Ohio bill would add photo ID to food-stamp cards

The Toledo Blade | Jim Provance

COLUMBUS — State-issued electronic food-stamp cards would include photos of their primary beneficiaries under a bill that is aimed primarily at those who trade the federally funded cards for cash or drugs.

States such as Maine and Massachusetts already have moved in this direction.

“This is one of the ways that the drug industry is able to prosper,” state Sen. Matt Huffman (R., Lima) said. “When we have an opportunity that is clearly allowed under federal law, we need to step forward and do it. … When the public sees this happening, they lose confidence in government and the government program.”

The assumption is that the electronic, debitlike cards will become less valuable if the photo of the official recipient doesn’t match the person using it. Food-stamp fraud is a federal crime.

The bill, which will be introduced in the House by Rep. Tim Schaffer (R., Lancaster), is an outgrowth of an audit conducted last year by state Auditor Dave Yost and testimony he gave to a congressional committee.

The audit suggested that as much as 5 percent of the $2.5 billion Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is lost to error, although not necessarily to intentional fraud.

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