A Jersey lawmaker wants to crack down on welfare abuse.


Assemblyman Gary Chiusano is working on legislation that would prohibit welfare recipients from using their welfare debit cards to withdraw cash from ATM's.

He says when people are in need - and they need help with food and housing and clothing, all of us have somewhat of an obligation to help them out - but that doesn't mean "we are obligated to support jewelry , tattoos, gambling - there are cases where people have taken cruises - it goes beyond what they need to survive…if welfare recipients are spending more money on liquor, gambling, cigarettes, lottery tickets - if they're spending more money than I do, then why do I have to support that?... If they want the other things - well then they should use their own money, not taxpayer's money."

He says he's been working with members of the banking.

"We need to see if there's a way of limiting the ability to use these cards at ATM machines…The advocates for the poor say - oh you can't crack down on everybody - we don't want to crack down on everybody, we want to crack down on those who are committing the fraud. "

Chiusano adds, "If all these cards are to be used for is food - the necessities - then there's no reason why they should need cash - so there is no merchant who should run the cards through for cash- and the penalties need to be severe…when I bring this up with my friends on the other side of the isle (democrats) they're always quick to say - well what about Wall Street fraud? Well frankly I don't control Wall Street…We need to protect those who really need the benefits, from those folks who are fraudulently obtaining them."

Under a new federal law, all states must prevent the use of cash benefits in liquor stores, gambling establishments and adult entertainment businesses by 2014. States that fail to establish policies face cuts in federal support.


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