Louisiana Residents Who Milked SNAP Outage May Lose Food Benefits

louisiana-ebt-300x213Xerox and Walmart pointed fingers of blame at each other in the immediate aftermath of a public benefits card failure last month. Some shoppers saw that their cards showed no balance or limit and took the opportunity to strip store shelves. The administration of Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal knows where the blame really belongs, though: with the shoppers.

After all, an item with no price tag isn’t “free,” and a SNAP card outage doesn’t mean that you have unlimited money. While Walmart declined to prosecute shoppers who tried to buy carts filled with merchandise that cost far more than the real balances on their cards, the state of Louisiana will not be so gracious. They’re pursuing sanctions against people who tried to overspend.

The punishment for people who misuse SNAP cards is losing access to the program for as long as two years.

Also, we want to point out that EBT/SNAP cards are called “Louisiana Purchase” in that state, which is either hilarious or terrible.

Jindal moves to strip food stamps from abusers [The Advocate]
Jindal administration will pursue people who misused food stamps

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  1. PhillyDom says:

    In one of the cited articles, U.S. Sen. David Vitter said the shoppers “gave Louisiana and the program a real black eye.” And your cavorting with hookers didn’t, Dave?

  2. SingleMaltGeek says:

    You know, theft bothers me a lot, because I’ve worked retail and had family members own small retail establishments, and even in large chains the front-line workers are often blamed and punished for customer-related shrinkage. But something about people scooping up food reminded me of how desperate people can get when they can’t feed their kids, or they have to decide between food and replacing the clothing or footwear with big holes worn in them. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them were taking expensive items they knew they could resell, but isn’t it possible that some of them simply were trying to stop for a few weeks that coppery panic taste in their mouths that they get every time they think about how to provide food for their kid? And while that may not make it any less criminal, I think it makes it more understandable, and in the law, intent is often pivotal.

  3. CommonC3nts says:

    Also the local prosecutor should charge all those people with theft.
    They should get their snap cards canceled and be put in jail.

    • OutragedLiberal says:

      It is only a theft if Wal-Mart treats it as a theft and requests prosecution. However, Wal-Mart has chosen to take no action against the shoppers and the company is not treating it as a theft.

      The State of Louisiana did not lose any money on this snafu. Wal-Mart is taking the loss on itself.

      So I don’t understand how Louisiana can go after the shoppers’ SNAP benefits when no SNAP money was spent during the outage.

      • CommonC3nts says:

        Wrong. There is no such thing as pressing charges?
        If a prosecutor is aware of a crime, they can investigate and charge people with the crime.
        They dont need permission from the victims to prosecute for a crime.

      • CzarChasm says:

        “So I don’t understand how Louisiana can go after the shoppers’ SNAP benefits when no SNAP money was spent during the outage.”
        Because wrong is wrong, you don’t need an actual crime (although this WAS an actual crime whether or not it’s prosecuted) in order to use this opportunity to make a statement that people doing the wrong thing suffer consequences.

  4. evlpete says:

    I just hope the people they do go after all the real offenders not the person who accidentally went over the spending limit by 10 or 20 dollars

  5. SpiderWeb says:

    I don’t have a lot of patience for people who do things like this, despite knowing better. If you’re on SNAP you know how much money should be on your card, or at least what the limit is per week/month. If you know it’s not yours, and you know you can’t really afford it normally, you shouldn’t use a computer glitch (or a store’s poor management) to grab everything you can, as fast as you can, and run with it. I wouldn’t punish the entire family, but I would expect the adults to pay back the difference to SNAP.

    Hell, I once found money on the street when I was 10 and immediately spent it on candy. 10 minutes later, a smaller child was hunting up and down the street crying because she lost the money her mother trusted her with. Yep, that was my candy money. I still feel guilty to this day and wish I could tell that little girl that I’m sorry I took something that I knew did not belong to me.

  6. C0Y0TY says:

    That Wal-Mart is not the only place in Louisiana they could get food. If its EBT is out, people can go somewhere else. If it’s a widespread outage, of course it’s going to get fixed ASAP. The outage is just an excuse to loot.

  7. craftman1 says:

    I don’t know whether I should be scared or relieved that the only thing keeping certain people from looting a Walmart is the limit on their card and the computer system that verifies that limit.