Lawmaker’s Bill Would Require Photo ID On EBT Cards

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Republicans are calling it one way to stop welfare fraud: It’s a bill requiring benefit cards for welfare recipients to include Photo ID. It will also double the waiting period from 30 to 60 days before a new resident gets welfare.

The bill’s author, State Senator Paul Gazelka (R-Brainerd), said the evidence is anecdotal, but that people are coming to the state for the more easily obtainable $432 month check.

“We are creating a magnet situation for welfare when we really want this to take care of the people of Minnesota,” said Gazelka. “I do want to try to prevent those coming to Minnesota from getting that benefit automatically that are reserved from Minnesotans.”

Opponents of the bill voiced their concern at the Capitol.

“For someone to say that people are coming here for $432 to live on is ridiculous,” said Debra Howzi with the Welfare Rights Committee. “It can’t happen. It’s not happening. People are living homeless. It is bad out there.”

Actual studies don’t show large migrations, from Chicago to Minneapolis for example, for welfare benefits. There is some evidence of migrant workers in northwest and southwest Minnesota getting seasonal benefits during harvest season.

Republicans want to include the new requirements in their human services funding bill.

There are legal questions about the constitutionality of some waiting limits.

More from Pat Kessler
  • RIII

    Before we destroyed the family unit with welfare churches provided the saftey net and other members of the church would often provide emploiement. All welfare has done is take moeny from responsable working people, destroy the family unit and create a bunch of kids that are little more then paychecks for their singel mothers.

    • ann

      I don’t agree with everything about welfare, and would be ok with photo IDs on the EBT cards, but, I would hope that welfare provides basic education like spelling. You could use it.

      • Matt

        Problem with putting a photo id on them who would police that. Wil lbe follow the same fines and selling beer to minors?

    • d.f. rill

      There is the problem then of what happens when your poor church has no money and them rich folks down the road won’t let you join their church. History proved that outreach was necessary. That is why the government stepped in

    • ez

      I think welfare also destroyed our ability to spell and use a computer spell checker. LOL!

      • Real Talk Snitch

        A witty observation by obviously one of our brighter citizens. I’m sure your case worker and group home leader will be proud you spelled-checked others comments on a chat board. Good job little buddy!!!

    • gordy


  • ???

    Really? Many of them do work but apparently you choose to be an ignorant person and assume they don’t. People out there work minimum wage jobs. People can’t survive in today’s world off of minimum wage. And don’t say they should go get a better education blah blah blah. Perhaps that is how it used to be, but many do have better education but can’t get a better job. Many had children before they fell on hard times and were able to support their children on their previous jobs. The economy tanked, jobs tanked, people who once did well now suffer working their hind ends off and have nothing to show for it.

    • Reality

      I have survived many years on minimum wage. I have no kids, no credit cards, no car payments because I fix it myself. I live within my means. I eat two meals a day thus I am not overweight in fact in really good shape for my 30’s. I am sick of welfare. It is unconstitutional to tax me to pay for welfare. Oh yeah Pat the reason the mass migration from Chicago is not happening anymore is they all came here in the 90’s and 2000’s. ID them I have to have a ID for a job to make a living.

      • Tommy H


      • Rocket Scientist

        Yes, we all believe a person commenting anonymously on this forum, no wait I also earn minimum wage and will will taking the Reality diet cause I heard you could lose weight, stay out of debt and blog whatever I want regardless of the truth.

    • So true

      Well said…..

  • Pat

    The bill’s author, State Senator Paul Gazelka (R-Brainerd), said the evidence is anecdotal;

    Anecdotal evidence is no evidence. Please provide proof. Rather than adding an overhead cost to the program that will benefit no one, except the company that prints the photo on the EBT card.

  • Social worker guy

    $432 were did they get that number? Im a Mental Health Social Worker in Hennepin Co. and never in my years of work have I seen a person get state General Assistance Aid/or any cash assistance for that matter of $432, even with food support. Also, I have never in my years worked with someone who came to Minnesota just for the benifits! Not saying it dosent happen just wish our “Law Makers” would listen to people who provide the direct care Our guy from Brainerd here…really are people flooding your district just to get on Welfare? Brainerd really! Photo Id requierment great idea! 60 day waiting period very bad idea. Let make it harder for the lower class and disabled great idea!
    Plus, if anyone know more about this $432.00 check that the state mails out so freely please please let me know it would really help some of my clients!

    • Gutter Rats

      It depends on how many rat babies these breeders have. There is no way you can tell us that these people didn’t come here for welfare. Sheesh! They are flocking in like crows! More like a virus!

      • gordy

        Read the article and try again.

  • Scott Funk

    Why is it every wingnut I read online has multiple spelling and factual errors? Is there something about online news boards that attracts these loons?! Whatever happened to educated moderates posting online? After all, it’s the moderates that make up the vast majority of the US population.

    • Real Talk Snitch

      Wrong. The VAST majority of the US population cannot read past an 8th grade level. The VAST majority of the US population couldnt pass a high school math standards test. The VAST majority of the US population believe when they die they are going to pack their bags and live magically in the sky will all loved ones from the past.

      The VAST marjority of the US population are indifferent morons….which is not the same as being a moderate!!

  • Jason

    Nothing wrong with checks and balances regarding people dependand on social programs. I dont like when I see cash being withdrawn from ebt to buy booze.

    • Jason

      @ me sorry …dependant. Some are more worried about spelling than content.

      • Ms P

        Still not spelled correctly… dependent

  • Seth

    employers should have to pay a fair wage and should have to give good benafits, health care, dentle and vac, and sick time.

    • Bill

      Employers should use supply and demand to decide what salary and benefits to supply. It is the most efficient way to allocate resources.

      Economics 1001

      • Beth

        Employers would rather whine that no one is applying than increase the wages & benefits to attract qualified applicants. Is that “supply and demand?”

  • Clarence

    “There are legal questions about the constitutionality of some waiting limits.”

    No there aren’t. There’s nothing about welfare in the constitution.

    There may be stupid questions from idiots who don’t know anything about the constitution, but those fools should be castigated and ridiculed.

  • Michele

    I have heard of people selling their EBT cards for quick cash, so I can understand the intent of this bill. It might actually protect the holder of the card from having it stolen, as well.

    But I don’t see how much it would cost to start this program, and who would pay for it.

    As to those here who are so quick to criticize the program and the people on it, be careful. Pride goes before a fall.

    • Mahender

      goose2goose2 on January 26, 2011 @tsport100 know much about wind turbines> ?maybe do just a few imnutes searching around, before shoot your mouth off and showing everyonewhat we already knew..that you don’t have a clue.the gen-set alone cost over 700 dollars try looking up the cost of an axial flux gen-set,then you might consider even finding out just what , exactly that is .

    • Landlord Guy

      I have several rentals. I can tell you for a fact that people do indeed move to MN for the “benefits”. People also do sell their EBT cards.

      This bill seems very reasonable.

      Supporters of welfare should want to make their funds go farther to help more people in real need.

    • Matute

      jubjubcat on February 2, 2010 you know i hit him and big kev jack ekfind him and hasnt got up since LMFAO

  • Diane

    The article stated that “Actual studies don’t show large migrations, from Chicago to Minneapolis for example, for welfare benefits.”

    Oh really? I invite any of you to come down to Century Plaza in downtown Minneapolis (where the welfare department is located) and watch the cars with Illinois licence plates drop off their “Welfare Mamas” to come in and apply for assistance. Once they get their initial entitlement money, they get back in those same cars and drive back to Chicago, only making monthly trips to Minneapolis to load their EBT cards and to get free medical care at HCMC. FACTS!!!! How do I know this? I work at Hennepin County Dept. of Human Services.

    • Really

      So Diane…you see this every month? Have you reported it to your superiors? Have done anything to address it? After all you, you work there?

    • Gutter Rats

      LOL Diane slipped and said entitlement money. As if these people are entitled?? Now that is a good one! They aren’t entitled to a damn thing!

    • Tou

      Don’t forget Indiana and Michigan as well.

  • John

    Dont know if a photo id on the ebt cards will help welfare abuse. I think the only way around this is to get rid of welfare and give jobs. But that can be a slippery slope too.

    • Jason

      @ John, What do you mean exactly ( give jobs )?

  • Hoorah

    Ricardo makes no sense.

    I’m all for this! There needs to be a way to verify people’s identity if they are getting free money. Heck, I have to verify my identity AND citizenship just to WORK for money.

  • Exp

    I have no problem with this. In fact, I believe that you should be able to show 6- 12 contiguous months of residency in the state of MN before you are even eligible for welfare. By then you should have a photo ID from our state. Proof of residency? Receipts from rent paid, utility bills with your name on them, Past pay receipts with a MN address on them.

    If your immigration church/sponsor can’t support you for that long, then you really shouldn’t be in a state that’s as expensive in cost of living as MN. If you come here without a job beforehand, don’t expect the state to limp you along. I’m not saying you can’t move here without a job, just don’t expect to be on welfare if you do.

    If you are a Minnesotan falling on hard times, then I have no problem with the state helping out. Pull out your ID and get in line.

  • Tommy H

    You should live here at least a year before welfare and only up to 2 kids would be paid for. That keeps the trash out and the breeders at bay. We just don’t want them here.

  • ez

    Umm, it’s more expensive to live in IL than MN. My family came from IL in 2000 to find better opportunities and let me tell you, it is much better living here. We have never used welfare or public assistance in MN, but in IL we did.

    On another note I do support having Id’s on EBT cards, and I tend to be more liberal than conservative. I work in a grocery store and I see people abuse their cards all the time. I REALLY hate it when I am shopping and some jerk tries to sell their card to me. I would also like to see EBT restricted to food only. Real food, the kind that supports healthy growth. No soda or cake and chips. EBT is not a right, it is emergency assistance to get you through a tough time until you can get back on your feet. Lets make it what it was meant to be.

  • Brett

    Like DUH, these cards are like credit cards, and the State KNOWS that they have been used in most of the 50 states, including HAWAII, as well as the Caribbean and the Indian casinos. It’s time to stop this taxPAYER fraud dead in it’s tracks.

  • Brett

    ANYBODY in possession of an EBT card should be willing to submit to a random DRUG TEST, PERIOD.

    • Stein

      Anyone named Brett should also pass a random drug test. Makes about the same amount of sense. Gee I wonder what the cost/effect of your program would be Brett! While you are at it, drug test everyone at the Captial. You might be surprised at what you find.

      • Jason

        No, Drug testing is not a bad idea, hard to get a job while using. Remember welfare is supposed to be temporary.

  • Gutter Rats

    Yea put a photo on them! That sure would cut down the rats from selling them! And if they get caught selling them, ban them for life, us wide, from being able to ever get assistance again

  • J

    I think welfare should only be given a certain amount of time. Not full benefits, but some assistance to help people get back on their feet. With government assistance, people should have a photo ID and do a mandatory drug test before consideration. We also need to ween out the people who are currently on welfare and who are milking the system. That way, some of the money can go to people who actually NEED it. Also the media seems to stress about the economy and the high unemployment rate. This gives some people excuses not to look for a job or have the “why bother?” attitude.

  • so true

    Diane you are so correct. I work in a Grocery Store and it’s crazy what we see. You all don’t think people are using the system your nut’s. I see more people from Illinois and other states coming for more money. I had one lady hand me 3 cards from this state and one from another. I ask ask her why and she just laughed at me. Also yes they do sell the EBT money. We watch them do it right in the store.
    Please have them use and ID.

  • Kurt Wahlstrom

    The GOP should put it on the November ballot as yet another constitutional amendment. It is already clear that they refuse to work with the Governor and prefer to dump it back to the voters. Why were they elected in the first place & why do we need them?

  • HDMC

    And at what point will they start drug testing people “on the system”? most people must pass a drug test before they can work, i believe it should be the same for the welfare system.

  • politicianssux

    Welfare issues aside, this will do no good. When was the last time that you spent several hundred dollards on a charge card and had your ID checked? At places like Target, Kohls, Cub Foods, JC Penney’s, …. I do not get carded. So do you really think at the somali market in South Minneapolis they are going to refuse guaranteed payment on a cart full of groceries? So now we4 are going to force people to either carry a picture ID or be forced to pay to put their picture on the card and then it will never be checked anyway.

    • Tou

      Create a sting operation like they do when selling alcohol or cigratttes to minor, and fine the establishment or close them down for violating the ordiance.

  • Michele Menuey Ekern

    Here is a dumb question, but why can’t EBT be run like WIC? You only get certain items & not a bunch of junk food. Standard meat, vegatables, fruits, dairy items. Seems to make more sense to me.

    • Rockfish

      Yea, dumb question. WIC if a program designed for Women, Infants Children to make sure they are receiving proper nourishment. You need to rethink this. It is hard enough for these young families to ask for nourishment without getting looks from people like you.

      • Real Talk Snitch

        Hard enough huh? But apprently not hard enough for them to get a job or two. Or not hard enough for them to practice birth control or adoption.

        Nope….they want all the benefits without taking any personal responsibility for their own actions which put them in this situation.

        And how come these people never pay back the money they took from the handouts? Used to be the safety net was just that. It was shamefull to ask for handouts…thus the motivation to work to ensure you never have to ask again. So when people had to take the handouts, they were ashamed and worked to prevent the situation from re-occuring. A prideful citizen would insist on repay-ing some of the handouts they took in an emergency. Let the churches hand out conditionless welfare…not the state.

      • Jason

        @ rockfish , getting looks frome people like me? You mean to say taking food off my familys table for themselves. I work hard for my family not for those who wont do the same for thiers. Pass this bill now.

  • Rockford

    The representative from Brainerd is correct, so many people have been flocking to the Baxter Brainerd area for welfare benefits, they had to move Paul Bunyan. Perhaps the people flocking for what he thinks are welfare benefits are, perhaps, tourists?

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