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There are currently restrictions in place for food stamps and WIC coupons so it would make sense to have them for public assistance money as well. Many of you thought so with 73% saying there should be some limitations on what welfare money can buy. But the difficulty then becomes how to decide what is or isn’t necessary. While some welfare recipients may abuse the system and spend all their money on liquor and cigarettes, many others do not and may want to just buy a bottle of wine along with their groceries. I think the welfare system overall, including who even qualifies, needs to be looked at -- the money actually lost to EBT abuse might only be a drop in the bucket.
Welfare recipients can currently use public assistance money to buy cigarettes, alcohol, and lottery tickets. But a bill introduced in the Republican-controlled State Senate looks to put an end to that "abuse" of taxpayer money in New York State.
In addition to food stamps, a family of four could reportedly receive as much as $433 a month for "cash assistance purchases." Buying cigarettes and alcohol is allowed, even though the program is designed to help defray the cost of housing, utility expenses and clothing.
If the bill passes, recipients who violate the ban would lose their benefits for one month for their first offense. They wouldn't get removed from the program permanently until a third violation. Do you support the measure?
Should welfare recipients be allowed to buy lottery tickets and beer with taxpayer money? Are the proposed penalties appropriate? What abuse of the welfare system have you seen in New York City?
Send your thoughts using the link above.
ABSOLUTELY YES I AGREE THAT ANY ITEMS THAT CAN BE USE AS AN ADDICTION SHOULD NOT BE BUY WITH BENEFITS CARDS OR FOOD STAMPS.
USING NYS TAXPAYERS MONEY FOR THEIR ADDICTIONS. NO. THAT'S UNFAIR.
Of course they should be allowed to use the public assistance money, for no matter what it buys, it's still going back to the economy in form of sale taxes.
This is actually a reasonable GOP law surprisingly.
I agree that limits have to set. The idea of welfare is for basic needs-not expensive extras that aren`t good for your health.
As a teacher in the City schools, I can attest to the fact that many parents of my students, use their welfare money to purchase things like Cigarettes, alcohol and whatever else but DO NOT use the money to purchase healthy food for their children, detergent to wash their worn clothes, school supplies they so desperately need, etc. How do I know this - these same children come in hungry every morning and we feed them breakfast, their books smell from tobacco and when you call home, no matter what time of day, the parent is annoyed we're disturbing him/her.
I believe it is time for Government to stand up to these people. When it is a case of true necessity, I am all for helping out but many of these people drive beautiful cars, have beautiful clothes, yet neglect their children's needs and care.
This is a very difficult issue to decide. Let me get this straight, when recipients receive welfare grants they could purchase cigarettes (lung cancer), alcohol ( another known disease that destroys lives)) plus gamble their food money away (no food for kids). This particular program of allowing people to destroy a families well being is very challenging to decide which side you are on. I guess I will attempt to state my case, has this world gone completely unhinged.
Nobody should be allowed to buy anything with taxpayer money. If you didn’t earn it, it ain’t yours and it ain’t the governments.
All taxation is theft.
yes not cigs and no booze period this is a health issue like the soda issue
As much as I detest the big brother aspect of this, I also take into consideration that cigarettes and alcohol do not feed a family. Yes, ban the purchase of tobacco products and alcohol with taxpayer funds. Of course this will just make for more creative ways to game the system.
I THINK IT IS JUST FANTASTIC THAT WELFARE RECIPIENTS CAN PURCHASE ALCOHOL, AND CIGARETTES WITH EXTRA PUBLIC ASSISTANCE MOOLAH.
WE NEED TO FURTHER ENHANCE THOSE BENEFITS BY ALLOWING FREE ENTRY TO YANKEE STADIUM AND CITIFIELD. FLASHING THE BENNY CARDS WOULD ALLOW FREE BEER AND HOT DOGS AND ONE PENNANT FLAG APIECE, PLUS A FREE CAB RIDE HOME.
WE NEED TO FILL THOSE VACANT SEATS.
2, 4, 6, 8, WHO DO WE APPRECIATE?
DOES WISCONSIN HAVE ANY BALL CLUBS THERE?
I never heard of such a thing that people on Welfare are permitted to buy all of these luxuries.
Who in gods name starts all of these programs to begin with. Everyone has Carte Blanche with the tax payers money in this state.
I FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT ALL OF THESE PROGRAMS ARE CREATED BY ALL OF THE POLITICIANS JUST TO GET VOTES.
IN MY OPINION THEY SHOULD SCRUB THIS PROGRAM ALL-TOGETHER. AS FOR NOW ANYONE ABUSING IT IN THIS MANOR THEY ARE OFF ALL PUBLIC ASSISTANCE FOREVER. THAT SHOULD BE THE PENALTY.
MEANWHILE US TAX PAYERS ALWAYS FEEL AS THOUGH WE HAVE TO WALK ON EGG SHELLS AND THESE POLITICIANS ARE READING US THE RIOT ACT AS TO WHAT WE CAN EAT AND AGAIN I ASK WHERE IS THE CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION. THEY ARE ALWAYS ONE SIDED AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED.
WHAT OTHER ASSISTANCE TO THESE RECIPIENTS RECEIVE? I WOULD BE CURIOUS TO KNOW.
OHHHHHH BUT HAVE NO FEAR JUST LOOK AT WHAT IS RUNNING FOR MAYOR THE NEXT TIME.
WHAT A SIGHT TO SEE THESE LOSERS ON THE PODIUM TRYING TO PUT ON A SHOW FOR US.
I WOULDN'T VOTE FOR ANY ONE OF THEM.
OMG...I am not sure that this is correct, but if I don't smoke nor drink, why should MY taxpayer money go to people who first of all get welfare, and second of all don't work for what they get!
I don't think so!
New Rochelle, N.Y.
I might agree with this bill if it is preceded by a bill that cuts the benefits for State politicians first and monitors what they spend the money they are paid by tax-payers on. There should also be stricter penalties when they are caught and convicted of crimes that involve abusing their office for personal and financial gain. Any money they were paid in addition to whatever ever they stole should also be taken from them to the fullest extent possible. Also any political official who is also a lawyer and therefore a court officer should be disbarred by for abusing that trust as well and never be allowed to practice law again. There should also be a stipulation that a politician cannot work for any company doing business with the State for a predetermined amount of time after they leave office, so as not to risk the chance of any shady deals.
When all of these lofty goals are met and the State politicians can live by these simple rules then going after the poorest citizens will be more just. It's nice to stir up the hornets nest with the rhetoric about wasting tax-payers money when it is aimed at people who don't have a leg to stand on, but when there is waste and corruption at the top nothing is done. For a country that is so hung up on an anti-bullying stance, our government sure likes to push people around when they can. And in the end this is just going to be a way to hurt a few people and not actually change anything since anyone with a drop of sense will tell that all people will do is trade their benefits balance with someone else for cash. But it's better to spend their energy on this because it's the people on public assistance that played games with the stock market, ruined people's pensions, and lost/stole billions of dollars. Way to take a stand you cowards......
What happened??? It seems I just woke up i a communist state??? It's time to pack up and leave this place. The freedom loving NYC that I love has disappeared. Good riddance!
Upper West Side
Given the price of cigarettes and alcohol and the paucity of public benefits,
if you see recipients chain smoking or drinking habitually, chances are they
are doing so with unreported income or they and their family are without
adequate food or shelter. But the fact remains that, once a recipient's
benefits are converted to cash, it is virtually impossible, legally or
practically, to dictate how that money can be used.
Part of the problem is the merchants who knowingly and illegally take food
stamp payments for alcohol and cigarettes, as well as for other non-food
items, like dog food, that require cash. I have even heard of a case in
which a financially irresponsible alcoholic had his local liquor store owner
appointed as his representative payee for his disability check. But the most this
law can do is to restrict the use of an EBT card's cash account for such purposes,
and all a recipient would need is an ATM to circumvent even that restriction.
While it does make sense to eliminate unhealthy foods from those that may
be purchased with food stamps, a recipient of public benefits has the same
freedom as any other consumer to spend his or her pocket money unwisely,
and it is already unlawful to treat a consumer any differently because of the
source of his or her income. As such, this otherwise well-intentioned proposal
will become just another unenforceable law that will do little to combat the
problem it was drafted to address while providing yet another opportunity
for benefit recipients and the merchants who serve them to flim flam the
Welfare money is to help the indigents on public assistance have adequate diets. Having nothing constructive to do indigents on public assistance consuming cigarettes and alcohol will eventually contract diseases related to tobacco and alcohol abuse. Then the taxpayers will have to support them while they are " rehabilitated" . Requiring additional burdens on the industrious to support the indigents. The Senate is correct, but it is the industrious who are being abused by the indigents the bill should be expeditiously passed.
I agreed with the Republicans in the state Senate that we need to put an end to abuse by some on welfare who buy cirgareets and alcohol at taxpayers expense. These items are bad for the body and in my opinion if they want these things they need to expect to lose these benefits.
Glen Oaks Village
Welfare money should be used for milk, juice, vegetables, fruit, meat, and that's it!! Letting folks use taxpayer dollars to buy addictive and dangerous products like tobacco and alcohol is insane.
I live in Staten Island and there is a local Stop and Shop with a Starbucks inside of it. Last summer I waited in the line for the Starbucks on my way out of the grocery (mind you I clip coupons and buy off brand goods in order to save money). Starbucks for me is a luxury and a treat. It was disheartening to see a woman buying not only a $6.00 frappachino, but also a mug, a gift card and some other snacks with her food stamp card. I guess because the Starbucks rings up the purchases on Stop and Shop's register that this somehow sneaks through.
I am all for someone needing a hand to get the necessities for living when they are unable to do this on their own, but in no way is Starbucks a need---it's a want. I am completely in favor of regulating these purchases! Absolutely!
People who live on taxpayer dollars should not be allowed to spend our money for cigarette, liquor, and Lotto tickets. ATMs at casinos should reject their cards. EBT should be for nutritious food only. No soda or potato chips.
Upper East Side
An EBT card has Food Cash money and CAsh money on it. The food cash money can only be used for dry foods not cooked foods so they are restricting what kind of food you buy already. The cash on the EBT cards is what they what to control,Its will be a matter of putting a block on what the cash on your EBT card can buy like they do for the Food cash on the EBT card.
Even though it won't totally eliminate the misuse of welfare funds but it sure can lessen the ability to buy needless items ie: cigarettes, alcohol or sadly drugs. Rent, food is ok. The other stuff no.
It's the merchants making deals with EBT card holders who take a cut of their EBT funds if the customer wanted to purchase cigarettes or beer with the EBT cards. It's disgusting how these minorities bang out their EBT funds for their addiction of garbage and not provide for their kids welfare. I've seen this with my own eyes at these bodegas or deli's citywide.
Your first caller from the Coalition Against Hunger is absurd.
I don't want hunger. I don't want fraud either. I'm willing to overlook some amount of fraud for the greater benefit of reducing hunger.
But I'm not willing to sit by and let people villify Wall Street and corporate workers whose taxes fund these programs just because someone doesn't think they don't pay enough.
When will advocates for the poor realize that if they villify the people with money, the people they support become the losers?
Upper East Side
WHERES THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT POSITION ON 99 PERCENT ABUSERS ?
As long as theres food put inside your household I really dont see what the issue is! If there were more jobs giving out when people apply this wouldnt even be a topic today! There are so much more things in this world to worry bout
Given the high taxes on alcohol and lottery tickets and cigarettes, much of that money is returned to the government.
Would anti-smoking aids like nicotine patches and gum (which are incredibly expensive) be banned, too? What about expensive energy drinks like Red Bull? Where does it stop?
Upper East Side
Sometimes people use the money from food stamp cards to pay some of there bills not everyone buys beer and drugs with it all though many do.
I feel welfare reciepients should be able to enjoy the same things as working folks and myself. They have it hard as it is; some don't get a chance to go on a vacation or even have money to get to the local beach. These folks are already suffering economically which in turn makes them unhappy and miserable. Why are we treating them less than human. Why don't we go after political corruption-that's where our money gets loss. More money will be spent trying to catch these folks. Let them live.
Want to make your own choices? Make your own money! Government assistance should be used to supplement for basic needs (assistance). Welfare recipients forfeit the luxury of limited government intervention when they depend on that very government for survival.
i worked and paid taxes in nyc for 25 years -when i lost my job as a vp and a single white woman- and could not get a job- i was so scared and broke i applied for assistance- It was humiliating -i was told if i was black and had 6 kids i could get assistance. a car, an apt -the welfare worker told me to LEAVE NEW YORK!! he said the system was abused daily and everyone in the office new it and did nothing. I was so shocked i just stood there and cryed- and for 6 months ,even though I qualified I got nothing and noone would help me.
the system is abusive and criminally run.
Welfare recipients should not be able to buy liquor and cigarettes with tax payer money. My mother-in-law is legally blind and when she buys prepared foods because she can't cook, her food stamps are not accepted for that. It's ridiculous!
How public assistance money is used should absolutely be monitored. Both the recipient and the crooked merchants should be penalized. Merchants should be required to use some sort of code that identifies items purchased with EBT cards. When the card is swiped, a code describes what is being purchased. If a merchant lies, his EBT privileges should be revoked and the recipient should be penalized. Because I was unemployed, I applied for food stamps and was denied because my income (unemployment) exceeded the eligibility amount.
I agree that there should be restrictions and more monitoring of merchants who accept assistance. It is the only way to really cut down on fraud. It is disturbing to hear how many people assume "everyone" is cheating the system I have family members who could not feed themselves and their children. Im grateful the system is in place.
Just another diversion in the continuous vilification and demonization of the poor. What about all the billionaires who got govt. bailouts, i.e. corporate welfare. Nobody's checking where they're spending their ill-gained lucre. And then JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon receives a hero's welcome in Congress when his company lost billions in stupidly risky transactions.
Upper West Side
You'd be shocked on the amount of bogus prescriptions for painkillers that are being filled in New York alone could be the same people also on unnecessary medical equipment Let them all receive their goods from fresh direct Used to be mayor on the block but now we have a butcher , Baker , shoemaker remember poor don't get upset middle-class gets upset Easier to refinance for the poor but very difficult for the middle class in a true growing economy price increases are a must think about Wisconsin on his topic collective-bargaining?
INSTEAD OF WORRYING ABOUT WELFARE RECIPIENTS BUYING A BEER OR CIGARETTES WITH FOOD STAMPS.WHY NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT CORPORATE WELFARE AND FOREIGN WELFARE TO OTHER COUNTRIES WHICH COST TAX PAYERS BILLIONS.
I do not agree with our public assistance program we have. The least we should do is give a time limit to give out public assistance. A 3-5 year limit should be given to people to get back on their feet. If they do not get on their feet by then, then they never will.
Do you know how much a prescription for Chantix (an anti-smoking medication) costs? For the entire three months, the cost far exceeds that of a pack-a-day cigarette habit. The money for that prescription comes out of Medicaid, which also comes from the government.
And what about those dependent on alcohol? Should we demand that Medicaid stop covering the treatment of alcoholics because THAT money comes from the government, too?
How about drug abuse? Should Medicaid cease to treat drug addicts? After all, that's taxpayer money used to finance the cessation of an illegal activity.
Where is the compassion New Yorkers used to have for one another? There were some people who claimed to be "first responders" on 9/11 and scammed the system. Should we have punished everyone due to the behavior of a few? New Yorkers were outraged by the idea.
Why aren't we equally outraged by poverty?
It seems like we are once again talking about Government intervention into peoples' lives -- now we are talking about Welfare recipients using public assistance money for cigarettes, alcohol and looking to the Legislature to stop this from happening. Are we also going to let the Government tell people how to spend their Social Security money and what to do with it?? After all people think that Social Security is free money. This is a very slipperly slope that we are going down and this is just giving a green light for other governmental intervention into peoples' lives. How much more governmental control do you want in your life? I don't want or need anymore -- thank you very much. Start telling government officials what to do with their money!
I am shocked that this is even a topic of discussion.
The caller who said that the people who are on welfare WORK for the money they get and should be allowed to spend it as they see fit because they get up everyday and go to workAssist doesn't live in the same working world as I do.
I am a single, just turned 40, no children, never married and I freelance for a living. When I don't have work, I don't get ANY money. Nothing. When I did work for a company where I was staff and got laid off I collected $364.00/wk after taxes, out of that I have to pay my rent, that by the way, continues to go up every year, but the employers do not pay more, buy food, pay my utilities, etc... If I don't have internet, I can't find work. If I don't have a cell phone, I can't go on jobs or except calls during the day for other jobs. The little money I get on unemployment BARELY covers my bills... HOW ON EARTH CAN welfare recipients AFFORD 14.00 cigarettes?! Cause I sure can't on Unemployment Benefits.
What people fail to understand is that Welfare is a program! A program funded by working taxpayers. Funds given to Welfare participants is for the well-beings of themselves and their families! Lesiure activities such as alcohol and cigarettes does not promote better health. If they choose to drink and smoke it should not be funded by taxpayers.
Welfare recipients should not be able to use taxpayer money to support their vices. Who do they think they are? Politicians?
All merchants accepting EBT should be required use a supermarket-type scanner. Records of EBT purchases should be audited and compared to the merchant's inventory records. This would be smarter than paying people to skulk around bodegas looking for individual smokers and drinkers on EBT.
Yes they should have these people bring receipt for everything they buy. cuz the same way we get up to go to work they could to.there are children out there without cable cuz there parents own the money they get from welfare. Baby's wearing cheap diapers cuz parents spend it on beer.
Medicaid, if there not already doing that.