Arizona Legislator: Bright food-stamp cards could stem fraud
It’s not quite a scarlet letter.
But a Chandler Republican lawmaker wants the debit cards now given to food-stamp recipients to be bright safety orange. And if there’s any doubt what the card pulled out of someone’s wallet at the checkout is, that would be erased by the words “Government Food Stamp Card” stamped across it in large black print.
First-term Rep. Jeff Dial said his goal is not to stigmatize those who qualify for the aid, formally known as the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Instead, Dial said he wants to prevent fraud.
“If that does concern people that they have a bright orange card, I hope they go get a better education or better jobs and stop using that card,” he said.
Dial said the bright orange color and bold lettering would make it “very clear” what the card is. That, in turn, would direct the retailer to demand additional identification proving the person presenting the card is, in fact, the legitimate holder.
“We want people to take a very close look at that card and make sure that the person that’s using that card matches up by ID as well as by photo so we can get rid of that wasteful spending,” Dial said.
Federal rules say debit cards users cannot be singled out for “special treatment” compared with any other shopper. A bright orange card, Meissner said, could run afoul of that.
He said a requirement for retailers to ask for photo ID to compare with the name on the card definitely would violate federal anti-discrimination rules, particularly as users have their own unique personal identification number.