House: E-Benefits Must Be Standardized
- By Colleen O'Hara
- Mar 05, 2000
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.