Feb 13, 2012 11:31 PM by Maddie Garrett

Proposed Bill Restricts Use of Welfare Money

Louisiana lawmakers are taking a closer look at how people can spend their welfare dollars. Representative Cameron Henry is proposing House Bill 95, which would restrict how people can use their Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program benefits. The bill would prohibit using the FITAP card in liquor stores, gaming establishments and sexually oriented business. HB 95 would also prohibit FITAP cards from being used to withdraw cash from an ATM or retailer.

KATC talked to several Acadiana residents to get their opinions.

"I think it's probably a good idea because welfare is not really supposed to be going to that sort of thing, it's about the welfare of the people and the family," said Christine Bochereau.

"I think they should absolutely change it," agreed Bernard Lemoine. "A lot of people really need it, they want it for the right reasons, and then some abuse it."

Most people agreed with the proposed bill, for one reason or another

"It needs to be stricter on how they use their card," said Vanessa May. "If you want to drink and you want to gamble then you need to get a job."

The LA Department of Child and Family Services distributes and overseese the FITAP benefits. Trey Williams, a DCFS Spokesperson, said in the last six months, out of 300,000 transactions only five instances were questionable.

"Overall we think the vast majority of the people in the program are utilizing the benefits in how they're intended to be used which is to help meet the monthly bills of those individuals," said Williams.

The bill will now go to the House Health and Welfare Committee, which oversees welfare issues.



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