Friday, May 16, 2008

Cigarette Sales for LINK Card Holders at Evanston Marathon Station? Flowers at Dominick's?

I was under the possibly misguided impression that LINK Cards cannot 'lawfully' be used to buy cigarettes. If so, then how does the Evanston Marathon Station on Howard just west of Chicago promote this offer?

I have also seen LINK Card holders purchase flowers at the Gateway Dominick's Grocery in RP. Can someone enlighten me on how LINK Cards can be lawfully used?

People who break Food Stamp Program rules may be disqualified from the program, fined, put in prison, or all three. This includes sellers, as well. Whether the Feds really investigate is another story. Let your fingers do the walking.

Toll Free Number for Reporting Abuse
If you wish to report any misuse, fraud, waste, or abuse of food stamp benefits, you can use this toll-free number: 1-800-424-9121. If you are in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, the number is 202-690-1622.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal employment provider and employer.

For those who need food stamps, or may need them in the future, we need to discourage fraud.  Abuses may be exaggerated, but all it takes is a paper trail.  I'd rather be an example of how LINK and SNAP work, then a statistic without that support due to Republican budget cuts based upon unproven propaganda.


twestgard said...

That certainly does look bad. Putting one next to the other implies a connection. And if there is one, then that would be a violation.

Link cards can be used for food. Unfortunately, we Americans include a lot of nasty shit under that category, including a lot of the junk they sell in gas stations. So it's possible they are offering to take your Link card for Cheetos ( which I think are "food" by Link's definition).

There are suggestions that we only subsidize really healthy things, but the big agra corporations always shoot it down. Their profit margins on Cheetos are high, while dry beans don't benefit the campaign donors.

lafew said...

This would not be the first gas station that lets smokers charge their cigarettes. However, this is either a boneheaded advertising job or a blatant violation.

Frankly, based upon my observations at Dominick's, the latter will not surprise me. Is there a Dominick's manager lurking around here? If so, educate your cashiers, quick!

stuckinthecity said...

Suntimes ran a story a couple years back of a Fed investigation and arrest of a "conveinent store" on the West side that was trading residents' LINK card values for 70 cents to the dollar. The Store rings up phoney receipts and lets the residents buy what every they want.

Diesel said...

I have some friends who are members of a fairly expensive Kennel Club. The members of this club pay out a lot of money ever year (dog shows, club fees, transportation, boarding, hotels, etc) to show these silly dogs. I was just told that an apparently large number of members are now using their Illinois Link Card to purchase "chicken" at the grocery store to feed their show dogs. One person reportedly feeds his one show dog approximately 8 pounds of store bought chicken (every day) which he reportedly purchases using the Illinois Link Card (he is supposedly very proud of this). So if one kennel club member buys 240 pounds of store bought chicken per month (for one dog). How much chicken is the Illinois Tax Payer purchasing per month, so certain Illinois Link Card users, can feed it to their dogs? Illinois Link Card Fraud and Abuse (shouldn't someone be in charge of watching this)????

Anonymous said...

there is cash put on the link card which you can withdraw from a bank for a fee or use the you have a link card?? if not maybe you should mind your own bussiness then..some people depend on these to feed there children & the elderly also.So before you stick your nose is anyones life get your facts straight honey

lafew said...

Vendors should not get reimbursed when certain items are sold on a LINK Card. Only an audit, or truthful reporting confirms unlawful items. Vendors know better. Some vendors abuse the LINK Program commit crime. This is one more reason why LINK Programs need better supervision.

Common sense, not just law, confirms that alcohol, candy, most decorative flowers and cigarettes have little to no nutritional value! These are empty calories or so-called luxury items based upon my understanding.

As we know cigarettes often cause more damage at the pump. Cancer and cardiac failure lead to medicare, medicaid, SSI, and other unfortunate expenses.

Is there an Illinois Representative or Senator who really cares enough to provide the Cook County SAO or IAG reasonable funding to indict and sanction for LINK fraud/abuse? Most of us don't want LINK funds to suck the life out of what is left of Cook County Hospital cardiac and cancer treatment!

If we all continue to mind our own business, then we may not have much in civil service left.

I guess people are too ignorant to appreciate the cost of their excesses. And so it goes!

Anonymous said...

when people apply for the "LINK" they can apply for both "CASH&FOODSTAMP" so if i were you i would mind my own business! Like are you serious? there's some nosey ass people in this world and dumb people. yeah whoever is reading this. it's considering you.!

lafew said...

If you'd bother to follow Illinois law, you'd LEARN ABOUT LINK:

What services are offered?

SNAP benefits CAN be used to buy:

any food or food product for human consumption,

plus seeds and plants for use in home gardens to produce food.

SNAP benefits CANNOT be used to buy:

Hot foods ready to eat,
Food intended to be heated in the store,

Lunch counter items or foods to be eaten in the store,

Vitamins or medicines,

Pet foods,

Any nonfood items (except seeds and plants),

Alcoholic beverages, or