Proposed Welfare Rule Targets Cigarettes, Alcohol, and Other Fun Things

A bill proposed in the State Senate would ban New Yorkers from spending any welfare assistance on wicked vices like alcohol, cigarettes, lottery tickets, or betting, in accordance with a federal law that requires such rules by 2014. “This common-sense legislation would protect hardworking taxpayers from abuse while ensuring that individuals receiving welfare benefits continue to get the temporary assistance they need and deserve,” said the bill’s sponsor, Republican Senator Thomas Libous. Rule-breakers would face a three-strike system that comes with a one-month suspension for the first offense, three months for the next one, and then removal from the program. How to actually enforce it is another question.

The Post reports:

A family of four could receive a maximum $668 in monthly food-stamp benefits plus $433 in cash- assistance benefits. People who qualify for welfare receive an “electronic benefit transfer” debit card to access their cash assistance.

The Libous measure would specifically bar recipients from using their EBT cards to make withdrawals from ATMs in liquor stores, betting parlors and sex clubs.

As for the ATM down the street, well … surely they’ll think of something. And more important: What about buying big sodas?

State Welfare Rule Targets Cigarettes, Alcohol