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State Moves To Strip Food Stamp Benefits From Scofflaws

State Moves To Strip Food Stamp Benefits From Scofflaws

The state social services department is going to strip food stamp benefits from people who are found to have deliberately overspent their balance when the electronic food stamp service was down last month.

The Department of Children and Family Services announced Wednesday that it would seek to disqualify food stamp recipients through the state's administrative hearing process.

Several Louisiana retailers, including Wal-Mart stores in Mansfield and Springhill, allowed food stamp recipients to make unlimited purchases on Oct. 12, when the electronic card system was down and balances couldn't be checked.

DCFS says about 12,000 insufficient fund transactions were conducted when the system was down, though not all are assumed to be fraudulent.  Some retailers may have made repeated efforts to complete transactions during the computer glitch.

The department's response comes after U.S. Sen. David Vitter complained that state officials weren't aggressively pursuing food stamp fraud.

Vitter said in a statement that "the recent over-the-top theft and fraud gave Louisiana and the program a real black eye."

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