Covering Louisiana

Jan 15, 2014 3:41 PM by Letitia Walker

Vitter introduces legislation to require ID with food stamp purchases

U.S. Sen. David Vitter has introduced the Food Stamp Fraud Prevention and Accountability Act that would require those getting assistance to show their ID when using the card.

Vitter cites recent incidents in northwest Louisiana which exposed flaws with the SNAP program's Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. You'll recall in October an outage allowed some recipients to purchase more than they were allotted on their SNAP cards. There were also reports that some customers bypassed the checking lines completely and walked out with full carts during the confusion. The state later said they would penalize those who took advantage of the system.

"Using a photo ID is standard in many day to day transactions, and most of those are not exclusively paid for by the taxpayer dollars," Vitter said. "Food Stamps have more than doubled in cost since 2008 and continue to grow in an unsustainable way, and the events in Louisiana unfortunately highlight the fraud surrounding the taxpayer- funded program. My bill will restore some accountability to the program so it's not ruined for people who use it appropriately."

Vitter says a requirement to provide photo ID would verify that a person is the legal beneficiary of the EBT card. He says anyone caught attempting to illegally use another recipient's EBT card should be banned from the program.

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