Skip to comments.Food Stamps Welcomed At Restaurants in California
Posted on 12/07/2010 7:48:12 PM PST by Wisconsinlady
Food Stamps Welcomed At Restaurants
NOV. 23, 2010
By KATY GRIMES
Weve known for some time that there are abuses of electronic welfare benefit (EBT) cards in California. The EBTs are accepted nearly anywhere that sells food grocery markets, convenience stores and even restaurants. Costco does not accept food stamps or EBT cards, but Trader Joes does. The cards also have a cash component; they come loaded with cash allowances in addition to the electronic benefits.
What most people dont know is that the government doesnt keep a record of what is purchased with the cards. In the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Office of Systems Integration, the state agency that oversees the EBT welfare card system, one question asks, Does the government know what I bought with my EBT card? The answer may surprise many, especially after the recent exposure of the rampant fraud using the benefit cards:
No, states the FAQ. The EBT system does not keep a record of what you buy.
In theory, the EBT cards can only be used for Any food for human consumption except hot food. According to the EBT debit card agency, EBT cards and food stamps are accepted at many different food venues:
Farmers markets 96 farmers markets in 16 counties currently accept food stamps in California.
Flea markets California is the first state in the nation to allow the use of food stamps at flea markets. Few flea markets currently participate, though the program will likely expand to those with significant food sales.
Special Programs Drug addict and alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation programs, group living arrangements, shelters for battered women and children, and public or private nonprofit homeless meal providers if authorized by USDA can purchase food on behalf of their residents; and in some cases these residential programs can redeem food stamps directly.
EBT cards can also now be used to buy seeds and plants to grow food for personal consumption.
However, pet food, alcohol and any hot food meant for immediate consumption (fast food), as well as non-food items such as soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, cigarettes, vitamins and medicines are not allowed for EBT purchase.
There are still some food stamps in use, but the majority of welfare recipients are issued EBT cards.
Concerned with the dignity of the client, In 1996, the federal government passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which mandated the replacement of coupon style food stamps with the electronic fund transfer program debit cards. In 1997, the California Electronic Benefits Transfer Act was passed as part of the CalWORKs welfare reform legislative package. But it wasnt until 2005 that the EBT program was fully implemented in California.
California touts the EBT program as a success, and claims that fraud has been greatly reduced. There is a certain ethos in government where we dont dwell on our successes; there are so many mandates from politicians and citizens that by the time we catch up to standards on one program, it is time to jump to the next, reads a report from the California Department of Social Services.
The restaurant meals program was launched to allow homeless, disabled and elderly households to purchase hot food. It is currently operating in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, Tuolumne and Santa Clara Counties.
In what would seem a contradiction to established EBT policies, the EBT Restaurant Meals Program allows eligible EBT cardholders receiving federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to purchase hot prepared foods at participating restaurants or retail stores, using their EBT cards.
California apparently didnt like the name SNAP, so the state changed the program name to CalFresh.
Delores Gant with the Los Angeles County Public Social Services explained that the restaurant meals program is a food stamp program allowing clients to use the EBT card to purchase prepared meals from participating restaurants. This program is available to the card holder, or anyone in the food stamp household who is homeless, elderly or disabled. Authorized representatives can use the EBT card as well.
The restaurants participating in the program in the five California counties are encouraged by the state to Increase your business earnings while serving your community. The reason for the restaurant program, according to Gant, is that Los Angeles County [like the other counties] has a large population of homeless, disabled and elderly food stamp households that are unable to prepare their own meals or store food.
In order to participate, Gant said that restaurants need to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Los Angeles County and become certified by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
Approximately one-half of the restaurants in the program are chains or franchises, with the others being mom and pop establishments, said Gant. We do not want just franchises so we choose mom and pop restaurants also, she added.
The EBT restaurant program seems to be a success. There are 15 pages of participating restaurants in L.A. County. And even though fast food outlets are supposed to be disallowed in the food stamp program, numerous locations for Jack in the Box, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Subway, Dominos, Pizza Hut and Popeyes are included in the listing of participating EBT restaurants.
Lucinda Serynek, Communications Director with Sacramento Countys Human Services division, said that the Los Angeles County program has good participation and is one of the best. But it is up to the county whether or not to participate in the restaurant program, she said. With budget cuts, Serynek said that many counties have opted not to participate.
The EBT card has two types of benefits: electronic-only funds as well as cash. Gant said that clients can use either the EBT card at participating restaurants, or use the cash.
CalFresh spending reports can be found on this website, broken down by month. The site includes a five-page application for CalFresh benefits and a pre-screening tool.
I’m sorry, but there is simply no waste in the California budget. The ONLY choice is to let felons out of jail.
The other day at a local market I saw a twenty-something girl bedecked in jewelry and talking on a cellphone buying soda and chips with her EBT card. I felt like saying, “hope you enjoy it, b1tch, I’m paying”... but she wouldn’t have heard me. She was too engrossed in her phone call.
So would San Francisco be discriminating against food stamp recipients if doesn’t allow them to purchase Happy Meals with their EBT cards?
They’ll make an exception to that law...
Why not? It’s a defacto second currency for the “under privileged”....
Nothing good comes from socialism.
As much as I hate to say it I think me and mine need to start thinking about getting out of here.
If a place in Texas is caught selling hot food for food stamps they would get it bad.
Apparently the government is handing out cell phones to the poor. My wife works at a nursing home and says many residents have them provided by Medicare/caid (I don’t know which).
However the food stamp card is also a Debit card
anyone can use it to get cash off it
all they need is the PIN number...
So alcohol and drugs can be bought with it...
well the cash from it...
it doesnt have to be used to feed the “hungry children”
nice racket eh ???
Of course not. The point of foodstamps isn't feeding people. It's a simple cash bribe made to look something different, for voting Democrat.
I had a similar experience, except that when the checker ran the customer’s EBT card, it had 17 cents on it. This was after the store staff had bagged about $100 worth of groceries for her. EBT customer just looked blank, said “oh,” and walked out of the store. Checker told me that there’s a phone number EBT recipients can call to check the balance on their cards, but that this nonetheless happens 3 or 4 times a day.
What bugged me the most about the incident was that the customer didn’t even act embarrassed, let alone apologize to the store employees for creating all that extra work for them.
Wasn't there something in the news about some who used the "cash component" at casinos?
I despise the waste and fraud within the food stamp program. That being said I have no problem with the elderly and certain disabled being able to buy hot food with this program.
My mother was not on food stamps but was sick with breast cancer that metastasized. She lived alone. I spent a lot of time taking her cheap, hot food because she was homebound and just got sick of eating the same old stuff and wanted something different.
For certain people hot food is a good idea but like anything else it will be abused by all.
How about the State IOUs? Are the State IOUs they are using to “pay” contractors accepted at restaurants? My wife’s company won’t get near Kali because Kali demands to pay in IOUs and get full credit for payment rendered.
So we have two currencies in the USA. Oh, and no inflation of food or energy prices either.
To 3 - I am always amazed at the total lack of shame in these people.
Pologize to White people who have a job? You have got to be kidding. I just gave them some more work to do, that’s all.
Hummph, expect me to pologize.