Skip to comments.Clerk says she was fired over EBT cards
Posted on 06/27/2012 2:56:07 PM PDT by matt04
Jackie Whiton, a six-year employee of the Big Apple, said she was fired after a dispute with her boss over accepting EBT cards as payment for cigarettes.
I gave two weeks' notice and tried to bow out gracefully," said Whiton, of Antrim. "But the next day, I was fired."
Whiton said she declined to accept an EBT card as payment for a package of cigarettes. The Electronic Benefit Transfer cards are used by state benefits departments to issue cash to recipients, and they can be used like debit cards.
Whiton said her boss told her she can't refuse to sell beer and cigarettes to customers, because, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, EBT or state assistance money can be used to purchase tobacco products.
DHHS said 14,000 households received monthly cash benefits from the state in the past year, compared to more than 56,000 households that received food stamp assistance, which is restricted by federal law from being used on items such as cigarettes.
The state has distributed more than $36 million in cash benefits this year. Smith said the EBT system saved the state millions of dollars in the first year it was enacted. Previously, recipients were issued checks, which could also be cashed and spent on anything.
"I just feel the taxpayer should be aware of where their money is going," Whiton said.
(Excerpt) Read more at wcvb.com ...
Time to get rid of cash benefits.
While I'm not familiar with every state's rules, it seems most unlikely that ANY state would allow food stamps to be used to purchase tobacco products. However, if the EBT card has cash assistance rather than food stamps, it should not matter what is purchased, it's a cash account. If the employee doesn't know the difference, the employee needs training, not termination.
Hey, the gummint needs that $1 a pack or whatever tax on them smokes! Oh,wait...gumming EBT paying tax to the gummint to pay for more entitlement programs...what’s wrong with this picture?
Remember the Commodity Program? Made too much sense. Then the grocers saw a lot of money slipping by them. Next thing you know the GD debit card is good anywhere for anything.
I remember Food Stamps were specifically for FOOD. We had a little country store lady who also happened to be a bootlegger, she still had to be real careful to make sure the charges all looked like food. The holder’s people who stayed nearby and shopped there would daily buy only enough to eat that day because the bucks that “stayed” with em would eat up all the chillins vittles.
The only hesitation I would have on that is “how do you pay for diapers / wipes / soap / toothpaste”? Or should someone on EBT get a ration of that every month?
I have to agree with her boss. This is a call for the MA legislature to make, not a clerk at a convenience store. Most states have addressed it, and you cannot buy cigarettes or alcohol, but apparently MA has not.