A welfare reform proposal would ultimately require anyone paying with some type of card to show I.D. (Photo courtesy 401(K)2013/flickr)
By Eric Stock
SPRINGFIELD - A Republican proposal to curb welfare fraud would create an inconvenience for retailers and their customers according to the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.
Vice President Rob Karr said even if Illinois lawmakers approve a measure requiring LINK cards include a photo ID, federal law said no one can be singled out.
"You go in and show your debit card, I show my credit card, somebody else shows a prepaid debit card or any other instrument that's carried on a card, we would then have to under federal law check the ID of every one of those consumers," Karr said.
The association estimates 70 percent of grocery store transactions involve some type of card such as a debit or credit card.
"It's a customer relations problem in that it's going to anger the people who are not on these programs, but who utilize credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards to pay for items," Karr said.
Karr said Illinois would need to ask for a waiver from the federal government, which would almost certainly be denied.
"We are raising expectations unrealistically because so far the federal government has given no indication they are willing to allow for the waiver, or that they are willing to relieve the burden of having to then check the ID of everyone who pays with any form of card payment," Karr said.
Illinois Republicans have proposed the measure, in hopes of saving the state millions of dollars. The plan would also prevent Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits (TANF) from being used for alcohol, lottery tickets and firearms.
Eric Stock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.