Panel Targets Misuse Of Massachusetts Welfare Benefit Cards

By Bob Salsberg, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — A special commission is recommending new restrictions on the use of electronic benefit transfer cards by recipients of Massachusetts welfare benefits.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports.

The proposed rules endorsed on Thursday would ban the use of so-called EBT cards at several types of establishments including nail salons, tattoo parlors, strip clubs and casinos.

The changes would need approval from the Legislature, which voted last year to prohibit the use of EBT cards to buy alcohol, tobacco or lottery tickets.

Panel member Shaunna O’Connell, a Republican state representative from Taunton, said the recommendations don’t go far enough to root out abuses in the system.

The special commission also recommended a financial literacy program for welfare recipients, and that the state’s inspector general study eligibility for cash assistance programs. The panel was formed in December.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

  • fred

    Since they are not restricting cash withdrawals from ATM’s, as usual, this alleged reform is a waste of time.

  • Willow

    If they can control the use of medical flexible spending cards so that they can only be used for certain out of pocket medical expenses, then they can do the same for the EBT cards. All they have to do is program as such. I still think all recipients should also be drug tested. Most people are drug tested today before they are offered employment, so why shouldn’t these folks be drug tested before they get any benefits? There is so much abuse of welfare, that it no doubt will never be fixed.

  • Rob Cleary

    Panel member Shaunna O’Connell was on the radio last night. Democratic members of the panel didn’t think it was fair to ban there use on cruise ships. Or in other states.

    Deval Pathetic did every thing in his power to prevent this commission from even being formed.

    Only morons get up and go to work.

    • fred

      Correct, this commission was set up purposely to fail. They can now say they are doing something while doing nothing. They prohibited the cards use at a number of places but what prevents the EBT user from going to an ATM across the street from a Strip club then going back with cash for a lap dance. They also struck down a proposal to eliminate the cards use out of state except for boarding states. It is well know that people who are defrauding the system often are defrauding other states as well. When a card is consistently used in another state that should be a red flag right there. Oh, and they shot down forbidding using the card on a cruise ship. Well, I work and pay taxes and I can not afford to go on a cruise – so anyone one public assistance should not be allowed either. There is something called priorities. There is also a high number of EBT users who report they lost their card. Most probably sold them for the remaining balance and then got reissued a new card with no questions asked. Yes there are people who are legitimate, but the system is set up to be defrauded.

      • fred

        I meant bordering states.

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