Monday, May 25, 2015

Kansas Limits Welfare Recipients To $25 Daily ATM Withdrawals

Every year some entity or state seems to decide to heap some misery on the poor in the welfare system. States have attempted to use drug testing as a requisite to receive SNAP benefits. Some states allow predatory lenders to run rampant knowing the poor are their prime targets. Add to that the poor already pay a higher interest rate on long-term purchases than other better off citizens do. These burdens are only a few of many the nation's poor grapples with daily. 

The state of Kansas has added one more hardship to the portfolio of the poor.  Kansas Governor  Sam Brownback (R)  new policy strictly limiting ATM withdrawals for welfare recipients to $25 a day.

The controversial limit was signed into law in April as part of a broader reform bill.
The law is meant to limit extravagant or unnecessary spending of taxpayer resources, and the legislation also barred the use of welfare funds at recreational locations like movie theaters, cruise ships, and swimming pools, according to McClatchy DC News.

Here is where the law punishes the recipients and benefits the banks.
It forces the beneficiaries to make more  trips to the ATM to withdraw money from the debit cards used to pay public assistance benefits. Since there's a fee for every withdrawal, the limit means that some families lose money in bank fees. Also most ATMs don't dispense in $5 increments to for some recipients the max daily with
withdrawal is actually $20. 

 This measure appears to be in violation of a federal statute that says welfare recipients must have “adequate access” to their benefits and “access to using or withdrawing assistance with minimal fees and charges.” If the violation is successfully litigated civilly or politically it could cost the state $102 million in federal block grant funds.

Public backlash to the measure is so harshBrownback has tried to separate himself from it by suggesting that it wasn't initiated by his office. He's right, it didn't. The bill’s sponsor is  Sen. Michael O’Donnell of Wichita. However, that doesn't get Brownback from under the bus. He could have vetoed it yet he didn't. 

At last check Brownback and company are saying they want to work with the Federal Government. No word on if they're willing to work with the poor.

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