Politics

Louisiana Senator Requests State To Cut Food Stamp Recipients Who Overspent After EBT Glitch

| by Khier Casino

U.S. Sen. David Vitter called upon Louisiana’s social services office to exclude recipients of food stamps who overspent their balance when the electronic food stamp service was down in some areas of Louisiana.

The glitch in the food stamps system caused Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to not show any buying limit, resulting in Walmart stores in Springhill and Mansfield, La., being cleaned out as the stores still allowed purchases, Opposing Views reported with video earlier this month.

Vitter sent a letter Wednesday to Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and Suzy Sonnier, the Secretary of Department of Children and Family Services, asking for "aggressive action on the fraudulent events" during the recent outage of the EBT system.

“The outrageous theft and fraud at several Louisiana retailers, including at the Wal-Mart stores in Mansfield and Springhill, is completely unacceptable,” Vitter said. “Like many citizens, I am appalled and believe there should be serious consequences for what occurred; so far, I have heard of none.”

Vitter has made three recommendations for state officials:

1. Take action to ensure that no reimbursements are made to retailers who didn't follow proper protocol.

2. Disqualify any EBT beneficiary who knowingly stole groceries during the outage.

3. Work to set up a local task force to pursue prosecutions of the theft and fraud cases

The KATC TV-3 reported that the state has said there are no charges to pursue against people who use more food stamps than they were allowed because it was the store’s responsibility to limit what was purchased.

Despite the glitch, Walmart was devoted in their decision to keep letting people use the cards because it “was in the best interest” of their customers, and that there was no “material impact” on their U.S. business as a result of the overage.