to Ryan, Regan, Braden, Baley
    Granddaughters Kylie 10/18/2010 & Aleya 4/22/2013


    I never consider a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosopy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend. --Thomas Jefferson

  10. #10
    Posting Addict
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    8,382

    Default

    You can think it's wrong Gloria but you don't legally have a right to deny the purchase based on your feelings...at least not right now. I do sort of agree with you but on the basis that it doesn't necessarily cover what they *need* in the month never mind extras like cigarettes.

    Picking what our taxes go to is not a good idea. There are plenty of things our taxes pay for that I think is insane but that doesn't give me a right to stop that program.
    Mom to E and C

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
v -->

About Us | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Sitemap | Terms & Conditions