AUSTIN, Texas — A Southeast Texas state representative has sponsored a bill to require names and photos on Lone Star cards.
District 21 Texas Representative Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) filed House Bill 1250 seeking to require the Teas Health and Human Service Commission to add the name and photo of each recipient to his or her Lone Star Card according to a release from Phelan's office.
The Texas Electronic Benefit Transfer system uses the Lone Star Card to provide access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program according to the release.
The legislation which will also require monitoring how often users apply for new cards, is meant to cut down on fraud committed using the Lone Star card according to the release.
Users selling their Lone Star cards and pin numbers for cash is the most common type of "food stamp fraud" according to the release.
State records show that in 2016 $17 million worth of fraud was found in 154 Texas counties the release said.
"We must make certain our most vulnerable Texans receive the food and supplies they desperately need; however, selling one's Lone Star Card for cash is unacceptable," Phelan was quoted as saying in the news release.
From a news release from the office of Texas Rep. Dade Phelan...
Representative Dade Phelan has filed HB 1250 which will require the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to add the name and photograph of the recipient or other authorized person(s) to the front of each Lone Star Card.
The Texas Electronic Benefit Transfer system uses the Lone Star Card to provide access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
A recipient or authorized person(s) on the recipient's account will be exempt from the photo requirement if they are: 65 years of age or older; younger than 19 years of age; blind; disabled; a victim of domestic violence; homeless; or issued the EBT card at a field, regional, or other local commission office.
This legislation would also require the commission to monitor the frequency with which recipients request replacements of their Lone Star Cards.
“Individuals taking advantage of taxpayer funded benefits are far too commonplace.” Phelan continued, "We must make certain our most vulnerable Texans receive the food and supplies they desperately need; however, selling one's Lone Star Card for cash is unacceptable. We need common sense safeguards to protect Texas taxpayers."
In 2016, according to state records, $17 million worth of fraud was identified in 154 Texas counties.
The most common type of food stamp fraud occurs when the Lone Star Card and pin is exchanged for cash.
HB 1250 seeks to deter fraud by addressing this issue and putting taxpayer money toward Texans who need it to feed themselves and their loved ones.