Ohio Auditor announces plan to put photo on food stamp cards
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Ohio Auditor, Dave Yost, wants to put people’s photos on food stamp cards.
Yost proposed the legislation on Feb. 8, as a way to prevent fraud in the food stamp program, which is costing Ohio $2.5 billion.
At a Statehouse news conference, Yost stated fraud accounts for millions of dollars in the program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
According to Yost, this is an effective move, but will cost tax-payer money. Yost stated it is a good investment that would “protect the integrity of the program”.
Exceptions will allow food stamp users to not adhere to the photo requirement, such as religious beliefs.
Lisa Hamlet-Fugitt, director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks, said she is hoping the photo requirement will not have a negative impact on the people who are in need of the benefits.
An audit released in June of 2016 showed the abuses of Ohio’s food stamp program, which included more than 1,800 instances of deceased people receiving aid.
When a food stamp recipient dies, the benefits continue to be received for a short time before the system is updated. The audit also showed 36 instances where recipients died prior to Jan. 1, 2014, and were issued $24,406 in benefits into 2015.
To receive food stamps, money is loaded onto Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. The 2016 audit showed one card carried a balance $20,610, and three other others had a balance that exceeded $16,000.
The most a recipient can receive for a month is $1,169, which designated for a family of eight. A total of 173 recipients had balances greater than $5,000 on their EBT cards.