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State Puts Emergency Restrictions On Welfare Benefits

The State Department of Child and Family services has put further restrictions on how individuals who receive certain welfare assistance can spend those dollars.

DCFS secretary Suzy Sonnier says welfare recipients can no longer use their debit cards at various stores including nail salons, jewelry stores, on cruise ships and with psychic businesses.

“The FITAP program and the Kinship Care Program is to help families with their ongoing basic needs: food, shelter, clothing,” Sonnier says. “What we have done with the rule is to further clarify what they are prohibited from spending those resources on.”

In March 2013, a rule was passed where welfare recipients could no longer use their debit cards at strip clubs, casinos and liquor stores. Sonnier says they often get complaints of  people using their government assistance on services that are not necessities.

“They would prohibit those things that genuinely the public feels are not necessary basic needs but are additional things people might choose to do with their dollars,” Sonnier says.

Sonnier says this emergency rule pertains to the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program and the Kinship Care Subsidy Program, which impact 6,000 households in Louisiana.

“The rules should not effect families who currently use the program as it is intended, which is to provide for those basic food, shelter and clothing needs,” Sonnier says.

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