Join The Fight Against Welfare Abuse

By Senator Patty Ritchie
It’s frustrating to know that someone would abuse a program designed to help children and families in need and let people get back on their feet.

That’s why reports that some people are using their taxpayer-paid welfare benefits to pay for tobacco, alcohol, even trips to nightclubs, really touch a nerve.

I believe that welfare benefits should be used to help those who need it, not fund unsavory habits.

That’s why I’m a cosponsor of the “Public Assistance Integrity Act,” a measure that would prohibit the use of welfare benefits to buy alcohol, tobacco or lottery tickets and bars the use of EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards in liquor stores, casinos and adult entertainment businesses.

The Public Assistance Integrity Act has passed the State Senate three times and more than a dozen states have already passed similar measures.

But, so far, the Assembly has failed to act on this important piece of legislation.

If you believe in stopping welfare abuse, I encourage you to sign my petition, which is available on my website,

So far, more than 1,000 have signed on to show their support and to encourage the Assembly to pass this common-sense reform.

My job as State Senator is to listen to you and on my website, you’ll also find other ways to weigh in on current issues and make your opinion heard.

Currently, I’m asking for your input on the Governor’s proposal to offer college courses to prison inmates, as well as my legislation which would support sportsmen by allowing UTVs to be legally registered in New York State.

As the current legislative session continues, lawmakers will be voting on changes that affect you.

If there’s an issue that is of particular importance to you, I encourage you to weigh in using my online petitions or to contact me directly and let your voice be heard.


  1. You’re just kidding yourself. As long as there is cash money to be had on that card, they will figure out a way to use it however they want. Don’t give it to them if you don’t want them to pervert the system.

  2. I agree welfare is for children and families , ho are we suppose to stop people from buying what they enjoy. I say as long as the children are not malnurioused and have decent clothes and a roof over their heads and a warm bed and are not neglected then who am I to say how they should spend their money.

  3. I agree the welfare system is for children and families who are unable to work,not for those just to abuse the system and enjoy a free hand out. It’s not their money they did not earn it, if they can go to night clubs and have parties then I say they can work. How can we the tax payers help? Could we spy on the people that are abusing the system would pictures hold up in a hearing? From Cindy Mulcahey

  4. The answer is simple. The card should NOT be used to access cash…PERIOD.

    Just like with the Food Stamp (SNAP) Program, put restrictions on what cannot be purchased with the cards such as: Tobacco, Alcohol, etc. and clamp down on stores that allow that type of purchase after the changes are made.

    This isn’t really a tough thing to do as we are a “Cashless” Society anyway.

    I was disgusted one day when i visited Turning Stone with my sister to celebrate her birthday and a woman took 200 out of the ATM and she was in such a hurry, she dropped her card.

    I picked it up and was ready to shout out to her, then realized it said “BENEFIT” on it, so i went to the Security Office and handed it in.

  5. We raise the price of smokes, build casino’, have lottery tickets, and sell beer everywhere . Now we want only the rich to enjoy these or maybe NY should get off it ass and stop welfare abuse by creating jobs, lower taxes and maybe these people could enjoy these things without criticism.

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