David Vitter Introduces Bill To Require Photo ID For Food Stamp Purchases
U.S. Sen. David Vitter introduced legislation Wednesday that would require those purchasing items with food stamps to present valid photo identification.
The Food Stamp Fraud Prevention and Accountability Act would, in theory, prevent the type of fraud that occurred when the program's Electronic Benefits Transfer system went down last year.
“Using a photo ID is standard in many day to day transactions, and most of those are not exclusively paid for by the taxpayer dollars,” Vitter said. “Food Stamps have more than doubled in cost since 2008 and continue to grow in an unsustainable way, and the events in Louisiana unfortunately highlight the fraud surrounding the taxpayer- funded program. My bill will restore some accountability to the program so it’s not ruined for people who use it appropriately.”
The outage of the EBT system in October allowed food stamps recipients to purchase more than was allotted on their cards. Reports from across the state--in particular in north Louisiana--depicted customers with full shopping carts being able to make transactions for far more than they otherwise would have. In some isolated cases, customers walked out of stores during the confusion.
Vitter said requiring photo identification would verify that a person is "the legal beneficiary of the EBT card."
Shortly after the EBT outage, Vitter urged officials to prosecute those who defrauded the food stamps program.