CHENANGO COUNTY – The New York State Senate on Tuesday passed a measure that it says would crack down on the misuse of public assistance across the state.
The “Public Assistance Integrity Act,” sponsored by Senator Tom Libous, R-52nd District, intends to prohibit recipients of cash assistance from using their benefits to purchase things like alcohol, tobacco products, and lottery tickets.
The legislation would also prevent individuals who receive welfare from using their electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards to make ATM withdrawals from certain places, including liquor stores, casinos and strip clubs in New York State.
According to Senator Libous, the legislation would allow misused funds to be redirected to families that are in real need.
“Public Assistance should not be spent at liquor stores, casinos or strip clubs; but under New York State Law, it’s legal. We need to stop this abuse,” Libous said. “Every welfare dollar spent at the liquor store is money that could be going to help families get back on their feet.”