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Ohio House Passes Food Stamp Fraud Bills, Despite State Estimating No Savings

U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Ohio House has passed a pair of bills requiring photos on electronic benefit cards, and checks on recipients' sources of income and immigration status.

Republican state rep. Tim Schaffer of Lancaster said retailers would be asked to report suspicious transactions with cards bearing photos of food stamp recipients. He says Ohio loses $26 million a year to that kind of fraud.

“This bill will feed those in need, not drug dealers," Schaffer says.

But Democrat state rep. Kent Smith of Euclid said enforcement would be a problem for retailers, and pointed to the state’s analysis of the cost and benefits of the bill.

“Annual estimated savings – zero dollars,” Smith said. 

According to the state analysis, the new photo ID cards would cost an estimated $1-2 million, operating costs would be another $1-2 million, but they would not save any money from fraud.

That bill passed, along with one that would require state agencies to check Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program and Medicaid recipients four times a year for immigration status, lottery winnings, and income and benefits from other states.