* The SJ-R story, entitled “Legislature ignores proposal for photo on benefit cards,” begins…
Illinois this year again is unlikely to require photo identification on food-stamp cards.
State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, thinks that’s a mistake.
The blue, debit-like Link cards used in place of food stamps are issued to low-income families to buy food through a joint federal-state initiative called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Chapin believes some people abuse those benefits.
“The going rate for Link card benefits in my neighborhood is 50 cents on the dollar. People are selling their Link cards for cash — or worse — drugs,” Rose said. “That’s my constituents’ tax dollars being wasted. Handing a drug addict a couple hundred bucks a week to buy smack doesn’t help them, either.”
If Link cards included photos, unauthorized users wouldn’t make it past the checkout line, Rose said.
* The story is 761 words long. During which, we see why the Illinois Retail Merchants Association is opposed (longer lines and federal requirements that everybody be carded, including debit card users, if they checked IDs for Link customers) and why the photo is no panacea (caregivers’ photos wouldn’t be on the cards, so that’d be a huge problem).
And then, at the very end, after the byline contact info, is this…
Illinois would be first
New York City, Minnesota, and most recently, Maine, have applied for waivers to allow for photos to be used on public-aid cards. All have been rejected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. No states currently use photo IDs on Link cards.
In other words, even if Rose’s bill passed, the state would still not get permission from the federal government. Thanks for telling me after the end of the story.