From the NY Post:
Thought experiment: Victims of a Central American earthquake have no hope of eating without international food assistance. The agency at the scene fingerprints aid recipients for tracking purposes. How many victims would turn down life-sustaining food because they don’t want to be “stigmatized” by fingerprinting? None.
The chances that New Yorkers in straitened circumstances would forgo a stream of free food because of a finger-imaging requirement are equally low. New York’s food-stamp rolls have jumped 50 percent in the last three years; 1.8 million New Yorkers now use food stamps, at a cost to federal taxpayers of $3.3 billion.
The only potential recipients who might be deterred from applying are criminals with outstanding warrants against them, who worry that the police will track them down if they give the welfare agency their prints. But even that fear would be misguided. The Human Resources Administration, which runs the program, doesn’t share the prints with any other government agencies — neither the police nor federal immigration authorities. If fugitives are inhibited from eating for free at taxpayer expense, that’s a cost we can live with.
Perhaps Berg should sue the city for subjecting its employees to what he refers to as “electronic stop-and-frisk.” All city hires, from agency commissioners to janitors, have their fingerprints taken as a condition of employment. The welfare workers who administer this allegedly “punitive” food-stamp requirement have all been finger-imaged. The deterrent effect appears to be minimal. At 275,000 full-time employees, city government dwarfs all other local employers.
Quinn, The New York Times and other welfare activists imply that no one would ever try to game the welfare system. In fact, food-stamp fraud was a major problem in the Dinkins era, before the finger-imaging reform. Even with the requirement, the city discovers 1,200 to 1,500 applicants a year who are already collecting food stamps, for a total in benefits of about $5 million a year. Thousands more potential fraudsters are undoubtedly not reapplying because of the integrity measures.