Luxuries You Can Buy With Your EBT Card – Bail & Lingerie Included!

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Listen, I understand that people sometimes need help. And, I, personally, have never been against the concept of food stamps, provided they are used in the way they were intended, to temporarily give a helping hand to those that need it the most. However, with 48 million Americans currently on food stamps, an all time record high in this country, and abuses of  the program running rampant, we can all surmise that it’s not just the truly needy who are using, or worse, abusing, the system.

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) cards, in the former, non-PC, term we called it food stamps, are supposed to help low income residents buy the foods they need for good health and nutrition. Households and persons apply for them on a state level, and benefits are provided on an electronic card that works like an ATM debit card does and are accepted at most grocery stores. These benefits are supposed to help people purchase healthy foods like bread, cereal, fruits, veggies, meat and dairy. Other items like prepared hot foods, pet food, soap, household goods, beer, cigarettes, and other alcoholic beverages, are not allowed to be purchased under the SNAP program.

But, according to a recent article in The Daily Caller, these rules are more like “soft guidelines” and are not strictly enforced. Over the past few years, EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards, which is the electronic system most states use to transfer welfare benefits to low income and needy families, and is also tied to the same card used for SNAP benefits, have been used to purchase some items that one would surely think would fall outside of the acceptable usage guidelines. Among these things are the following:

Fast Foods and Restaurants

Taco Bell and KFC are some of many fast food restaurants that accept EBT cards. The states of Florida, California, Arizona and Michigan allow select restaurants like Golden Corral, McDonald’s, and Subway to accept EBT cards.

If you live in Michigan, you have a lot of variety in your choices for eating out on the government dime. Feel free to spend your food stamp benefits at Church’s Chicken, KFC, McDonald’s, Subway, Grandma’s Famous Chicken, Eight Mile Pancake House, Mr. T’s BBQ, and Vito’s Pizza.

California residents can use them at Jack in the Box, Subway, El Pollo Loco, and if they feel like a nice slice, at Papa Murphy’s Pizza.

Floridians can eat out, compliments of taxpayer money, at KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Papa Murphy’s Pizza.

And, Arizona residents can stop on in for a quick bite at Golden Corral, Southern Cuisine, or Rally’s Hamburgers, or pick up a pizza at Domino’s.

Bail

Convicted felons have reported using their EBT cards for bail money. Drug dealer Kimball Clark  reportedly instructed someone to go to an ATM to withdraw money from his EBT for bail. ATM EBT use is difficult to trace, so many speculate this problem could be widespread.

Lingerie

An adult store in Louisiana, called Kiss My Lingerie, accepts EBT, and other adult stores have also been known to accept it. In the Louisiana case, officials said the store doesn’t violate the rules for EBT because of discrepancies in the law. Basically, the way this one works, is that not only is food stamp money added to the EBT card, but so are cash benefits, which can be used on anything, not just food products.

The state does not dictate how families spend that money, therefore it can technically be spent at that store. The only items “cash” benefits can not be used on are alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets, casinos and adult entertainment (so, I guess buying movies at the adult store are a no-no, but other that that, you’re good to go).

Shoes

EBT cards are accepted at some PayLess shoe stores. Again, like with the example above, many EBT cards don’t just have food stamp benefits on the accounts, but could also have welfare checks (in more PC terms cash benefits) added to them, thus they can be used at PayLess, since they are setup to accept them. By the same token, I would imagine they can be used to buy hard goods at stores like Walmart as well, not just food.

Strip Clubs

While this would seem to go against the idea of being able to use “cash benefits” for adult entertainment, last year the New York Post reported that OIA requests revealed welfare recipients were regularly making EBT withdrawals at the ATMs near and inside infamous porn shops, liquor stores, lounges and hookah parlors. Technically, it also doesn’t break the law because the “cash assistance program” (i.e. welfare) allows you to take out cash. So, if the recipient is withdrawing money at the ATM, the establishment isn’t technically accepting the card, but rather the cash the person is offering them. Easy way to skirt the law, I guess.

Lobster & Other “Luxury” Food Items

Multiple cases of this have been reported, and the lobster eating food stamp recipient who gained fame on FOX news recently jumps to mind, of course. I have also heard stories from cashiers at grocery stores, who report food stamp spenders buying expensive brands, rather than more economical brands of food, and purchasing things like expensive fish, seafood, and steaks. Technically, I suppose, it’s not breaking the law, I just wish I could afford to eat like that!

Starbucks

While you can’t use an EBT card at a corporate store, any Starbucks in a Target or grocery store is considered a grocery item, therefore feel free to purchase all the Café Vanilla Frappuccino’s you can drink out of the pocketbooks of US taxpayers, many of whom work hard to provide for their families, pay their taxes, and could not justify spending $5 on a cup of coffee. And, while you are at it, throw in a fresh baked good, like a croissant or a piece of banana nut loaf. No problem.

K-Cups

Now, I will admit I am in love with my Kuerig coffee maker. And, I am willing to dole out the extra money for K-cups, instead of traditional bulk coffee, in my preferred flavors. But, I’m also not paying for them with money taken from other hard working taxpayers. But, of course, anyone with an EBT card is free to purchase these very expensive coffee treats at the grocery store. I guess they can also buy the pricey coffee maker itself too, with the “cash benefits” portion of their food stamp card, if they get that program as well from the government.

Gourmet Bakery Cakes/Cupcakes/Baked Goods

It’s considered food. It’s not hot. So feel free to drop that $40 bakery cake in your shopping cart and pay for it with the EBT card. Me? I will have to bake my own cake, because there is no way this side of Hades, I am paying more than maybe $10 to $15, on a good day, for a store bought cake, unless it’s a wedding cake!

Cold Hard Cash

This has been going on long before EBT cards were in existence. I remember people 20 years ago selling food stamps, the kind you tore from a booklet, for pennies on the dollar. But, now with the advent of the internet, and venues like Craigslist and social media, it has just become easier for people to sell their EBT benefits for cash. This type of fraud costs the US taxpayers $750 million per year.

Marijuana

Well, not quite yet, but Colorado might become the first state to have tax payer funded pot smoking. A pot shop called Rite Greens, in Colorado, has already taken steps to officially accept EBT cards. According to the logic of store owner, “Everyone should have access to marijuana. If a user is not able to afford their buds on a limited budget then having taxpayers help cover the shortage is fair.” Say whaaaaat?

The sad fact is, our government spends over $110 billion a year on financial assistance. And, the numbers keep growing. USDA has actively tried to get more people to enroll in their food stamp and nutrition programs, including those who say they don’t even need financial assistance. They offer training material to help recruiters of the program “overcome the word no,” when trying to sign people up. And, they actively advertise to people to encourage participation, including advertising the program in foreign countries, like Mexico. This is un-sustainable for our country and the fraud will continue to grow as more people enter the system.

While food stamp benefits and cash assistance are two different things, the problem is both types of benefits are loaded onto a state issued EBT card, which functions as a debit card. The food benefits portion (SNAP) should only be used to purchase food and non-alcoholic beverages. The welfare benefits (cash benefits portion),  includes general assistance from state programs and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a program that provides cash assistance for families with dependent children. These are benefits to help cover basic needs such as housing, electricity, water, clothing for families, etc., however it is not as closely regulated as the SNAP program is. Although, I suspect that the SNAP program is not being monitored as tightly as it should be either.

The idea of using these benefits for the luxuries above is just as appalling to me, is not a responsible use of taxpayer funds, and is not in the best interest of families in need across our country. Recently, in Louisiana, welfare recipients have been banned from spending their assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons, liquor stores, strip clubs, gambling establishments, and jewelry stores, which is a step in the right direction. However, since the EBT cards can also be used to withdrawal cash, it makes me wonder how they can even possibly enforce this.


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  • Elo

    You’re going to say spending cash benefits at Payless is horrible and corrupt? I disagree with many things you’ve said here, but this is by far the most retarded thing on this post.
    Kids need new shoes, like, every year. They grow like weeds. Not to mention, different shoes every year. Sneakers for school, sandals for when it’s hot, snow boots for winter, cleats for sports if required (which they usually are, if you were not aware.) Where else do you propose these kids get their shoes? JC Penny’s? That’s even more expensive.
    Think before you speak, rather than rampaging on, too caught up in all the negative thoughts and horrible “injustices” to remember that kids need shoes, too.
    But hey, maybe you think poor kids don’t deserve shoes? What do I know.

  • dirty

    Yeah fuck you guy

  • Michael Shane Gore

    We need reform now, and drug testing

    • Robert Harrison

      For elected officials and the voters that put them into office? I concur!

  • me

    they failed to mention that Papa Murphy’s is not cooked pizza that wouldn’t be any differents than getting a frozen pizza at Fry’s. they don’t tell you that those fast food places take EBT for homeless people only, most of them are given EBT debit cards and it is already determined when they applied,and people that actually qualify for welfare their money is put on that same card that they use for the food stamps, that’s why they’re able to buy bras and underwear. Please correct me if I’m wrong

  • Jennifer

    There are so many things that really get me about people that look negatively upon people who recieve help from the state…first and foremost I can’t stand the whole “taxpayers dime” bullshit when a vast majority of people that get in in the first place WORK and are taxpayers themselves. I know a lot of people that are on welfare (including myself when I’ve gone through rough patches in life) that work their asses off so to think that everyone that gets help sits around collecting a free check is ignorant in the true sense of the word. Another important thing is that the majority of people that get anything substantial are women with children. I think the greediest of people aren’t the ones doing what they have to do to feed their kids…but the ones bitching about it! There are a few people that do nothing and collect but I guarantee you even they aren’t men who go to strip clubs to spend it because single men who sit around and do nothing are either not getting anything or hardly anything. That’s not the way it works. People that get a decent amount have children, plain and simple. Not everyone that gets a bridge card spends it on BS either and if there’s a time they get something special for their kid like a specialty birthday cake so be it, a lot of times they can’t get a lot of extras for their kids so they’re able to make them feel special with a $20-25 cake. Big deal. If I knew there was a child that didn’t get much all year I’d spend the damn money myself to get them a fun birthday cake. Birthdays are ONCE a year. Not a major splurge. Lol Everyone deserves to be treated to nice things including SHOES. The last time I checked that was a necessity for both children and adults. I personally don’t want anyone going without shoes. People that look down on this kind of stuff are so damn greedy. There’s always going to be a few people that get away with getting help when they don’t need it but the majority are people who DO. I don’t judge and when I see someone who needs something I’m the first to help in any way I can. I don’t want to see anyone suffer or go without, especially children (OR parents of the children.) A lot of people don’t even like having to ask for the help but it’s there for good reason. Bless you all that work hard and do what you have to do for yourself and your children! Good for you!! 🙂 (I do realize there’s the occasional lazy ass that’ll suck off the state and taxpayer’s money but there’s people like that in everything…the wealthiest cheat and steal too so remember not to categorize because plenty of people on assistance ARE taxpayers themselves!)

  • Rachel

    This article is very one sided and stereotypical. First of all just because someone is on food stamps doesn’t mean they are free loaders. I raise my 4 kids alone, work, and pay taxes.
    Second, this waisting tax payers money crap needs to stop. I do/pay my taxes yearly. If I want to use my EBT cards at these places (which I didn’t realize you could til recently), I have a right to.
    Third, before you say anything or write anything about people on EBT at least get your facts straight or at least get to know some people that are actually on EBT. I know people with college degrees, that depends on EBT, veterans who work hard on EBT, and single parents work hard to provide for their kids that receive EBT.
    Before you spew hate, get all the facts.

  • Bubs

    Just another Republican snob who could care less about people who need help. You should be ashamed of yourself for putting people down and judging them without knowing them. No one wants to hear your hate mongering.

  • Kris

    You act like someone who is on ‘Welfare’ hasn’t worked a job and PAID into the System themselves. I worked for many years and PAID for others to be on Welfare, I’ll be damned if I won’t use it for myself now that I am unable to work due to Health Reasons, and yes, “I don’t look sick” but what’s lying beneath my skin are things I wouldn’t even wish on my worst enemy.

  • jame gold

    Well maybe things will be fixed that you have to try them out….