Louisiana Goes After Food Stamp Abusers

Leah Barkoukis
Posted: Nov 08, 2013 7:36 PM
Louisiana Goes After Food Stamp Abusers

Last month a temporary glitch in Louisiana’s EBT system allowed some card recipients to shop till they dropped at a number of local Walmarts. That’s right, for several hours the limit on the cards disappeared, letting users buy steal anything and as much as they wanted.

Those that abused the system and took advantage of the major glitch are not walking away scot-free, however.

The Jindal administration vowed late Wednesday to strip food stamp benefitsfrom recipients who misled retailers about their spending limits during a technical malfunction.

Recipients who walked away with groceries that exceeded their food stamp balances face losing their benefits for a year, two years or permanently depending on how many prior infractions they have. Exactly how many stand to be punished is unclear. More than 12,000 transactions generated insufficient funds notices once the electronic benefit transfer, or EBT, system came back online Oct. 12 and retailers could process stored transactions.

The Jindal administration will target the worst offenders first, said Suzy Sonnier, secretary of the state Department of Children and Family Services.

“We must protect the program for those who receive and use their benefits appropriately according to the law. We are looking at each case individually, addressing those recipients who are suspected of misrepresenting their eligibility for benefits or defrauding the system,” she said in a statement.