Food Stamp Fraud Needs to Stop So We Can Really Help the Poor

Ah, the great debate over the necessity of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, aka EBT, aka food stamps. Popular Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker has taken a challenge to live on a “food stamp budget” of $29.78 per week in response to someone tweeting him that “nutrition is not a responsibility of the government.”

Let’s set aside the fact that “thou shall pay thy neighbor’s grocery bills” is right next to “only thy authorities shall own firearms” in the constitution, and talk about the food stamp program as it exists today.

Liberals love to cry foul at those evil Republicans calling for welfare reform ... because how can we hate the poor so much? Obviously, we must want children to starve to death. Otherwise, how could we even THINK about touching SNAP?

Here’s how: More than once I’ve witnessed people at the checkout in a grocery store, carefully separating their groceries into two sections on the conveyor belt. In the first pile will be milk, eggs, cereal, and other traditionally healthy food. After that will be soda, chips, alcoholic beverages, and other junk food. They will divide it into two transactions; the first paid for with food stamps, the second with cash.

I’m sorry, but if you have money for beer, you have money for bread.

Another time I was in Maryland when I came across an awesome seaside market selling shellfish and nothing but shellfish. Lobsters, crabs, oysters, etc., all available for a price ... or food stamps. Just no. Lean turkey? OK. Lobster? No.

A common scam is to “lose” your EBT card and get a replacement. Only the card isn't lost, it’s sold on eBay or Craigslist. There is no limit for the amount of times you can do this. The agricultural department wanted to give states the right to investigate individuals who did this more than three times a year, but the proposal was voted down last summer along party lines in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

It’s estimated that food stamp fraud costs Americans $750 million each year. That’s a lot of money going to scam artists instead of families who really need the help.

The kind, charitable thing to do for poor people is to reform the system to eradicate fraud and abuse, not to let criminals continue to get away with theft.

Do you think the food stamp program needs to be overhauled?


Photo via Jenny Erikson

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Rhond... RhondaVeggie

We need to stop giving out so much. It is meant to be supplemental, not enough to buy surf and turf dinners every night. If we just gave people enough to buy healthy food instead of piles of junk we'd save a fortune.

And before people start attacking me because they are only getting $50 a month I am not talking about reducing that. That is what it should be, a little extra help. I'm talking about the people who complain about only getting $300 a month for a couple with a toddler. That is more than enough to cover a healthy diet and many do it on far less. If you want to buy processed crap then throw in your own cash.

zandh... zandhmom2

Yes, it does.  I know for a fact that my brother and his soon to be ex would trade money on their card for other items.  The standard rule is $.50 on the $1.00. 

nonmember avatar Mrs.Clark

The food stamp program definately needs an overhaul! I know that there are people out there who genuinely need the help. I don't fault those people. Everyone needs a little help sometiimes. I get angry with the people who take advantage of the system. Ur right, if one has money for beer, they have money for bread. When i was younger, i worked in grocery and came across people using food stamps all the time. They were buying things like lobster and steak, while wearing the newest Air Jorden or Steve Madden shoes. As far as the whole scam with sselling the cards, I say, if you lose it once, u get a replacement once. That's it. Maybe the government could do food stamps like lunch acccounts at schools? Essentially, the person picks where they want to do their grocery shopping. There info goes into that store's system, and the person can walk into any one of those stores and show their id. No cards or cash required. Of course stores would have to partner with the government. Just a thought i guess.

cecil... cecillesmommy

What kills me is when I see people pull out their ebt card, get all this food, while talking on their iPhone blowing their cash at atlantic city, and pile into their $60,000 SUV and drive off! And I'm not exaggerating, I've seen it

nonmember avatar megan

Yes they do need to overhauled, time and time again I see people used them and then turn around and buy sticks to smoke their pot. One day a lady came in with 1500 of food stamps on her card, she was complaining about having to pay 750 dollars on car insurance for 6 cars, and where I work she got 800 in scratch lottery, her kids were running around wild cuz she was so worried bout her lottery. When she told them to stop and get what they wanted it was in spanish. That came up totaling 125 in junk food.

silve... silverdawn99

I think people need to stop being so nosey about others

yes I get foods stamps and sometimes all i had was food stamps to make my children a birthday cake. Just because you get food stamps doesnt mean you should have to rice and beans all the time. my husband works a fulltime job plus he served in the military so he put his fair share of work in. and if i could find a job that pays more than min. wage you bet your behind i would be working with him. stop judging others. and just because there a few bad apples in the bunch doesnt mean everyone is like that, (oh if they want to be stupid and spend all of their money at once well then they dont get more and its their own fault)

Mary Fowler

Actually the milk eggs cereal separation is WIC they have to be separate.However I do agree I have a lady who came through my line at work one night at 3 am , her only two kids in tow with over 500 on food stamps asking me if I knew anyone who could hand wash her 2012 Cadillac and handing me a business card for the place she OWNED!Talking on her iPhone to her husband who was at work.So here I am have six people in my house ,no car, no phone work my butt off for 9 bucks an hr and get 300 in food stamps , makes no sense.and I am the only one who works.


Mary Fowler

Oh and I forgot the lady who was mad the snap system was down because she had to get her kids food cause her sister was watching them while she went to the Bahamas!ha ha on her though it was the week Sandy came and her trip was canceled.

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