Being poor is no joke; in fact, it’s expensive to be poor. The poor are always hit hardest by mandatory fees and high interest rates on loans and credit cards. Many also experience exorbitant fees tacked onto daily ATM withdrawals; such is the case in Kansas. A new law has been passed that limits the amount of money that can be withdrawn from an ATM via an EBT card to $25 per day. The Kansas legislature placed this limit on beneficiaries to begin July 1, 2015.
Since most ATM machines dispense $20 bills, this new requirement means the poor will be effectively limited to single $20 withdrawals. These withdrawals often have a fee of $2-3 per transaction, hitting the poor with an unfair regressive penalty. A person seeking to withdraw $200 would have to visit an ATM 10 times and pay up to $30 in fees.
This new rule, however, may be in conflict with federal regulations that require recipients have “adequate access” to benefits. Almost 11,000 families in Kansas are part of the TANF program and legislators claim they have good cause to institute this requirement. According to Caryn Tyson, a Republican member of the Kansas State Senate, beneficiaries were using their EBT cards “at liquor stores, cigarette shops, strip joints’ [and casinos]… There was a $102 [withdrawal] from a person in Colorado at a Rockies baseball game. We don’t know that they spent it on the game, we don’t know what they spent it on, but the ATM was at the Rockies facility. Another one was on a cruise.” Overall, many feel some recipients are withdrawing all of their cash at once and spending the money inappropriately. The bill also prevents EBT users from using their cards at public swimming pools, movie theaters and tattoo parlors.
Do you think that these new rules are fair? Should these rules be adopted nationally?