Welfare

IA Lawmakers Fret Over Welfare Money Spent With No Oversight

Federal law blocks them from tracking expenditures

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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.

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