Food stamp fraud is real and must be stopped

Like Mark Furst, the CEO of the United Way of Central Maryland, I too am disturbed to know that many children are food insecure ("Loss of SNAP benefits costly to Maryland," Nov. 1). However, as a taxpayer I've watched SNAP/food stamp benefits being abused too many times to oppose the reductions. There are children who go hungry because their SNAP-recipient parent(s) sell the benefits for drugs. There are children who go hungry during the month because the card is used inefficiently to buy approved luxury foods. I've stood in line and watched as SNAP card users first purchase approved foods and then in a second purchase, spend hundreds more on incredible amounts of junk foods and others that offer little or no nutritional value.

To reduce the abuse of the SNAP card, the program should be amended to be more like WIC, which more tightly limits allowed foods and does not allow luxury food purchases. Additionally, a task force should be set up to find ways to further reduce fraud and make more efficient use of our tax dollars. Grocery store cashiers must be included in such a group. They see the abuse every day and are an incredible resource which must be tapped.

Donna Oehm, Baltimore

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