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BayCityProgressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 09:26 AM
Original message
Question regarding Bridge Card (Food Stamps)
Okay, big disclaimer ahead of this post because I am sure I will be charged with being a freeper. Most people here have seen my posts and know I am about as left-wing as one can get. I also know nothing about these programs so please confirm this or tell me I am wrong. My partner and I were out for dinner last night and he recently got a new job as a manager at Walgreens. He was telling me about his day and was angry about a particular woman who came in to his store. Apparently this woman showed up dressed to the 9's with a brand new beautiful car. She charged a $1 2 liter of pop on a bridge card so that she could get the rest back in cash and when she opened her wallet it was full of cash. My partner is a liberal and never voted GOP in his life but was very angry about this and if true I would be too. Is it really true that you can use a bridge card to get cash!? Shouldn't this just be used for food? Also, how the hell does this woman qualify for something like this? I work at AT&T with a girl who makes 40k a year, has no other kids and when she had her first one this yr she got WIC somehow.. how are these people doing this? I know that corporate welfare is worse BUT this is why many people oppose us on the issues and hate welfare programs. Is there any way we can stop this? Shouldn't bridge cards just be used for food? It just seeme dwrong to me, but maybe I am not seeing a certain important point of view here...
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Epiphany4z Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 09:30 AM
Response to Original message
1. I don't know
I remember when t hey had paper stamps people did that all the time but I thought the card was supposed to fix that...you is simply charged just like a debit card I thought.
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panader0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 09:30 AM
Response to Original message
2. I've seen that kind of thing many times.
Then the food stamp people can take the cash and buy alcohol or dope.
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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. When have you seen a USDA debit card return cash?
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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 09:35 AM
Response to Original message
3. You can get info at the USDA website. The cards don't return cash. They are
like a debit card. If you spend $15.22 on food, that is electronically deducted from your account. No cash involved. So I think your partner is hitting the Walgreen till and smoking crack, but that's just my opinion.

Reagan used the "welfare cadillac queen" image very effectively in the 80's. It was a myth, just as your story sounds like a myth, yet myths hold sway over many people.
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rasputin1952 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 09:39 AM
Response to Original message
4. Since we have no idea what the cash was for, it is probably not a good
idea to condemn this woman out of hand. Perhaps it was rent money, or she was going to pay the electric bill; not all people who receive FS or other aid are corrupt. As for the $40k woman, WIC can be gotten relatively easily for single women, and is a good program.

I don't know the circumstnces behind this woman, so I'd find it tough to condemn her for using FS's, but if she is abusing them, she needs to charged w/fraud, something that is pretty tough and up to DSHS to persue.

I for one, w/o evidence of fraud would not turn her in.
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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 09:44 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. USDA Debit cards don't return cash. Walgreen's committed fraud if they did,
and you should turn them in.

It's a bogus story, IMHO.

Check out the USDA website. You can get actual factual information there on how he program works.
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rasputin1952 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. If she got cash, it was less than a dollar, and I look at it more as a
mistake than anything else. Could be that the individual in question didn't know the system quite well enough...in either case, I'm not going to call fraud unless there were other purchases by this individual that had the same MO. I wasn't there, so I'm not sure of all of the details. If the person involved wishes to call the fraud hotline, I don't have a problem w/that, but I knowq that records of what was purchased are in the store and a computer at whatever location the state uses to monitor the activity and follow purchase patterns, just like a bank keeps track of CC/DC card accounts.

I'm not going to accuse the OP of deliberately posting untruths either. There may well be a case here, but I am lacking some facts to make a judgement call.
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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. Walgreens committed fraud if the story is correct, not the shopper.
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BayCityProgressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. I have no way of knowing what her money
was for. Thanks for the responses. My partner supports welfare programs and is pretty liberal about these things so I just ofund it doubtful he would lie about being able to get cash back. i will take a look at the suggested website and see what it says. My aunt was a single college aged mom and received all kinds of welfare, school and rent assistance. She is now the director of our county's juvenille facility. I am all for social programs..I just was appalled that I had heard you can trade them for cash!
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rasputin1952 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 10:13 AM
Response to Reply #7
17. I'm glad to hear your aunt did so well...the whole idea behind
these programs is to give a helping hand to reduce the burden of financial duress.

To see that someone came out on top is always a justification for such programs...one never knows when they might become destitute and need to use a social program. I support them as a stepping stones to advancement when one needs them to alleviate the fear of being hungry/homeless etc.
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eShirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 09:47 AM
Response to Original message
8. There should be no cash refund on a food stamp card
any unused balance remains on the card as ... unused balance.
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BayCityProgressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. he is still training for his position
is it POSSIBLE to give cash if a store wanted to? Perhaps the people there are unaware of the law or are showing him something incorrectly?
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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 10:00 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. It's illegal to return cash. If they rang up a fake purchase then they could take the
money from the till.

In other words, you pretend to buy a steak, the store rings up the steak, but the steak doesn't leave the store, the mnoney is debited from the account to the stores account, and someone gets cash.

That's a crime.

Other than that, there is no cash involved at all in any way with a bridge card.

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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 09:55 AM
Response to Original message
11. If your partners story is true, it's evidence of fraud by Walgreens, and your partner as
manager might be implicated.

From your description of events, Walgreens defrauded the federal food stamp program. I'm not sure if that's a misdemeanor or a felony, but your partner may want to ask an attorney about it.

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BayCityProgressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. Thanks I will let him know
it just seemed strange to me because I thought to myself "why isn't the right wing screaming about this?" Walgreens currently has a racism case against them and also a case agaisnt them with the NLRB. So it is very possible that he is being shown an incorrect procedure.
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BayCityProgressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #11
15. Thanks I am going to print off some of
these USDA pages and give them to him to take to work. he was floored by it, so i think the manager training him is showing him an incorrect procedure. he was just placed in this store and the store had massive amounts of theft..so it could be a real issue. Thanks for not skewering me and giving me helpful info!
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wakemeupwhenitsover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
16. First, cash was never given back. If a person getting food stamps
had change coming then it was given in more food stamps. Only small amounts would be given in change.

Now it's done with a debit card & the amount is deducted. So I would say that your partner is swiping something off the pharmacy shelf. :shrug:

(I won't even get into the fact that food stamps are temporary & recipients could have a nice car/clothes/jewelry etc & just need a bit of help. Are they suppose to sell everything? Could they?)
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BayCityProgressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. tHE STRANGE THING IS
AT THE FIRST STORE HE BEGAN TRAINING AT, HE WAS GIVEN SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS ON WHAT PEOPLE COULD AND COULDN'T BUY WITH IT. aT THIS STORE THE MANAGER TOLD HIM HE COULD GIVE CASH BACK. MAYBE THESE PEOPLE REALLY NEED TO BE EDUCATE DON THIS..OR MAYBE IT IS INTENTIONAL I DON'T KNOW THEM WELL ENOUGH TO KNOW THEIR MOTIVATION.

Edit-sorry for caps!
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wakemeupwhenitsover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. How can you get cash back on a food card?
I can get cash back on my bank debit card, but I seriously doubt that a food debit card would be set up like that. That would mean that the state authorized cash back.

Also, why are you calling it a bridge card? I thought in Wisconsin they're called Quest cards.
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mountainvue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
20. Why do you have a problem with a single mother making
40k a year getting WIC? Do you even know what WIC is?
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wakemeupwhenitsover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. I think that that is one excellent program.
Years ago a young woman I worked with was getting assistance through WIC. I'm glad it's still available.
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OregonBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 10:45 AM
Response to Original message
22. Oops, double post.
Edited on Fri Apr-13-07 10:49 AM by OregonBlue
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OregonBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 10:47 AM
Response to Original message
23. I believe that food stamps and cash assistance are now put on one government card.
They can use the card for both things and so she could buy something with her card and get cash back. It would not come out of the food stamps but out of the cash portion. The swiper at the counter has a button for either food stamps or cash. They are separate accounts on the same card. Cash cannot be taken from the food stamp portion, only the EBT? portion. Apparently, banks charge $2.00 transaction fee for taking money out on this card so many people just get cash back when they buy something.

I also agree that you shouldn't jump to conclusions about the cash in her wallet. Since many people on assistance don't have credit, they often pay bills by buying money orders.

He should ask for clarification from the store manager.
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BayCityProgressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #23
25. thanks
that would make sense if that is how it is done. Also, about the above posts regarding WIC..yes I know what it is and I support it. I would be fine with it if every woman making 40k got it but she was bragging that she wasn't supposed to and somehow did..she kept saying " I am gonna get my tax money back one way or the other". So yeah , I am against fraud. As for her car and cash in walletI agree, I was in the wrong there. I was jumping to conclusions. If I ever lost my job I wouldn't want to have to give up everything to get some help either..so that is something I was totally wrong to say. Why do people get a "food stamp" portion and a cash portion? Just wondering..not tryign to criticize it.
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wakemeupwhenitsover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 11:07 AM
Response to Reply #25
26. I'm no expert, but I think the cash portion is for rent, utilities, etc.
There are different qualifications for food stamps & for rent, etc. money. To get rent money, one has to have children. Low income people without children are eligible for food stamps, but to my knowledge, are not eligible for rent, etc assistance. There's Section 8 housing for (I think) low income/disabled singles, but it's reduced rent, not a check.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-13-07 10:49 AM
Response to Original message
24. What you describe might be illegal in California, I am not sure
Edited on Fri Apr-13-07 10:52 AM by slackmaster
Here you can use food stamps only to buy food. Your mileage may vary.

I am reluctant to pass judgement when I see someone using food stamps to buy what appear to be luxury items. It may be that the person is doing an annual splurge to celebrate a wedding anniversary or a child's birthday.

You also can't be sure the car was hers. However, if as some have suggested she was getting cash benefits on the card AND the car belonged to her, she might be in violation of something - Here you can't apply for some kinds of cash benefits if you own a car worth more than $2,000.

OTOH I drove a friend to a welfare office recently and was stunned to see a family of Somalis showing up in a brand-new Mercedes-Benz to apply for benefits.

Fraud is common, but just because something doesn't look right it doesn't necessarily indicate fraud.
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