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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

FOOD BOUGHT WITH FOOD STAMPS BEING SHIPPED OVERSEAS

Posted by on Jul. 21, 2013 at 7:50 AM
JRM
  • 87 Replies
NY food stamp recipients are shipping welfare-funded groceries to relatives in Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Haiti

EXCLUSIVE

Food stamps are paying for trans-Atlantic takeout — with New Yorkers using taxpayer-funded benefits to ship food to relatives in Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Welfare recipients are buying groceries with their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards and packing them in giant barrels for the trip overseas, The Post found.

The practice is so common that hundreds of 45- to 55-gallon cardboard and plastic barrels line the walls of supermarkets in almost every Caribbean corner of the city.

The feds say the moveable feasts go against the intent of the $86 billion welfare program for impoverished Americans.

A spokeswoman for the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service said welfare benefits are reserved for households that buy and prepare food together. She said states should intervene if people are caught shipping nonperishables abroad.

Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, called it just another example of welfare abuse.

“I don’t want food-stamp police to see what people do with their rice and beans, but it’s wrong,” Tanner told The Post. “The purpose of this program is to help Americans who don’t have enough to eat. This is not intended as a form of foreign aid.”

The United States spent $522.7 million on foreign aid to the Caribbean last fiscal year, government data show.

Still, New Yorkers say they ship the food because staples available in the States are superior and less costly than what their families can get abroad.

“Everybody does it,” said a worker at an Associated Supermarket in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn. “They pay for it any way they can. A lot of people pay with EBT.”

Customers pay cash for the barrels, usually about $40, and typically ship them filled with $500 to $2,000 worth of rice, beans, pasta, canned milk and sausages.

Workers at the Pioneer Supermarket on Parkside Avenue and the Key Food on Flatbush Avenue confirmed the practice.

They said food-stamp recipients typically take home their barrels and fill them gradually over time with food bought with EBT cards.

When the tubs are full, the welfare users call a shipping company to pick them up and send them to the Caribbean for about $70. The shipments take about three weeks.

Last week, a woman stuffed dozens of boxes of macaroni and evaporated milk into a barrel headed for her family in Kingston, Jamaica. She said she didn’t have welfare benefits and bought the food herself.

“This is all worth more than $2,000,” she said. “I’ve been shopping since last December. You can help somebody else, someone who doesn’t live in this country.”

A man helping her pack the barrel said: “We’re poor here, and they’re poor. But what we can get here is like luxury to them.”

kbriquelet@nypost.com
by on Jul. 21, 2013 at 7:50 AM
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Replies (1-10):
romalove
by Roma on Jul. 21, 2013 at 7:52 AM
2 moms liked this

How would you determine if someone is sending food bought with EBT or with their own money?

I think the practice is wrong, too, but don't know how you could stop it.

candlegal
by Judy on Jul. 21, 2013 at 7:54 AM
5 moms liked this

What more food stamp fraud?    Imagine that!  The government doesn't care, it is not their money.

JoshRachelsMAMA
by JRM on Jul. 21, 2013 at 8:59 AM
I don't know either, but there seems to be an ongoing investigation. How to stop this? IDK.

Quoting romalove:

How would you determine if someone is sending food bought with EBT or with their own money?

I think the practice is wrong, too, but don't know how you could stop it.

JoshRachelsMAMA
by JRM on Jul. 21, 2013 at 9:01 AM
How are they able to do this and feed their own families?

Quoting candlegal:

What more food stamp fraud?    Imagine that!  The government doesn't care, it is not their money.

mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Jul. 21, 2013 at 9:08 AM
2 moms liked this

If they qualify for food stamps what they do with the food is up to them.

Luvnlogic
by Silver Member on Jul. 21, 2013 at 9:11 AM
3 moms liked this
Exactly...are we going to spend more $$ on food stamp undercover agents who watch how you pay for food, follow you home, see if you stick it in a barrel, then keep an inventory running on what goes into the barrel so when they ship it months from then, they can intercept it and determine if it's all EBT food? The logistics behind proving it seem like they'd be more costly than what's being "wasted" now.

Quoting romalove:

How would you determine if someone is sending food bought with EBT or with their own money?

I think the practice is wrong, too, but don't know how you could stop it.

JoshRachelsMAMA
by JRM on Jul. 21, 2013 at 9:12 AM
4 moms liked this
If they were buying the food with PRIVATE money, I would agree with you. But, these people are CLAIMING they are needy, and they are buying these foods with taxpayer money. So no, it's not up to them.

With that line of thinking, you probably think its okay for them to spend their welfare allotments at titi bars and casinos.

Wouldn't be surprised if you do equally sneaky things.


Quoting mikiemom:

If they qualify for food stamps what they do with the food is up to them.

JoshRachelsMAMA
by JRM on Jul. 21, 2013 at 9:13 AM
They already have police in their own fraud units. They'll have to step it up.

Quoting Luvnlogic:

Exactly...are we going to spend more $$ on food stamp undercover agents who watch how you pay for food, follow you home, see if you stick it in a barrel, then keep an inventory running on what goes into the barrel so when they ship it months from then, they can intercept it and determine if it's all EBT food? The logistics behind proving it seem like they'd be more costly than what's being "wasted" now.



Quoting romalove:

How would you determine if someone is sending food bought with EBT or with their own money?

I think the practice is wrong, too, but don't know how you could stop it.

stacymomof2
by Ruby Member on Jul. 21, 2013 at 9:16 AM
3 moms liked this
How do they know this is done with ebt cards? Are they watching to see if people eat what they buy? I think people are making assumptions here. How many people would be abke to use months of snap benefits to send overseas? What are they eating themselves?
candlegal
by Judy on Jul. 21, 2013 at 9:17 AM
2 moms liked this

I would be willing to bet they don't need the food stamps.

Quoting JoshRachelsMAMA:

How are they able to do this and feed their own families?

Quoting candlegal:

What more food stamp fraud?    Imagine that!  The government doesn't care, it is not their money.


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