TANF Electronic Benefit Cards: Some States Are Restricting Certain TANF Transactions, but Challenges Remain

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office, GAO-12-535, July 20, 2012

From the summary:
Six of the 10 states reviewed by GAO took steps aimed at preventing certain Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) transactions determined to be inconsistent with the purpose of TANF, despite no federal requirement to do so at the time. Restrictions are based on selected states’ laws, executive orders, and other regulations, and generally cover certain locations or certain types of purchases such as alcohol. In some cases, states’ restrictions are broader than the new federal requirements. These restrictions vary in their degree and means of implementation, including widespread disabling of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) access at automated teller machines located at certain locations across a state, such as at casinos. The other 4 states had no restrictions because no laws, executive orders, or other regulations prohibited certain transactions based on the location of the transactions or the nature of the goods or services purchased. These states did not implement restrictions due to concerns about cost-effectiveness or technical limitations, according to state officials.

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