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The "get out of jail" EBT card

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A convicted drug dealer ? who cops said wanted to use cash from his taxpayer-funded EBT card to post bail ? is the new face of welfare abuse, according to tough-minded lawmakers who are pushing the reform-resistant Patrick administration for a crackdown.

Kimball Clark, 45, was locked up Friday on drug-dealing charges ? again ? when he was overheard using his one phone call to ask the person on the other end of the line to ?get my EBT card and go to the ATM and get the money to bail me out, :huh: get me outa here tonight,? according to a Boston police report.

?It?s another outrage,? said state Rep. Shaunna O?Connell (R-Taunton), a member of the EBT Task Force who criticized the group for failing to push tough restrictions on the use of the controversial cards. ?When we were on the EBT Card Commission, I fought to get bail bondsmen on that list of places where people could not use their EBT cards. They fought me on it and told me people can?t use their EBT cards in that way.?

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Well the fundamental issue here is not that the EBT card was used to pay a bondsman, but that there are situation such as these that happen. No mater how much 'reform' is done this issue would be impossible to stop, seeing as the dealers instructions were to go to an ATM, once the cash is dispensed there is not any way of tracking what the money is being used for. If the bondsman excepted the EBT card as payment, then that would be a different story.

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Well the fundamental issue here is not that the EBT card was used to pay a bondsman, but that there are situation such as these that happen. No mater how much 'reform' is done this issue would be impossible to stop, seeing as the dealers instructions were to go to an ATM, once the cash is dispensed there is not any way of tracking what the money is being used for. If the bondsman excepted the EBT card as payment, then that would be a different story.

I think the real issue here is, "why does the EBT card work at an ATM machine?" Honestly, with as much EBT fraud going on as there is already, they make EBT cards that work in ATMs now?? That totally defeats the purpose of the EBT program... If you make it ATM compatible, then of course they're just gonna take the cash.... That way they can buy candy or booze or cigs or condoms, and anything else you can't use EBT cards for.... OR they can use it to pay off bail bondsmen...... All because you state people thought to yourselves "hey, let's get with the 21st century and go digital with an already heavily abused food program. *facepalm*

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So what would be the solution to this? TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) does help lots of people, but as you said the system is already abused, the whole point of TANF is to help families who need the help. I am not sure, but I think that you can use the EBT card at any store that accepts it, I am not sure if they have any restrictions on what can be purchased. But I seem to recall that you can use the card and get cash back, so even if you can't, there is still allot of abuse.

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^ Electronic reporting of what you use your card for.

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Yeah, that would work, but the issue would be what would be done with the data that is collected, and who would be charged in overseeing such a program?

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^ I was thinking the computers would red flag inappropriate buys -- send alerts to the Welfare case workers, maybe.

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The cards could be set to only work when swiped from an authorized supermarket, in the same manner the system already knows what not to allow payment for, and they can also be set to only charge exactly what is bought and not allow cash returns

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