On The Dole And Watching The Pole: The New Normal EBT-Card User

Tyler Durden's picture

Welfare recipients took out cash at bars, liquor stores, X-rated video shops, hookah parlors and even strip club - where they presumably spent their taxpayer money on lap dances rather than diapers, a NY Post investigation found. From Bronx strip clubs to gay dive bars in the East Village, US taxpayer-sponsored EBT cards have been inserted into ATMs and food stamp 'cash' has presumably been used to feed another need. The Post found dozens of pubs, nightclubs and tobacco shops where welfare dough was dispensed - and presumably spent. We should not worry too much though as Hilda Solis put us straight on how many millions of jobs these EBT-card fund recipients are creating and while we pass no judgment on those receiving and using the funds in whatever they see most fit, Cato's Michael Tanner summed it quite succinctly: "This is morally scandalous, I have nothing against strip clubs, but that’s not what benefits are for. I don’t blame [recipients]. If you are poor, it’s a crummy life and you want to have a drink or see a naked woman. I blame the people who are in charge of this." 32oz sodas made us gulp; rare steak tough to swallow; but take away the strippers and liquor - anarchy.

Via NY Post:

They’re on the dole — and watching the pole.


Welfare recipients took out cash at bars, liquor stores, X-rated video shops, hookah parlors and even strip clubs — where they presumably spent their taxpayer money on lap dances rather than diapers, a Post investigation found.


A database of 200 million Electronic Benefit Transfer records from January 2011 to July 2012, obtained by The Post through a Freedom of Information request, showed welfare recipients using their EBT cards to make dozens of cash withdrawals at ATMs inside Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn; the Blue Door Video porn shop in the East Village; The Anchor, a sleek SoHo lounge; the Patriot Saloon in TriBeCa; and Drinks Galore, a liquor distributor in The Bronx.


The state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), which oversees the “cash assistance program,” even lists some of these welfare-ready ATMs on its Web site.


One EBT machine is stationed inside Club Eleven, an infamous Hunts Point jiggle joint known as much for its violent history as its girls in pink thongs.


Cops have been cracking down on the Bronx club since 2009 and shut it down temporarily in 2010. In July, five men were stabbed and two others shot outside after bouncers broke up a 4 a.m. brawl with pepper spray. The club appeared to be shuttered when The Post visited Thursday.


Club Heat, another Bronx strip club that dispenses EBT cash, is also no stranger to violence. A 33-year-old woman was fatally shot in the head outside the club in December 2011.


Critics blasted the government for turning a blind eye to welfare’s sleazy money.


“This is morally scandalous,” said Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “I have nothing against strip clubs, but that’s not what benefits are for. I don’t blame [recipients]. If you are poor, it’s a crummy life and you want to have a drink or see a naked woman. I blame the people who are in charge of this.”


Welfare recipients receive food stamps and cash assistance under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Both benefits are accessed through an EBT card, but only cash assistance — meant for housing, utilities and household necessities — can be accessed at ATMs.


A single-person household could receive a maximum $200 in monthly food stamps plus $158 in cash assistance. A family of four could get as much as $668 in food stamps and $433 in cash.


The food-stamp program prohibits the purchase of booze, tobacco and lottery tickets with an EBT card. But with the cash-assistance program, users can blow money on strippers or a six-pack and to tap welfare dollars from liquor stores, casinos and adult-oriented establishments.


The Post found dozens of pubs, nightclubs and tobacco shops where welfare dough was dispensed — and presumably spent.


The Boiler Room, a gay dive bar in the East Village, had $120 and $60 transactions a minute apart on Jan. 17, 2011. The bar is around the corner from a Bank of America that takes EBT cards.


West Village tobacco shop Shisha International had EBT transactions ranging from $40 to $180 in 2011. The store is near at least two EBT-friendly ATMs.


Legislative efforts to crack down on sinful spending have fallen short.


State Sen. Tom Libous (R-Binghamton) passed a bill in his chamber in June that would outlaw welfare withdrawals at gambling dens, strip clubs and other venues of vice, but the measure is gathering dust in the Democratic-controlled Assembly.


Libous is looking for a new Assembly sponsor to carry the bill in that house in the upcoming legislative session, after past sponsor George Latimer (D-Rye) was elected to the state Senate.


With only one of the city’s Assembly members, Nicole Malliotakis (R-B’klyn./SI), as a co-sponsor, the bill faces an uphill battle.


The Assembly typically doesn’t support welfare reform, because its more liberal members think the measures “hurt the poor,” Libous said. If the bill remains stalled, the state stands to lose $120 million in federal welfare funding.


The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, signed by President Obama last February, requires states to prohibit sinful welfare spending by 2014. If they don’t, they’ll forfeit federal cash.


“The people who are stealing from the program are the ones I want to go after,” Libous said. “Not someone who lost his job or a single mom who has to feed her kids. That’s what this program is supposed to be for.”


A spokesman with the US Department of Health and Human Services said states make their own rules on EBT cards.


Some states already limit where EBT cards can withdraw money.


A rep from OTDA, New York’s welfare office, said the state does not choose or regulate which retailers get ATMs that handle EBTs. Instead, retailers decide whether to use an ATM that accepts welfare cards.

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So Close's picture

Perhaps they should get one sack each of flour, rice, and powdered milk instead of a recharge on their card each month.

Careless Whisper's picture

For your Sunday reading enjoyment:


Mandated Government Paternalism Will Give You More Freedom by French Economist and Latest Presidential Economic Advisor, Ester Duflo:


Careless Whisper's picture

"freedom to lose is not freedom" ... French economist and US Advisor Ester Duflo, May 2012

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Why do they even allow ETM cards to be used in ATMs or at strip-clubs???   Surely there could be some way to limit their purchasing ability to be limited to grocery stores/convenience stores and only be used for certain kinds of scanned items???

Or does JPM make more money with the abuses?  <-- Silly question?


Good Looking Alien Alert!  Another picture of the nice looking ChristianMingle girl (ad) --->

Backspin's picture

It doesn't matter *where* they get the money.  If they are allowed to get cash with their little card, then they could spend it anywhere.

Stupid and broken system.

nmewn's picture

Sons of bitches, bitchez!!!

JPM Hater001's picture

<----- iPoverty

<----- iwishsomeonewouldpayformystrippers

Karlus's picture

I kinda didnt think the .gov really cares what you spend it on. My read is that its a vote buying transfer payment....am I wrong on this?

Or is it a .gov reputation risk kinda thing? I didnt think they really cared...

Overfed's picture

They don't give a shit where the $$ gets spent. They're buying social order, nothing more. If those EBT/SNAP cards ever stop working, it's gonna get real interesting, real quick.

Richard Chesler's picture

Who cares what EBTs are spent on as long as JPM gets their cut?


smlbizman's picture

i think these cards are the fuel for our inflation, that and student loans....this free money has velocity

trav777's picture

welfare buys a lot of lottery tickets too.

And you wonder why the poor stay poor and nobody should really lose any sleep over that?  It's not a soluble problem.

JPM Hater001's picture

Meh, you just have to remember that under the surface .gov is just trying to keep everyone happy.

Or asleep.

Snakeeyes's picture

Hey, the EBT card is a light more convenient than lugging around trillion dollar platinum coins that weigh 40 tons each.


trav777's picture

cuz lord knows that before all the civil rights act stuff purified america's evil soul and made the country the great place it is today, there was NO WAY to "keep order" of ornery savages without extortion payments huh?

These cards are the legacy of '67, trying to buyoff a future without riots.

laboratorymike's picture

Even if there was no cash from these benefits at all, it would still be possible not not spend your other cash on groceries, because you are getting SNAP benefits. Then what cash you do earn can be spent on what you want. Or, you can buy stuff with the card and barter for cash or for what you actually want.

Think about it, a pusher needs to eat, so he sends out some SNAP associates to do his shopping, and pays them in cash or goods for doing so. Plenty of other people need to eat and have a little cash, so they can send a SNAP associate shopping, who just wants cash. The system is very easy to abuse. Heck, I recently learned that in Michigan you can get ten grand to build greenhouses as long as you take SNAP benefits. How much accountability do you think there is for what is done with said greenhouses, or with the grant to build them period?

boogerbently's picture

If you make the max (at a job), you can make and still get benefits, it can total over $57K/yr.

Exponential growth of "non-productive" Americans, generation after generation of them.

NAHHHH, let's just take mom and dads Soc. Sec., that's easier.

oldman's picture

Hey Do-----

Why not do a deal with the banks?

JPM and the other 'good guys' pay for the EBT as a debit against the time-use value of all of that free money the taxpayers are going on the hook for----

A sort of 'tit' for 'tat' with one deadbeat paying for the other       om


boogerbently's picture

....putting said banks in charge of "fraud control" to reduce their costs.

If they do a good job with welfare, we'll make them responsible for Medicare, Soc. Sec./disability, to make up for all the pension/401's they ruined.

Blano's picture

I keep missing that ad, should I be trying harder to get laid?? 

knukles's picture

Careful DoChen, look carefully.  "That nice looking one" on ChristianMingle has nictating membranes.



DoChenRollingBearing's picture

'scool knuks...!  :)

I am married (for almost 27 years, yow!) to a hot chick who loves me!


I was merely pointing the way, as a public service, yes!, a public service to those single young unfortunates who have a high toleration (or desperation) for, ahh, exotic non-earthly species.  I suppose there IS a risk they could be eaten however.

Chuck Walla's picture

Why do they even allow ETM cards to be used in ATMs or at strip-clubs??? 

If you can find a cheaper vote, BUY IT!


Umh's picture

Is it really worthwhile to have special ATM machines that don't accept EBT cards?

spooz's picture

The confusion here is that the ETM cards are only being used in ATMs, but some of them happen to be in strip clubs.

Of course, the confusion for the average reader is what ZH is counting on.  You'll tell somebody that the cards are being used in strip clubs and the next guy tells somebody, and, well, thats the way propaganda works.

So maybe somebody stops in the club for a pop after a long day working at Walmart, needs to pick up diapers on the way home, and uses the convenient ATM that is in the bar to withdraw cash to spend on the kid.  How do you know that isn't the case? 

Propaganda sucks.

Blano's picture

Yeah sure, I always stop in a strip joint to get a quick C note and immediately leave.  (rolls eyes)

Umh's picture

I'm guessing on this but, I'd bet there is a hefty fee for using those ATMs.

This issue is just a symptom caused by giving benefits to people who don't need it.

e2thex's picture

Rein in the cash assistance program and keep the food assistance programm that pays a liitle more than $135 /month. Work out its daily rate.

Not everyone abuses the system.

laboratorymike's picture

Why not just host the soup kitchens like they did in the 1930s? If you really need the free food you can wait in line. I know this because there was a two-month period where I did, in fact, wait outside in the snow for half an hour so I could get half a dozen eggs and some lemons. Best lesson in personal finance that I ever learned, because I do NOT want to do it again!.


Of course, I think the reason we don't bring back the soup kitchens is because we would then have to expose the enormity of the problem:


boogerbently's picture

That argument is why we get RAPED with the fraud in ALL govt programs.

People on Disability have gone up 40% in the last 2 years !

Right from the end of unemployment to Disability.

TruthBeforeAll's picture

Disgusting. Failure (and the freedom to fail) is one of the greatest teachers there is. And plowing through failures and on to success is one of the greatest liberating experiences a person can have. Man I hate the leftist mindset so much.

HardAssets's picture

Boners not Bombers

Make Love not War



well at least no one got killed as collateral damage from a lap dance 

secret_sam's picture

There's a difference between "food stamps" and "EBT."  Folks aren't withdrawing cash from their food stamps benefits.  They're withdrawing cash from the monthy welfare cash-assistance benefits.

Whether you think there are ever any valid reasons for someone to be given cash or not, you should try to understand this subject a bit better before proclaiming how it needs to be "fixed."

knukles's picture


Quit equivocating and picking at nits
That's exactly what the "theys" want you to do.
Divert, discredit, divide and dismiss

secret_sam's picture


Go ahead and hire an auto mechanic to fix your computer if you like, but I assure you it won't work.

"Facts?  FUCK facts!  I KNOW EVERYTHING!" --the know-nothings

StychoKiller's picture

"I cannot lay my finger on that part of the Constitution that states charity is a proper role of Government."

James Madison

Cathartes Aura's picture

was wondering what had happened to you. . . sigh.

above the line trolling, yet again - ZH, it's been repeatedly pointed out in thread comments that EBT and SNAP are not the same, and SNAP (food stamps) has limits on how it can be used, ie FOODstuffs only, not even toilet paper can be carried off by those pixels exchanged.

and yet;

food stamp 'cash' has presumably been used to feed another need.

no. they. can't.  if men are using their EBT cards at strip joints, it's not a "food stamp" card they're carrying.  and all the "we don't pass judgement" is nonsense as well - presumably those "poor" who have "a crummy life" who need to "have a drink" and "see a naked woman" aren't welfare queens with broods feeding off the .gov now, are they?  they don't need to see naked women - yet THOSE are the people reviled in thread most often.

as to "limiting" where people can withdraw their benefit benny-bux - yeah, the convenience aspect of swiping where yer swilling might go, but as long as they put "benefit" pixels on BANK CARDS that allow BANKS to profit off each payment, then they don't really care how the fiat is spent into the economy, thus propping up the fake for yet. another. day.  which is the real story, is it not???

bah.  no idea why I bother.  I used to think this place was smarter, but re-posting NYPost front page rants?  really???


secret_sam's picture

No way to recover an account, or hey, maybe I was banned, so here I be, reincarnated and in clever disguise....

Cathartes Aura's picture

I promise to keep it secret from now on. . . sam.

flattrader's picture

>>>I used to think this place was smarter,..<<<

Yeah. Me too for a brief time...about two days...a couple plus years ago.


Totentänzerlied's picture

Here are 2 fixes:

1. Guaranteed minimum income - the (less wrong) statist's preferred solution

2. No welfare programs whatsoever - oh the humanity! The Hobbesian bleeding-hearts spinning in their graves could power the whole world!

overbet's picture

Or better yet give them some fucking seeds and and book on gardening.

midtowng's picture

Republicans still searching for Reagan's Welfare Queen 30 years later.

Calling attention to an unidentified $100 thief is a great way to distract attention from the $1 Billion white-collar crook.

prains's picture

This how the 1% get you to fight amongst yourselves instead of them

Salon's picture

Then lets cut off all welfare so we can present a united front to the banksters?

Your line is used by socialists who are attempting to cause strife and division in the opposition.

prains's picture

wrong on all counts, there's no ism in my jism