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  • HHS Investigating Welfare Spending at Casinos, Liquor Stores, Strip Clubs

    The Administration for Children and Families, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, is investigating whether, and how, federal welfare funds have been used at liquor stores, casinos, and strip clubs – all prohibited under federal law.

    Under legislation that extended a payroll tax holiday, passed by Congress and signed into law earlier this year, states are directed to prevent recipients of funds under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program from using their benefits at “any liquor store; any casino, gambling casino, or gaming establishment; or any retail establishment which provides adult-oriented entertainment in which performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state for entertainment.”

    HHS will cut off block grants to states that do not adequately comply with the provision. States are required to report their efforts to HHS in 2014, but ACF’s Office of Family Assistance is already looking to issue a regulation that addresses the misuse of TANF funds.

    Such misuse was widespread enough to require congressional action and federal enforcement.

    A recent investigation by the House Ways and Means Committee highlighted eight instances, in eight different states, of TANF funds being used at establishments prohibited by law. Another report from the committee claims that nearly $5 million in state-issued TANF funds was withdrawn from casino ATMs in California from 2007 to 2010.

    The committee claims that the reauthorization of TANF, which included these restrictions on the use of the program’s cash awards, “ensures that welfare funds cannot be accessed at ATMs in strip clubs, liquor stores, and casinos.”

    But while it does outlaw those uses, other provisions in the reauthorization make it fairly easy for TANF recipients to circumvent its prohibitions. According to the ACF’s request for comment, each state must also provide HHS with:

    …an explanation of how the State plans to ensure that (1) recipients of the assistance have adequate access to their cash assistance, and (2) recipients of assistance have access to using or withdrawing assistance with minimal fees or charges, including an opportunity to access assistance with no fee or charges.

    So while state measures to prevent the misuse of TANF funds may weed out, say, the withdrawal of cash at casino or liquor store ATMs, the law also requires that recipients have easy access to TANF cash. That may prevent states from being able to entirely weed out the misuse of those funds.

    Posted in Featured, Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to HHS Investigating Welfare Spending at Casinos, Liquor Stores, Strip Clubs

    1. Bobbie says:

      There better be complete accountability with strict penalties! These people are without discipline while we the ones obligated to pay are spit in the face without the ability to expect at the least decency, respect and integrity with basic moral ethics at minimum wage with no expenses paid but their hourly work with dismissal on make work benefiting them, unconstitutionally! How despicable filthy pigs feed themselves with our money! Ya wonder why the economy isn't moving because these filthy pigs steal money for their perverted, piggish playtime on top of what they get for pay! And these filthy pigs work in health and human services probably diseasing us all!

      • Mememe says:

        YOUR MONEY??? Im sure MANY of them paid into the system BEFORE they started getting assistance. I know I DID! What about YOUR MONEY that pays for MURDERING CHILDREN AND ANIMALS in these wars we are in??? Or YOUR MONEY that pays for the elaborate parties YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS have?

        • Bobbie says:

          owie! what the heck did I do? I'll call out anyone violating TAX DOLLARS for personal benefit! Maybe you'd feel the same if you were equally responsible to pay taxes. Haven't seen any stirrings but THIS and THAT coming from never seen before, GOVERNMENT'S DISRESPECTING SIDE!!!

          I can't control the money the government helps themselves to murder children and animals. That would never come from my free thinking or pay. That was Mr. Obama and the democrat women whom I have absolutely no respect for THEIR IMPLICATIONS TO SUGGEST women are not fit to handle their own while they exploit personal problems that should never be public.

          I was a victim of the democratic party for a very short period of time and I am victim NO MORE! As a very nice person named kat reminded me and Ronald Reagan the republican that instilled more in me then a democrat would ever! They saw dollar signs when they had me. Democrats would be unemployed if all women had self respect!

          It's none of anyone's business how people spend their earnings. THIS IS FRAUD taking from whatever the government entitled you to!

          If my money is paying for elaborate parties FOR MY ELECTED OFFICIALS why the heck is that your business? silly!!! But seriously we don't have disposable income for any parties. Not even pizza! Democrats corrupt our money for democrats' pity programs! Or are you being facetious as you write your name me me me? Only says who you you you really are!! CHEERS!

          • No Longer a Victim says:

            Don't feel bad, that person says they "paid into the system" before they started taking benefits. I bet they worked 5 days and took food stamps for the rest of their life. That's probably why they're so upset. You're threatening their easygoing carefree no-labor way of life.

            How dare you refuse to spend your own money putting food in the mouths of their 17 starving children! Nevermind that 60" HDTV in their living room or the 26" chrome spinners on the car in the driveway. They're starving!

    2. Chris Rowan says:

      This will be very disappointing to the Secret Service agents who were recently fired. Too bad.

    3. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      If these welfare programs were funded and administered solely by the states, I believe waste, fraud and abuse would be greatly reduced.

      Local control – Who really thinks federal officials are better equipped to monitor and prosecute the improper use of taxpayer funds than state officials who live among those to whom they must give account?

      Budgets – All but one state is required balance its budget and thus prioritize programs while the federal government can simply print or borrow more money and delay the day of reckoning.

      Competition – States with generous and/or poorly-run benefit programs must compete with states with lean, well-run benefit programs. This is a market force that will balance the two needs.

      Conservatives do not necessarily oppose programs intended to help people who have fallen on tough times and need a bridge to the next job. We simply oppose the total centralization of such programs into the hands of a precious few. Federalism is our answer.

    4. Stirling says:

      Whatever the government is doing to "investigate" is purely for PR, nothing will actually be done during the "Food Stamp" president's time in office. This Administration dis-respects those who earn (by class warfare), as well as those who receive assistance (by enslaving them to government handouts.). Until the Government stops stealing from Peter to Payoff Paul (for Votes) we all loose..

    5. DHarper says:

      Why is there any "cash" available at all? The benefit card should be usable only on grocery stores and only for healthy foods-no candy, ice cream or sodas. It used to be that way when we were sane.

    6. TAT says:

      I believe that drug testing should be required! Even random testing would help!!!

    7. RennyG says:

      Come on everyone, the big "O" wants everyone to be equal. That means that those who don't have money, to gamble or drink etc., then it will it will be given to them!! This article indicated a "report" be given in 2014, then it will take another two years to study. In the mean time the country is broke!! If you can't control it tomorrow morning then you shouldn't be in your position!!!! These commities, planning, studies stink!!!!!

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