IA Lawmakers Fret Over Welfare Money Spent With No Oversight

Federal law blocks them from tracking expenditures


Iowa lawmakers and taxpayers have no way of knowing where and how welfare recipients spend roughly $100 million a year in federal and state money.

Federal banking laws prohibit state officials from obtaining transactions made on EBT — Electronic Benefit Transfer — cards  issued to welfare recipients, according to Roger Munns, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Human Services. The cards work much like a debit card and are issued to about 16,000 low-income families that receive benefits under the Family Investment Program. The state contracts with Xerox to manage the cards once officials determine an applicant's eligibility.