Lawmakers crack down on EBT card abuse after 11Alive investigation

ATLANTA -- Strip clubs, liquor stores, and casinos -- these are just some of the places where we found money meant for needy kids was being spent.

Electronic Benefits cards, which work in ATMs or can be used like a debit card, were being cashed out in these places. The cards are loaded up with your tax dollars and are meant to being used to feed and clothe needy kids.

"That report really opened some eyes,"said State Rep Andy Welsh,(R- McDonough).

|In Depth - EBT Investigation|

Welch sponsored House Bill 138, which cracks down on potential abuse. It restricts on where the cards can be used. No gambling, no pornographic materials and no alcohol -- these are just some of the restrictions.

Any merchant caught in violation would be subject to a $250 fine and could lose the ability to accept EBT. Any person misusing the card could lose the benefits.

"The use of the money ought to go to help the child of the family, and not for these extracurricular adult activities," Welsh stated.

The bill goes further to work on technology to restrict the cards where they shouldn't be used.

"So that we can actually monitor in the future what those transaction are and block those transactions at the point of sale," Welsh said.

It was 11Alive's investigation that sparked the calls from voters and prompted Gov. Nathan Deal to investigate and Rep. Welsh to take action.

"If not for your exposure of that. I wouldn't be talking to you today," Welch added.

The bill is expected to pass the Senate and go to the Governor's desk by May.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment