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Monday, June 03, 2013

Ind. Gov't. - Summer study committee to look at requiring I.D. for food stamps

Maureen Hayden, CNHI Statehouse Bureau, has the story here in the New Albany News & Tribune. Some quotes:

Here’s one thing that lawmakers looking at the idea of requiring photo IDs for food-stamp users will find out: It’s been tried in other places and, so far, gotten nowhere.

Republican legislators in at least a dozen states have, without success, pushed similar proposals: They want people enrolled the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — as the modern-day food-stamp benefit is known — to prove who they are, with a photo ID, when they use their food-stamp card.

SNAP is a federally funded program, created so poor people wouldn’t go hungry (the federal income eligibility is 130 percent of the poverty level, and benefits average about $130 a month.)

But state legislators reason they have the right to add the photo I.D. requirement because the states administer SNAP and issue the electronic benefit cards — which look like bank debit cards — on which the food stamp benefits are disbursed.

So far, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees SNAP, has turned back those efforts by letting states know it won’t waive the federal rules that require stores treat food-stamp users no different than anyone else.

The rules are in place for some reasons beyond the fact that poor people don’t always have I.D. Here’s one: Since food-stamps benefits are assigned to families, not individuals, requiring a photo ID could curb the ability of children of food-stamp card recipients to buy needed groceries.

What’s driving Republican legislators to push for the photo IDs anyway? The rapid growth of the SNAP program plus some disturbing reports of people trafficking their food-stamp cards, exchanging them for cash, drugs and guns.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 3, 2013 09:23 AM
Posted to Indiana Government