On Oct. 12, 2013, the food stamps (Electronic Benefits Transfer or EBT) computer system went down in several states, including Louisiana.
Reportedly, Xerox, a vendor for the EBT system, experienced a power outage while conducting a routine backup test in one of the company’s locations.
Many stores turned away EBT shoppers, but not Wal-Mart stores in Springhill and Mansfield, Louisiana. Those stores allowed purchases on EBT cards even though, since the EBT system was down, the cards were not showing limits. The store managers called corporate Walmart, whose spokesman said to let the food-stampers use the cards anyway.
In other words: FREE STUFF!
What happened was not pretty. The food-stampers went into a
buying looting frenzy, stripping the stores’ shelves by the end of the day.
At 9 p.m., when the cards came back online and it was announced over the loud speaker, people just left their carts filled to overflowing in the aisles and left.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and his administration took steps late Wednesday to strip food stamp benefits from those who loaded up their shopping carts knowing they had insufficient funds in their Electronic Benefits Transfer accounts during asystem failure in October.
As a result of the temporary outage, over 12,000 transactions in Louisiana showed non-sufficient funds once the system got back online and retailers were able to process the purchases, according to The Advocate.
Under Jindal’s new directive, recipients will lose benefits for one year, two years or permanently, depending on how many prior violations they have on their record.
The Jindal administration will start with the worst cases first, according to Suzy Sonnier, secretary of the state Department of Children and Family Services.
“We must protect the program for those who receive and use their benefits appropriately according to the law,” Sonnier said in a prepared statement, according to The Advocate “We are looking at each case individually, addressing those recipients who are suspected of misrepresenting their eligibility for benefits or defrauding the system.”
Well done, Governor Jindal!
Under the POS’s presidency, the number of Americans receiving food stamps exploded. Today, one in five U.S. households are on food stamps. Worse still, we are taking two steps back for every step forward: For every new job that’s been created, two new EBT recipients (let’s call them food-stampers) are added to the food stamps dole.
Dr. Eowyn is the Editor of Fellowship of the Minds.