From the NY Post:
Legislation is being introduced in the state Senate that would bar welfare recipients from using their public-assistance money to buy booze or cigarettes or spend money on lottery tickets or in casinos, The Post has learned.
The proposed law also would impose a ban on welfare spending on adult-oriented entertainment, such as strip clubs.
“Public assistance is designed to help needy families provide for their children until they can transition back to the workforce and become self-sufficient,” said state Sen. Thomas Libous (R-Binghamton), the deputy majority leader and bill sponsor.
“This common-sense legislation would protect hardworking taxpayers from abuse while ensuring that individuals receiving welfare benefits continue to get the temporary assistance they need and deserve,” he said.
Recipients who violate the ban would lose benefits for one month for a first-time offense and three months for a second. A third strike would permanently boot the offender from the program.
Welfare recipients receive both food stamps and cash assistance for other needs — to help defray the cost of housing, utility expenses and clothing — under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program.
A family of four could receive a maximum $668 in monthly food-stamp benefits plus $433 in cash- assistance benefits.
People who qualify for welfare receive an “electronic benefit transfer” debit card to access their cash assistance.
Currently, recipients can use the card to buy cigarettes and booze or spend an afternoon at the racetrack or strip club.
The Libous measure would specifically bar recipients from using their EBT cards to make withdrawals from ATMs in liquor stores, betting parlors and sex clubs.