Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Woman Fired for Refusing to Accept Food Stamps for Cigarettes


In the Obamaconomy, using EBT cards (food stamps) to purchase beer and cigarettes is apparently A-OK.  In fact, refusing to allow dead beats to use taxpayer dollars to feed their addictions may actually get you fired:

Jackie Whiton, age 65, had worked as a cashier at the Big Apple convenience store in Peterborough, N.H., for years. But then a couple of weeks ago she committed a firing offense.
She refused to allow a welfare recipient to use his EBT card to buy a pack of smokes.
And people wonder why they call Obama the food stamp president...

4 comments:

smoore123 said...

Oh for fuck’s sake James. You and the Boston Herald moron totally miss the issue here. This story has nothing to do with Obama or SNAP. This is a New Hampshire issue regarding how they dole out assistance benefits, in this case through a cash EBT card. An EBT card is linked to a bank account that can receive a bunch of different benefits with different exclusions and even child support collected by the state. It’s not exclusively for SNAP benefits. It’s not a food EBT card. The federal SNAP guidelines (http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailers/eligible.htm) specifically exclude alcohol and tobacco. But states have some control over how SNAP dollars are used so let’s check out the NH Dept. of Health and Human Services website to see what’s up. (http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dfa/foodstamps/index.htm). Well I’ll be damned. Under the section of what you cannot buy I find: any kind of beer, alcohol or wine; any type of tobacco products. This EBT card could have had any number of state administered cash benefits deposited on it. Who the hell knows, but it sure doesn’t look like SNAP dollars can be use to by cigs.

theKansasCitian said...

"Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system in the United States (and elsewhere [1]) that allows government's states benefits departments to issue money,accessible via a plastic debit card.

Common benefits (in the U.S of America) provided via EBT are typically of two general categories: Food and cash benefits. Food benefits are federally authorized benefits that can be used only to purchase food and non-alcoholic beverages. Food benefits are distributed through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp Program. Cash benefits include state general assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits and refugee benefits.

Many states merged the use of the EBT card for public-assistance welfare programs as well."

Whether specifically food benefits or not does not matter. They are welfare benefits paid for by taxpayers that are being used to buy tobacco and alcohol. Secondly, there is no way for the system to determine whether tobacco or alcohol is being purchased. The only data passed to the third-party supplier of EBT transactions is the total purchase and the PIN.

The only way to prevent those types of transactions is by having the retailer act as the regulatory authority. That is what this woman did and was fired for it.

The state law in this case says she can use her cash benefits for anything that is purchasable at any store other than liquor stores and casinos. That means it can be used to by cigarettes and alcohol.

smoore123 said...

If this isn’t about food stamps then why the hell do you use the term “food stamps” three times in like a five sentence post? And what exactly does this have to do with Obama? Do you mean to suggest that this kind of thing never happened under past presidents? I guess this isn’t a high-minded policy blog but I’d think a more interesting post would be about how the retail food lobby fights any restrictions on how public assistant dollars are spent in their stores. They certainly don't want to incur the cost of monitoring purchases or lose sales through exclusions. And the “dead beat” thing…does this apply to all people on public assistance or just the ones that smoke?

Anonymous said...

Interesting this happened in New Hampshire which has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, around 5 percent as of May 2012.

I just read a story that Portmouth, NH, 80 miles away from where this story took place, has one of the lowest rates in the nation at 4.1 percent. I don't know if Peterborough is in bad shape or not, I've never been to NH. But it does seem like that 20 something guy on welfare could have found a job in a place like NH.