GOP senator wants to require photo IDs for food stamp purchases

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The federal government could prevent food stamp fraud by requiring Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program beneficiaries to show a photo ID when purchasing items with their benefits, according to Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter.

Moved by the October outage of the Electronic Benefits Transfer system in over a dozen states (including Louisiana) — which resulted in many EBT cards showing no credit limits and some beneficiaries reacting by purchasing well beyond their limits — Vitter introduced a bill Wednesday to require food stamp recipients to show a photo ID when making SNAP purchases.

“Food Stamps have more than doubled in cost since 2008 and continue to grow in an unsustainable way, and the events in Louisiana unfortunately highlight the fraud surrounding the taxpayer- funded program,” Vitter said in a statement.

The Louisiana Republican’s “Food Stamp Fraud Prevention and Accountability Act” would require a photo ID when making purchases; anyone caught attempting to use another person’s benefit card would be banned from the process.

“Using a photo ID is standard in many day to day transactions, and most of those are not exclusively paid for by the taxpayer dollars,” Vitter added.

According to Vitter’s office, some states already have the option to require a photograph of at least one member of a SNAP beneficiary household, however none enforce it.

The most recent Agriculture Department SNAP quality control report found that in FY 2012 the payment error rate was 3.42 percent, of which 2.77 percent were overpayments.

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