Lepore-Hagan: Yost Should Read Own SNAP Audit Report
Says latest food stamp legislation unfairly targets families in need

State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan’s (D-Youngstown) today objected to House Bill (HB 50), recently-introduced legislation to require photo identification of most food stamp recipients be included on their electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards. 

Last June, Auditor Dave Yost released findings of a state audit of Ohio’s food stamp program. While the audit did highlight possible cases of fraud, the actual fraudulent costs identified totaled less than the cost of the audit. Yost did not recommend requiring photo IDs for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants at that time. 

“In attempting to combat potential fraud within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, HB 50 fails to follow the recommendations detailed within the auditor’s own SNAP audit,” said Lepore-Hagan. “Ohio’s weak economy over the last six years has left many families and working poor struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table each night. Instead of unfairly targeting vulnerable Ohioans, lawmakers should focus on creating good jobs that pay a wage that can sustain a family.” 

In Ohio, 1.6 million individuals receive SNAP benefits. Under HB 50, each household member who uses the benefit card would be required to get their own cards or have their photos added to the household’s primary card. 

“Throwing up procedural hurdles like photo ID requirements will increase program costs and potentially discourage the participation of vulnerable Ohioans who rely on the program to help feed their families,” said Lepore-Hagan. 

Only two other states – Massachusetts and Maine – require photos on electronic benefit transfer cards. According to a 2015 Urban Institute report, Massachusetts' photo requirement cost more money than it saved and hindered people's ability to use benefits.

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