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Fighting the good fight against food stamp fraud

Legislation announced earlier this month by two Ohio legislators and Ohio Auditor David Yost could help curb food stamp fraud and aid in the battle against drug abuse.

Yost and state Rep. Tim Schaffer and state Sen. Matt Huffman propose putting photo IDs on the Ohio Access card which is used for food purchases.

Yost believes placing photo IDs on the cards would help prevent trafficking of food stamp cards, which are frequently traded for cash or drugs.

Officials are hoping 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. Yost said the food stamp fraud and administrative error rate is nearly 5 percent, or $125 million.

Store cashiers would not be required to halt the transactions on the spot when a photo ID appears fraudulent, but they could later report suspicions of fraud with the use of a hotline number on the back of the card.

Adults who have a disability, are age 60 or older, are a victim of domestic violence or have religious objections to being photographed will be exempt from the photo ID requirement, Yost said. Also, multiple photo ID cards could be issued for one account to allow other family members to shop with the card.

Yost, a former Delaware County prosecutor and a candidate for state attorney general in 2018 says besides drugs, money and guns found in drug busts, “typically you find EBT [electronic benefit transfer] cards. Drug dealers will traffic in them.”

Requiring photo IDs on the cards will initially cost taxpayers money, Yost acknowledged, but he believes it will be a good investment to protect the integrity of the program.

Protecting against food stamp fraud and helping in the fight against drug abuse sounds to us like a worthwhile use of tax dollars.

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