House: E-Benefits Must Be Standardized

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill requiring states'

electronic benefits transfer systems to conform to a national standard.

States rely on EBT systems to electronically deliver things such as

food stamp benefits to welfare recipients. The bill, H.R. 2709, would require

states to choose and conform to a national, uniform EBT operating system

to ensure that various state EBT systems interoperate. It still must pass

the U.S. Senate.

Currently, states use different EBT systems that do not interoperate,

leading to widespread fraud, including $32 million in food stamp abuse uncovered

in Missouri. Missouri food stamp recipients were receiving benefits in more

than one state, something that could have been prevented if the various

state systems had interoperated, according to the House Agriculture Committee.

The bill also would allow recipients to redeem their benefits in any eligible

store, regardless of the state it's located in.

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