EBT cards: The great debate - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

EBT cards: The great debate

When situations like Saturday's food stamp system malfunction take place, it sheds light on a program that has many Americans divided on the effectiveness of the program.

SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamps Program, is a federal government program that provides food assistance to low-income individuals and families in the United States.

A great stigma is associated with the SNAP program which has led to many non-recipients holding a negative opinion as to how the program works and who receives the benefits.

On Saturday, October 12, Xerox, the EBT card vendor says that the company experienced a technical issue that affected food stamp recipients in 17 states.  For several hours, EBT cards were not able to be used and many shoppers were turned away. 

Then came the reports of shelves in Walmart stores in Springhill and Mansfield, LA being cleared Saturday night, when the stores allowed purchases on EBT cards even though they were not showing limits.

When the system went back online, several carts overflowing with food were left abandoned when shoppers realized their actual balance would register.  One woman was detained when she rang up a bill for more than $700 worth of food but only had a balance of $0.49 on her EBT card.

This incident showed that there are definitely opportunists who are willing to try and beat the system but in comparison to the number of recipients who were affected, it was a small percentage.

The incident led to the age-old debate over the character and circumstances of most food stamp recipients.

For example, many Americans believe that the majority of SNAP benefits go towards people who could be working.  According to the program, more than half of SNAP recipients are children or the elderly and the remaining working-age individuals, many of them are currently employed.

To the surprise of naysayers, it is reported that at least forty percent of all SNAP beneficiaries live in a household with earnings.   At the same time, it is reported that only 10% of SNAP households receive cash welfare benefits, with increasing numbers of SNAP beneficiaries obtaining their primary source of income from employment.

Here's other data gathered by the SNAP program to decipher facts from myths:

  • According to demographic data, 43% of SNAP participants are white, 33% are African-American, 19% are Hispanic, 2% are Asian, and 2% are Native American.
     
  • SNAP beneficiaries are accused of cheating the system by receiving greater benefits than would befit their income status or exchanging SNAP benefits for cash. In reality, fraud within the SNAP system is extremely low. With the introduction of the EBT cards, most opportunities for fraud have been removed, and an electronic trail now exists to facilitate the tracing abuses in the system.
     
  • SNAP benefits can be used to purchase all food products, not including: beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco; any nonfood items; vitamins and medicines; foods that will be eaten in the store; or hot foods.
     
  • For most healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 50 (without children), SNAP benefits are limited to a 3-month period, at which point the recipient will have to submit a renewal application. Most households under the SNAP program receive benefits for a 6-month period before requiring renewal. Benefit periods can range from 1 month to 3 years.

So although there are some exceptions, the data indicates that the SNAP program is helping a lot of families in need of food assistance.

Copyright 2013 WOIO. All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Rain ending tonight with some sunshine on Monday

    FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Rain ending tonight with some sunshine on Monday

    Sunday, February 25 2018 5:22 PM EST2018-02-25 22:22:20 GMT
    Nice weather expected for MondayNice weather expected for Monday
    Nice weather expected for MondayNice weather expected for Monday

    Tonight, the rain will come to an end. Particularly after midnight. There will be a few showers before then that could bring heavy rain. By first thing Monday morning, there should not be any more rain around us. Rain chances are up to 60% tonight, but will fall after midnight. Temperatures will also be cooler. Some places may see the lower 50s! That would be much closer to where we should be this time of the year. 

    More >>

    Tonight, the rain will come to an end. Particularly after midnight. There will be a few showers before then that could bring heavy rain. By first thing Monday morning, there should not be any more rain around us. Rain chances are up to 60% tonight, but will fall after midnight. Temperatures will also be cooler. Some places may see the lower 50s! That would be much closer to where we should be this time of the year. 

    More >>
  • Hundreds enjoy varieties of beers at LA Winter Beer Festival

    Hundreds enjoy varieties of beers at LA Winter Beer Festival

    Saturday, February 24 2018 9:37 PM EST2018-02-25 02:37:00 GMT
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
    All the beer one could ever want was in downtown Lake Charles Saturday.  The 4th annual Louisiana Winter Beer Festival brought in thousands of people ready to test out plenty of beer.  Beer from all over the world was in one place Saturday---downtown Lake Charles.   Nick Villaume/co-organizer "I want to highlight downtown that was really one of the reasons we started this was to be able to highlight what's going on downtown, and what a great downtown area w...More >>
    All the beer one could ever want was in downtown Lake Charles Saturday.  The 4th annual Louisiana Winter Beer Festival brought in thousands of people ready to test out plenty of beer.  Beer from all over the world was in one place Saturday---downtown Lake Charles.   Nick Villaume/co-organizer "I want to highlight downtown that was really one of the reasons we started this was to be able to highlight what's going on downtown, and what a great downtown area w...More >>
  • Silver Spurs Rodeo Club hosts youth rodeo in Sulphur

    Silver Spurs Rodeo Club hosts youth rodeo in Sulphur

    Saturday, February 24 2018 5:34 PM EST2018-02-24 22:34:48 GMT
    A 30 year tradition continues as the Silver Spurs Rodeo Club held their first youth rodeo of the year. Held at the West Cal Arena in Sulphur, kids can sign up for multiple events, including barrel, polls, stakes, and even mutton busting: where kids can ride the sheep. Edwin McCall, the Vice President of the Silver Spurs Rodeo Club, says that everyone is invited to come, watch, and enjoy the rodeo. "The neatest thing is the family environment. You know, we start out in the mornin...More >>
    A 30 year tradition continues as the Silver Spurs Rodeo Club held their first youth rodeo of the year. Held at the West Cal Arena in Sulphur, kids can sign up for multiple events, including barrel, polls, stakes, and even mutton busting: where kids can ride the sheep. Edwin McCall, the Vice President of the Silver Spurs Rodeo Club, says that everyone is invited to come, watch, and enjoy the rodeo. "The neatest thing is the family environment. You know, we start out in the mornin...More >>
Powered by Frankly