Covering Louisiana

Oct 30, 2013 6:12 PM by Letitia Walker

Update: State agency looking to penalize those who went over food stamp limit

After Senator David Vitter asked for an investigation and penalties for those who abused the food stamps system during an outage, the state agency responsible has replied. For the first time they are saying they do want to penalize those who took advantage of the system during the glitch on October 12th.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Secretary, Suzy Sonnier, says they've already begun to address Vitter's concerns.

1) The state agency told stores that did not follow the policy of receiving prior-authorization for purchases over $50, they would be responsible for any overages. The company responsible for the outage, Xerox, would was responsible for guaranteeing that $50 limit if authorization as given.

2) The state agency also requested authorization from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), which administers the food stamps program, to sanction all people who knowingly used their EBT card to purchase food over the amount of their approved benefit levels. Louisiana's current SNAP policy allows a one year sanction from the program for a first offense, a 24 month suspension for a second offense and a permanent disqualification for a third offense. So far, they have not received approval to issue the sanctions, but they do expect a decision tomorrow.

3) The state agency also says they will cooperate with local law enforcement agencies if retailers seek to pursue charges against those who went over their limit.

 

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