A proposed law in Wisconsin would require food stamp recipients to show photo ID when making purchases with their food stamps.
The lead sponsor of the bill in the state Senate is Sen. Steve Nass. The bill is meant to reduce waste, fraud and abuse in food stamp programs. However, opponents say that the bill may harm those on food stamps.
The Cap Times reported that bill requires the Wisconsin Department of Health and Services to submit the plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Food stamp recipients would be given an electronic benefit transfer card that includes a photo of the user.
Republican Rep. Jesse Kremer hopes the bill passes, saying, “Realistically, I think it could be a bipartisan bill. They just have found that these are ways they can cut down (on fraud) and make them more efficient."
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He added that Massachusetts has a similar bill in play.
Kremer said that, according to the USDA, about 1.5 percent of the $1.1 billion annual Wisconsin food stamp total goes to recipient fraud. However, it is unclear how much of that total is from buyers using other people’s cards.
Kremer conceded that using the cards requires a PIN, but explained that including a photo on the card would completely eliminate fraud.
He said, “For people that are trying to peddle these cards on the black market and social media, it would be a lot harder to peddle them if it’s got a picture of someone on it.
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A recent estimate that Kremer provided estimated that implementing the photo ID rule would cost $7 million and $2 million per year after that.
He explained, “If we find we're saving $4 or $5 million worth of fraud, it's worth it. If not, it isn't."
Scot Ross, who opposes the bill, said that the people on food stamps are already struggling enough and that this will not solve the problem of poverty.
“Shaming a mother in poverty who's trying to feed her kids isn't going to make her less poor. Basing policies on ridiculous allegations isn't going to solve any real problems," he said.
Similar bills regarding food stamps have been proposed in many states in recent months. According to the Huffington Post more than 9,000 Maine residents were removed from the food stamp program after work or volunteer requirements were imposed this year.