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Welfare in Ohio - News & Updates

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Politics Welfare in Ohio – News & Updates

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Viewing 15 posts - 76 through 90 (of 144 total)
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  • #497020

    Oak
    Participant

    First – I’d like to thank everybody for keeping this discussion as civil as possible. I think that says a lot about the people in the discussion and I’m sure Walker appreciates a civil discussion where he doesn’t have to monitor the sandbox for bad behavior.

    Couple of things that I want to discuss, some aimed at my previous posts and others that came up. First, I do take my right to privacy and unreasonable search and seizure seriously. However,I just cannot wrap my mind around the idea that I would both ask for assistance, but simultaneously say “stay out of my business”. I happily guard my privacy when it is prudent and appropriate, but understand that in order for me to gain something, I have to give something up. The audacity in my opinion exists in the “want my cake and eat it too” mentality.

    Rustbelt – I overlooked the whole “food stamps haven’t existed in 10 years” post at the beginning of this thread, but now you’ve said it twice and I have to weigh in. It came off as condescending the first time and it didn’t get better the second time you said it. The common name for food purchase assistance is food stamps. Nobody anxiously awaits their “Electronic Benefit Transfer” cards to be recharged. They wait for their food stamps to come in. Trust me – I listen to my sister (who is on food stamps) call it that. And if I know bureaucracies, they probably tried re-brand “food stamps” as EBT to try and remove the perceived social stigma around food stamps. It is what is is.

    If people don’t think that fraud happens in all government programs; it sure as hell does. But this conversation isn’t about other programs, this is about drug testing Ohio welfare recipients. Let’s keep it on that. My dad investigated welfare and food stamp fraud for years when he worked for the state. He’s told me all the games. And while the transfer from paper stamps to plastic EBT cards have saved the state money in terms of getting the benefit to the recipient, the fraud still does happen on a regular and consistent basis. I digress; this isn’t a conversation about welfare fraud, but the point-counterpoint in testing welfare recipients for drugs.

    Back on topic: I agree with Rus from Local Champions point about how do they calculate the % of people who are on benefits that commit fraud. The same question exists in how do we calculate the number of people on benefits who also use illegal drugs. There is no way to extrapolate that data without doing some type of testing and the only way to test is to have people who receive benefits. If we do nothing, then the social perception continues about the correlation between welfare and drug use. If we do test, then my cohorts on the further left complain of invasion of privacy, class warfare and stigmatization. Wherein lies the compromise? Is the status quo really the best that we can do?

    #497021

    Patch
    Participant

    Oak said:

    Back on topic: I agree with Rus from Local Champions point about how do they calculate the % of people who are on benefits that commit fraud. The same question exists in how do we calculate the number of people on benefits who also use illegal drugs. There is no way to extrapolate that data without doing some type of testing and the only way to test is to have people who receive benefits. If we do nothing, then the social perception continues about the correlation between welfare and drug use. If we do test, then my cohorts on the further left complain of invasion of privacy, class warfare and stigmatization. Wherein lies the compromise? Is the status quo really the best that we can do?

    Great points. I hadn’t thought of the potential results showing that only 5% of the recipients failed the drug test, meaning that the tests aren’t worth the costs.

    It will be interesting to see how it plays out, but I do think that the recipients should be tested.

    #497022
    rus
    rus
    Participant

    http://news.yahoo.com/govt-taking-steps-combat-food-stamp-fraud-093430632–finance.html

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Food stamp recipients are ripping off the government for millions of dollars by illegally selling their benefit cards for cash — sometimes even in the open, on eBay or Craigslist — and then asking the government for replacement cards.

    The Agriculture Department wants to curb the practice by giving states more power to investigate people who repeatedly claim to lose their benefit cards.

    It is proposing new rules Thursday that would allow states to demand formal explanations from people who seek replacement cards more than three times a year. Those who don’t comply can be denied further cards.

    “Up to this point, the state’s hands have been tied unless they absolutely suspected fraudulent activity,” said Kevin Concannon, the department’s undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services.

    #497023

    Graybeak
    Participant

    Oak said:
    And if I know bureaucracies, they probably tried re-brand “food stamps” as EBT to try and remove the perceived social stigma around food stamps. It is what is is.

    And now I hear endless PSAs talking about the new name, SNAP
    But it is the exact same thing.

    At least in the old days when I worked in the c-store world, they would work for it. Using a $1 “food coupon” to buy a 5 cent piece of gum or candy two times, and spending the $1.90 on a small bottle of Relsky brand vodka at $1.88.

    Now with these cards, it seems so much easier to defraud in bulk.

    #497024

    misskitty
    Participant

    rus said:
    http://news.yahoo.com/govt-taking-steps-combat-food-stamp-fraud-093430632–finance.html

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Food stamp recipients are ripping off the government for millions of dollars by illegally selling their benefit cards for cash — sometimes even in the open, on eBay or Craigslist — and then asking the government for replacement cards.

    The Agriculture Department wants to curb the practice by giving states more power to investigate people who repeatedly claim to lose their benefit cards.

    It is proposing new rules Thursday that would allow states to demand formal explanations from people who seek replacement cards more than three times a year. Those who don’t comply can be denied further cards.

    “Up to this point, the state’s hands have been tied unless they absolutely suspected fraudulent activity,” said Kevin Concannon, the department’s undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services.

    This is good for the dumb asses that really unbelievably sell their cards online. But what about use here in the city, no one I know sells them on-line they will just give you the card or go with you and you know I have never heard a big issue about people not returning barrowed cards. Perhaps because it is a mutual understanding that since they are helping you the same is expected in return. That is another thing really what does it say about people and how we like to bend the moral lines to suit our needs. People with no urgent need for money buy the food off the table of another because it is a deal at 1-2
    So we can drug test some and we will lose money but what about the people who are on food stamps and do not do drugs; rather sell them to make money?
    Is chipping away at such a small portion really going to make a dent?

    #497025

    rustbelt
    Participant

    But this conversation isn’t about other programs, this is about drug testing Ohio welfare recipients. Let’s keep it on that.

    No, let’s not. Because that’s exactly what ALEC (who’s gotten a version of this proposal introduced in 25+ states in the past 1-2 years) wants – to keep everyone’s focus on welfare recipients while their buddies rob us blind in far more significant and costly ways. Just like they’ve done with non-existent voter fraud & photo ID laws.

    Hard-right conservatives are not shy about their ultimate goal to end public assistance. A good start is to revive the myth that taxpayers are being robbed blind by people with receiving welfare.

    (It should also be noted Ohio Works First is spending less money on less people than at any point during *at least* the past 2 years).

    ALEC keeps plucking the strings and we keep dancing along.

    #497026

    Twixlen
    Participant

    I think the conversation inevitably involves fraud. It’s implicit in that those that want to do testing feel there is wrong-doing on behalf of the folks taking drugs. It feels much more to me to be a further effort to stigmatize the disease of addiction – but that really is another conversation.

    So – about the fraud. For the EBT/SNAP/food stamp program – what if there were a finger print associated with each card? Finger pads are relatively cheap, there are already existing programs that work with them… it seems like that could significantly lessen the ease of selling those cards for cash (and then claiming them “lost” to boot). I don’t know how sophisticated the existing system is – does it work like a bank draw, where the current balance is known to the state and holder, and is available to view online? There should also be a way to “cancel” the old card, in the event a new card is requested, just like a credit card. And, there *should* be some recourse for people that keep losing their cards.

    Another thought – what if all these benefits were tied to, instead of a separate card, but to our ID’s? Driver’s licenses, sheriff’s ID’s, etc – some places have the ability to swipe them now, for their information. But what if they had a data chip in them, and also had that fingerprint associated… it seems like that could make it much harder to fraud.

    #497027

    Oak
    Participant

    Twixlen – I don’t disagree with you, I’m all for technology to make the process more secure. I think that challenge here is to make these people responsible for their cards. The money is “free” and can easily be replaced so where is the incentive to be responsible? If they were responsible and made good choices, they wouldn’t be selling their cards or their benefits in the first place, therefore negating the need to create a more secure system.
    I think an online system where they could look at the balance would be nice, but again we get into a cost-benefit analysis. While I don’t know the exact numbers, previous research I’ve done showed that many people who are eligible to receive state/federal assistance do not have access to the internet except at public libraries, or they do not have the hard computer skills needed to operate and navigate to the appropriate resource.
    Is there incentive for the grocery stores to check the card against an ID? Probably not because would argue that checking ID’s drives up the cost of doing business. That’s the usual talking point when asking any corporate retail establishment to do anything.
    Lastly, we run into the argument of “what happens if the poor person doesn’t have ID to check against”. Many of my left leaning cohorts have said that “ID’s are too expensive, not easy to get, the poor can’t get to ID offices” etc when the voter ID legislation gets put up. So if the poor can’t get ID’s to vote, how are they going to have ID’s to check against the name on the EBT card?
    Asking people to be responsible isn’t class warfare.

    #497028
    rus
    rus
    Participant

    Oak said:

    Asking people to be responsible isn’t class warfare.

    Indeed.

    Heck, if you’re for social spending like this you should also be in favor of eliminating fraud. There’s only so much money available for anything; reducing fraud means more funds are available for those who actually need the program, rather than those who are using it to support their lifestyle.

    #497029

    DavidF
    Participant

    rustbelt said:
    But this conversation isn’t about other programs, this is about drug testing Ohio welfare recipients. Let’s keep it on that.

    No, let’s not. Because that’s exactly what ALEC (who’s gotten a version of this proposal introduced in 25+ states in the past 1-2 years) wants – to keep everyone’s focus on welfare recipients while their buddies rob us blind in far more significant and costly ways. Just like they’ve done with non-existent voter fraud & photo ID laws.

    Hard-right conservatives are not shy about their ultimate goal to end public assistance. A good start is to revive the myth that taxpayers are being robbed blind by people with receiving welfare.

    (It should also be noted Ohio Works First is spending less money on less people than at any point during *at least* the past 2 years).

    ALEC keeps plucking the strings and we keep dancing along.

    +100

    #497030

    DavidF
    Participant

    Oak said:
    Twixlen – I don’t disagree with you, I’m all for technology to make the process more secure. I think that challenge here is to make these people responsible for their cards. The money is “free” and can easily be replaced so where is the incentive to be responsible? If they were responsible and made good choices, they wouldn’t be selling their cards or their benefits in the first place, therefore negating the need to create a more secure system.
    I think an online system where they could look at the balance would be nice, but again we get into a cost-benefit analysis. While I don’t know the exact numbers, previous research I’ve done showed that many people who are eligible to receive state/federal assistance do not have access to the internet except at public libraries, or they do not have the hard computer skills needed to operate and navigate to the appropriate resource.
    Is there incentive for the grocery stores to check the card against an ID? Probably not because would argue that checking ID’s drives up the cost of doing business. That’s the usual talking point when asking any corporate retail establishment to do anything.
    Lastly, we run into the argument of “what happens if the poor person doesn’t have ID to check against”. Many of my left leaning cohorts have said that “ID’s are too expensive, not easy to get, the poor can’t get to ID offices” etc when the voter ID legislation gets put up. So if the poor can’t get ID’s to vote, how are they going to have ID’s to check against the name on the EBT card?
    Asking people to be responsible isn’t class warfare.

    Asking only poor people to be is.

    Again, it’s low hanging fruit for little to no return. No fiscal logic to it. Put the equivalent money into extra auditors for government contracts and I guarantee you’d see a positive return. But of course poor people don’t write huge checks to congress.

    And could we please stop discussing this as though the intent was to actually solve a problem? It isn’t, it won’t, and everyone behind it knows that.

    #497031

    Twixlen
    Participant

    Oak said:
    Twixlen – I don’t disagree with you, I’m all for technology to make the process more secure. I think that challenge here is to make these people responsible for their cards. The money is “free” and can easily be replaced so where is the incentive to be responsible? If they were responsible and made good choices, they wouldn’t be selling their cards or their benefits in the first place, therefore negating the need to create a more secure system.
    I think an online system where they could look at the balance would be nice, but again we get into a cost-benefit analysis. While I don’t know the exact numbers, previous research I’ve done showed that many people who are eligible to receive state/federal assistance do not have access to the internet except at public libraries, or they do not have the hard computer skills needed to operate and navigate to the appropriate resource.
    Is there incentive for the grocery stores to check the card against an ID? Probably not because would argue that checking ID’s drives up the cost of doing business. That’s the usual talking point when asking any corporate retail establishment to do anything.
    Lastly, we run into the argument of “what happens if the poor person doesn’t have ID to check against”. Many of my left leaning cohorts have said that “ID’s are too expensive, not easy to get, the poor can’t get to ID offices” etc when the voter ID legislation gets put up. So if the poor can’t get ID’s to vote, how are they going to have ID’s to check against the name on the EBT card?
    Asking people to be responsible isn’t class warfare.

    I was thinking about the ID from the perspective that lots of folks on assistance have a hard time obtaining IDs. What if that were part of the process to getting the assistance – the ID is issued, and all bennies tied to it. As for having a clerk check ID’s, that’s all about incentive, like anything. If a store understand that if it allows EBT/SNAP/food stamp users to defraud them (by using stolen/sold cards), they’ll lose their ability to sell to that client base, they’ll make it a policy to ID. It’s the same with liquor – there are rules.

    #497032

    Twixlen
    Participant

    DavidF said:
    Again, it’s low hanging fruit for little to no return. No fiscal logic to it. Put the equivalent money into extra auditors for government contracts and I guarantee you’d see a positive return. But of course poor people don’t write huge checks to congress.

    And could we please stop discussing this as though the intent was to actually solve a problem? It isn’t, it won’t, and everyone behind it knows that.

    That is really the cusp. It’s political pandering to the “hard-working ‘Mericans” who think everyone should pull themselves up by their bootstraps and if they do drugs, it’s because they’re lazy & incompetant and not deserving our help.

    It makes them feel better about their own choices, David. How dare you take that away from them!!

    #497033
    rus
    rus
    Participant

    DavidF said:

    And could we please stop discussing this as though the intent was to actually solve a problem? It isn’t, it won’t, and everyone behind it knows that.

    Bullshit.

    Taking “no one calls it food stamps” at face value for the sake of argument, if there really is an evil right wing conspiracy to eliminate such social spending ( just writing that I feel like I should be petting a bald cat ) what better way to do so than let fraud as has been noted in this thread continue?

    Why do you equate eliminating or reducing fraud with “not fixing a problem”?

    #497034

    pedex
    Participant

    rus said:
    Bullshit.

    Taking “no one calls it food stamps” at face value for the sake of argument, if there really is an evil right wing conspiracy to eliminate such social spending ( just writing that I feel like I should be petting a bald cat ) what better way to do so than let fraud as has been noted in this thread continue?

    Why do you equate eliminating or reducing fraud with “not fixing a problem”?

    what if fixing the problem costs more than the problem you are fixing?

    on the problem scale welfare fraud is pretty small

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