January 23

Maine’s lack of rules make welfare fraud easy


Having read a recent article in the newspaper, “LePage: Transaction records show welfare cards abused,” by Steve Mistler (Jan. 8), I am amazed how far the Legislature has gone to be irresponsible with taxpayer money.

If I am a welfare abuser, I am overjoyed by the lack of any rules around how and when welfare money can be spent as described in the article.

Remember: The feds say it’s not what you buy with welfare cash benefits, it’s where you buy it. From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: “... the federal law does not require a state to prevent a recipient from buying beer at a grocery store, but it does require that a state implement policies and practices to prevent any purchase involving an electronic transfer of TANF cash assistance, even non-alcoholic items, from a liquor store.”

That’s what makes the EBT issue so complicated. It’s cash, and cardholders can withdraw that anywhere and buy pretty much what they want. It’s a big difference from food stamps (which are also loaded onto EBT cards), which prohibit the purchase items such as liquor and cigarettes.

Those officials in charge of this mess should be ashamed.

Mike SwanholmReadfield
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