, Gloucester, MA

June 10, 2013

Letter: EBT IDs hardly the answer for welfare reform

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

Historically, welfare reform has been an issue that brings forth emotional reactions from even the most thoughtful people. The Times’ recent editorial (”Photo IDs a sstart on welfare reform, Tuesday, June 4) is a perfect example of this.

As noted, the recent audit uncovered $2.4 million worth of questionable public assistance benefits during the inspection. This seems like a large amount at first glance, but keep in mind that the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) oversees a budget of $1.7 billion. In other words, this “big problem” amounts to 0.0014 percent of the department’s budget.

The editorial then suggests that EBT cards require a photo ID in order to “make it harder for the heirs to cash in grandma’s EBT card.” Did it ever occur to the Times that this would also make it harder for her dedicated grandchildren to help out grandma by going grocery shopping for her in the winter when she has trouble getting out of the house? Many grandchildren do the grocery shopping for their infirm grandparents. Why would EBT beneficiaries be any different?

It would be a shame if we let our zeal to punish a few bad apples inadvertently punish those good people who need our help the most. Real reform will take time, but it is worth the wait.