Phelan files bill to deter Lone Star Card fraud

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 9, 2019

To The Leader

AUSTIN, Texas – Representative Dade Phelan has filed HB 1250 which will require the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to add the name and photograph of the recipient or other authorized person(s) to the front of each Lone Star Card.  The Texas Electronic Benefit Transfer system uses the Lone Star Card to provide access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

A recipient or authorized person(s) on the recipient’s account will be exempt from the photo requirement if they are: 65 years of age or older; younger than 19 years of age; blind; disabled; a victim of domestic violence; homeless; or issued the EBT card at a field, regional, or other local commission office.  This legislation would also require the commission to monitor the frequency with which recipients request replacements of their Lone Star Cards.

“Individuals taking advantage of taxpayer-funded benefits are far too commonplace.” Phelan continued, “We must make certain our most vulnerable Texans receive the food and supplies they desperately need; however, selling one’s Lone Star Card for cash is unacceptable. We need common sense safeguards to protect Texas taxpayers.”

In 2016, according to state records, $17 million worth of fraud was identified in 154 Texas counties.  The most common type of food stamp fraud occurs when the Lone Star Card and pin is exchanged for cash. HB 1250 seeks to deter fraud by addressing this issue and putting taxpayer money toward Texans who need it to feed themselves and their loved ones.