Everything good in life comes along some idiots to screw everything up for people. EBT cards are meant for people who are struggling at the moment of impacted disasters such as job loss, disability, natural disasters, etc. People in Massachusetts are finding loopholes within the system to use the tax-funded benefits for living the high profile life.
When using the EBT card, it is only meant for use in the state filed. These people have used their benefits in every single state in the U.S., including the beaches of Hawaii. That’s right folks, in vacation locations, there were over 2 million EBT expenditures for 2019 on 18 separate occasions in Hawaii alone.
Other locations came up with people from Massachusetts using the EBT card in cities like Las Vegas and states like Louisiana, Florida, California, and even Alaska. Rooms in Hawaii at the Princeville Resort showed a total of $400 used off of EBT cards in one month last year. Now, those prices have doubled.
The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) does not allow EBT cards for vacation purposes. The reason these cards are used at hotels is that they are not banned. Some ATM machines across the country will allow cash withdrawals, but only Massachusetts cards can be used nationwide.
Once the money is taken out of the ATM, all of the banned stuff can be purchased, such as lottery tickets, booze, pot, tattoos, casinos, and adult entertainment. One hotel called “Paradise and Priceless” had an expenditure of $140. Records show the money came from EBT cards from the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children.
A DTA spokeswoman stated when questioned why the cards from Massachusetts are being used out of state, “The agency monitors for continuous out of state EBT card usage to help determine if someone has moved to another state.”
She continued, “DTA uses enhanced data analytics to proactively monitor Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card transactions and was the second state in the country to launch an aggressive program to stop fraud before it occurred by blocking locations where cash assistance use is prohibited.”
Reforms were added to the system in 2012, but the restrictions obviously did not go very far to stop the abuses of the system. The watchdogs of the welfare program say the DTA’s response is worthless and does not explain the luxuries added to these people’s accounts. That is not what the program was designed for, and taxpayers are paying the bill.
Most of us, as taxpayers, will never see places like Hawaii or Las Vegas. All the DTA could come up with was saying, “If an EBT card is exclusively used out of state for 45 days, a household must provide proof of current Massachusetts residence.” That does not help the situation much, especially when one thinks of how much can be done within 45 days.
State Representative Shaunna O’Connell stated, “That’s a red flag. Hawaii? That’s outrageous. How do you get there if you are on tax assistance? We shouldn’t see expenditures at five-star resorts.” She added, “If there are ongoing expenditures in Hawaii, that is a huge problem that needs to be investigated by the DTA.”
A former state inspector general and a member of the Pioneer Institute, Greg Sullivan, expressed his suspicions. “This just breeds massive doubt and cynicism. People who do that do a tremendous disservice to those who really need the money.”
He called out the agency to do their job and “share in the shame and blame for not going after questionable out-of-state uses of EBT cards, especially when taxpayers are paying for the benefits.”
Sullivan concluded, “I’ve always questioned why EBT cards were allowed to be used out of state. Seeing money spent at the ‘Best Address’ in Hawaii just shows the system lacks controls.”
Even though states control the welfare systems, this is something that President Donald Trump will be concerned about. This is the type of spending he was talking about when he worked with states to pull people off the welfare system who continuously abuse the system. These people need to go to work and get off of our tax dollars immediately.
Those who abuse the system feel they can live largely by buying steak and lobster every night. Now the news is out people are going to extravagant hotels and living better lives than the people who bust their rears every day. It’s not fair!