LANSING (WWJ) – These welfare funds are meant to feed needy families, but officials say some Bridge Card users have been caught spending taxpayer money on vacation.
State Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge said that this past winter about $2 million in Bridge Card food and cash assistance was spent in Florida, California, Hawaii and Nevada, and on cruise ships.
In Michigan, the Bridge Card debit card has replaced food stamp for those in need of state assistance.
Senator Jones Tuesday announced he is now working with the Michigan Department of Human Services to end Bridge Card abuse.
“It is shocking that taxpayers would foot the bill for welfare recipients to spend money on vacations to other states and even on cruise ships… this must end” Jones said, in a statement.
Currently, Bridge Cards are only available to Michigan residents. Card holders are supposed to notify the state when they have been out of the state for 30 days. Then the card is cut off.
Speaking with WWJ’s Marie Osborne, Jones said there is other potential for abuse.
“Many times, Bridge Cards are sold on the open market and then people get cash, can buy illegal drugs and alcohol and cigarettes. Obviously, that needs to stop,” Jones said.
Jones is also working on another measure — a Senate bill that would prohibit users from using Bridge Cards to withdraw cash from casino ATMs.
“That’s terrible cause all of us that work very hard for the things that we got and the lazy (people) that get our taxpayer money shouldn’t not get it,” commented one Michigander, on WWJ’s Facebook page.
“I have needed the Bridge Card in the past and am saddened to see this abuse. It will ruin this wonderful program to help you out when your at (your) lowest. So sad,” said another.
But another said our state has “bigger fish to fry.”
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