NY Senate Bill Would Help Curb Public Assistance Abuse

By Joe Gullo

Published 02/04 2014 04:44PM

Updated 02/04 2014 06:19PM

ALBANY, N.Y. - The Vermont Senate passed legislation to prohibit the use of public assistance for purchasing alcohol, tobacco products, and lottery tickets.

A press release says the legislation also prohibits the use of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards at liquor stores, casinos, or establishments providing adult-oriented entertainment.

“Abuse of public assistance benefits robs taxpayers who fund the programs,” said Senator Betty Little, a co-sponsor of the measure.  “Clearly the intention is to help someone in need pay for essential items, not buy alcohol, lottery tickets or cigarettes, but no state law exists that limits the use of benefits.  Our legislation would bring some long-needed accountability to the system and also bring the state into compliance with federal law.”

Anyone found violating the law would be disqualified from receiving public assistance benefits through either direct cash payments or electronic benefits card for one month. 

The law passed by a 53-4 vote. The bill now heads to the New York Assembly. 

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.