Louisiana EBT Program Allows Adult Toy Purchases

It looks like Louisiana and the federal government need some food stamp reform:

A south Louisiana lingerie store has posted on its front door to indicate it accepts most credit cards, including the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.

Kiss My Lingerie, in Gonzales, sells adult specialty items. The store moved into the Magnolia Shopping Center on South Burnside Avenue a few years ago. However, accepting the EBT payment is something that happened eight months ago, according to the owner. The owner went on to say the store accepts every form of payment and does not discriminate against customers.

It appears that since the store sells clothing, it barely qualifies for use with Louisiana’s food stamp cards, or EBT cards:

A spokesperson for the Department of Children and Family Services said the EBT card, or the Louisiana Purchase card, is not just for food stamps. There are also cash benefits available for other family needs. The only things the cash benefits do not cover are alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets, casinos and adult entertainment.

Although this case skirts the line, state officials stated there’s no violation of the law with the store accepting the card for lingerie and other adult items. They added because the cash benefits are part of a federal program, Louisiana does not dictate how families spend the money of those cards, which could be less than $200 a month or up to $400 a month.

According to the Louisiana EBT card website, cash benefits can be loaded onto an EBT card. According to the article cited above, fewer than 10,000 Louisiana citizens use cash benefits, as opposed to 835,000 who use the non-cash benefits.

Liberty News came to the conclusion that since stores have to get federal approval to accept EBT cards, this adult toy store was approved by the federal government. I’m not sure it’s quite that nefarious — while that could be the case, I wonder if accepting cash benefits gets around the federal approval process.

Either way, of course, this is outrageous. Can we please enact real food stamp reform? We don’t even need to eliminate the program — which is my preference. Just tighten up the eligibility and how it can be used, and enact proper oversight. Is that too much to ask?

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