Movie Rentals, ATM’s And Fast Food Make Up 44% Of North Dakota Welfare Expenditures

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I’ve written before of my efforts to review how North Dakota TANF (welfare) recipients spend their benefits, and I’ve gotten a little bit of traction of late. I’ve been trying to get my hands on transaction data from the debit cards used by beneficiaries to spend their allotment of funds. After initially telling me that the transaction data isn’t kept, the Department of Human Services is now telling me the data is kept but is protected by federal privacy laws.

“Going into individual personal transactions of bank customers is against The Privacy Act,” Carol Cartledge, Director of Economic Assistance Policy Division for the ND DHS, told me in an email (note that I didn’t request information about beneficiaries but rather information about where beneficiaries spent their money).

This seems strange because we hear stories all the time about this transaction data being obtained by reporters in other states who find that significant amounts of welfare dollars are being spent in objectionable ways, such as in strip clubs or liquor stores. If federal law prohibits access to that data, how can reporters and researchers in other states get it? If the data is out-of-bounds, how are we enforcing the proper expenditure of these dollars here in North Dakota?

There aren’t a lot of answers coming from DHS, but I’m still working on it. In the mean time, they did provide me this category break down of TANF debit card EBT transactions, though they won’t provide me with the total dollar figure represented by these percentages or a per-category dollar break down. So, we can see that a little more than 4% of the dollars spent through EBT transactions were for movie rentals, but we have no idea how much that is in actual money, and DHS isn’t offering any answers:

Grocery Stores: 19.67%
Service Stations (inside): 19.27%
Fast Food Restaurants: 12.40%
Discount Stores: 6.50%
Service Stations (outside): 4.31%
Restaurants: 4.09%
DVD/Video Rentals: 4.02%
Drug Stores & Pharmacies: 2.08%
ATM/Cash withdrawals at the bank: 27.66%

Notice, also, that the biggest percentage here is cash withdrawals at ATM’s and banks. That might not be in and of itself objectionable, but where are these ATM’s? Are they at banks? Or in bars and liquor stores?

We don’t know, and again DHS isn’t giving up the information.

I’m not done digging, but so far it seems the oversight of welfare dollars in North Dakota is disturbingly lax.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

    What’s the total compensation Carol Cartledge collects?

  • sbark

    One can easily peg a good chunk of the 19% of “inside service station” toward dubius use when compared to outside (4%) use which would likely be only gas/fuel. I’d say the use for actual gas (is that even allowed on EBT card?) is the same percent inside or outside at best.

    • SusanBeehler

      Who are the “nannies” on this blog page? You want to go after the welfare system than look at the requirements to receive it; the abuse will be happening there and then you have the administration of the program. How much does it costs us as taxpayers, the ratio of recipients to the cost of administration? That ratio is where change could be more easily created, otherwise this looking at purchases made is nickel and diming. Essentially saying someone shouldn’t be allowed a twinkie if it was the taxpayers money which it probably wasn’t the taxpayers money because more than likely it came from a non-custodial parent and the “rights” someone gave away.
      Just like property tax does not pay for our local services 100%; neither does 100% of TANF program funds come from the income taxes you pay.

      • sbark

        nobody minds helping the truely helpless…………but the Dem’cats have transitioned the program to a vote buying scheme and expanded it to the lazy, shiftless and fraudulent
        Does it occur to you the Natl Debt of 16 trillion matches the amount spend on the War on Poverty and welfare?…………ie spending with no return to society except a vote for Liberalism: which is the problem in the 1st place.
        New flash—–add up total welfare spending and divide it by welfare recipients……….over 60,000.00 dollars per person with the govt beuracrats sucking up half of that…….and you condone it……
        Talk to me when you’ve given every penny of any extra income of your own money to the poor—-dont just love it when its other peoples money.

        • SusanBeehler

          Our North Dakota legislature and our executive branch which includes the Department of Human Services is Republican ruled. If you want to affect change do it in your own home state and then carry that message to your federal representatives. Otherwise it sounds to me rather just complain and blame someone. I don’t condone anything you are piping off and stop using me for your punching bag because I believe in a different way of looking at things. I am not OBAMA, I am NOT condoning that kind of spending. I am simply pointing out what I know is being done in our state, and our state uses federal money to do it.

        • SusanBeehler

          This article is on North Dakota not the national problem. Less than 1% of our population is receiving TANF, welfare. Get educated:

          http://www.nd.gov/dhs/info/pubs/docs/qtrly-budget-insight-july11-dec11.pdf

          • sbark

            I’d easily venture to say the fraud and miss-use on the Natl scale is much worse than that of the N.Dak stats.
            ………or are you saying because just 1% of NDak population is on TANF —we should just overlook and ignore any fraud, any mis-use?
            We have oil money–we have property tax—so excuse the fraud?
            You’d want to crucify any oilman that has a dead duck in his holding pond, any banker who mis-uses govt funds…………..but you want to overlook criminal activity inside Dem’cat govt programs?
            Social Services are recruiting people to their programs—-maybe instead of that they ought to be pouring over computer reports of usage and cutting back those that are misusing the welfare funds?…..or have downside risk in their jobs at SServices.

          • SusanBeehler

            What criminal activity inside Democrat government programs? This program is not a Democrat or a Republican it is a government program. If a crime is being committed you should report it. If you read my other posts, I am saying people react like this is what all their taxes go for, it is not!!! I am trying to dispel this myth, over 45% of those tax dollars are reimbursed with child support, TANF is not just adults receiving welfare; 95% of the cases it is for the children. I am saying the transactions listed in this above article show nothing unusual, people on TANF spend their money like other families, withdrawals of cash is the only method than can use to pay for certain things they may need like rent, like day care. Get educated http://www.nd.gov/dhs/info/pubs/docs/qtrly-budget-insight-july11-dec11.pdf

      • whowon

        Susan, the self appointed expert on any topic. Haven’t “seen” her since the Bismarck Tribune eliminated comments. My, she has run for several things, asked to be appointed to boards and denied, seems the only one who thinks she has valid information is…Susan.

        • SusanBeehler

          I am appointed on a board for the Department of Human Services. Just because you don’t like my comments and you do not think they are valid does not make it so. So you live only in the laptop world?

          • whowon

            really, haven’t seen that. Link? I see you tried to get appointed to Board of Architectural Review but was turned down. Just retired dear, you are one to speak about laptop world.

          • SusanBeehler

            So you are a Mandanite with a “beef” against me? Just defending myself dear.

          • whowon

            no link, guess you are making stuff up again!

          • SusanBeehler

            Link? I didn’t know you were asking me a question. Ask Morton County Commissioner Andy Zachmeier he is on the same board.

      • Lianne

        Susan, you ask, “Who are the “nannies” on this blog page?” when it comes to welfare. That is rather like calling the kettle black, isn’t it? You want to cotrol/change gun ownership, drinking, parental teaching, etc etc. Except not when it comes to welfare reform.

        • SusanBeehler

          Sounds like I may have hurt your feelings in some blog. From my posts you believe I am against welfare reform? Boy oh boy you do not have a clue, the recipient is not the “beast” of welfare it may drive it to some degree, but the “beast” is the government of it. How many government jobs are driven by issuing that card? Now that would be talking some real “welfare” reform. I was there when the Welfare Reform Act was introduced, were you? Do you think your little post is a major contribution to “welfare reform”? I don’t want “cotrol/change” all those things you listed. If I feel strongly about it I will show up at a hearing, write a letter to the editor, join a group or run for office or campaign for someone running office. I enjoy blogging.

      • Guest

        Exactly. These people decry the government actively trying to lower obesity but when it comes to what people choose to buy with aid, suddenly the government should impose a heart healthy diet.

        • SusanBeehler

          Are you talking about me? I am not a “these people” because I do not condemn someone receiving assistance and you believe I don’t care how my government spends our tax dollars? Are you willing to volunteer to check that they purchased the cheapest brand of toilet paper with your tax dollar otherwise we will have to hire a few more government workers to make sure they didn’t rent a Disney movie for their child instead of buying a pumpkin or the cheapest toilet paper?

          • Guest

            No, it’d be stupid and waste or resources to any of that. I was just point out that it’s ironic that the same bunch of people who things it’s no place for the government to encourage a healthier lifestyle (e.g. the let’s move initiative) think that when it comes to food stamps the government should be doing all the things you listed.

          • Tom

            Your comments need a touch of coherency. Ask someone who has an education to help you.

  • headward

    Why are they able to get cash with this program?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Good question.

    • SusanBeehler

      They always have been able to get cash; they use to issue a check, now it is loaded on a debit card. I would be more interested to see how much US Bank receives for operating this system for the state (they do it for many states), US Bank is making a profit they are not doing this out of the goodness of their heart. If it is like the US Bank child support card than the bank may charges fees for withdrawals so the cardholder is instructed to make one large withdrawal for cash just as if they cashed a check.

      • Lianne

        Welfare has become a big business. I see you are also against profits. If banks are going to ‘make’ money off my card transactions, it is only FAIR that they do the same for welfare recepients. We do not want them to be treated differently.

        • SusanBeehler

          I am not against profits. I am a business person, I love profit. I just think it would be interesting to see how much profit is made off of welfare, after all you are the one saying it is big business. So how much is big business making off of the “welfare” program? Did this switch reduce our administrative cost? There has been no evidence of welfare recipients “profiting” from a card transaction, unless of course they are buying and reselling their purchases than that is fraud. If you believe fraud is occurring than your suspicions can be reported to the County the fraudster lives in. It would also be interesting to know how much fraud is caught in North Dakota?

          • Onslaught1066

            I’ve read up on your so called business, your very first sentence is a lie.

          • SusanBeehler

            You are a cyber bully. I wish I could read up on you, oh fake name. So called “brave” person

          • Onslaught1066

            But you can’t.

            Aptly named, hanniturdlet.

            Tell the truth now, this is just a “work at home” scam you got suckered into and moved it to a store front so you could pretend to have a business and maybe stave off the urge to commit suicide.

          • SusanBeehler

            Tell the truth now, you are really a bald old fart sitting in your living room in your whitie tighties with your gun, your cartoons, and your social security check. “Suicide”; you are really weird.

          • Onslaught1066

            Your fantasies are starting to get the better of you dearie, you may want to get some professional help for that. Heh!

          • SusanBeehler

            I want to make a profit so I don’t have a store front, you have never run a business have you?

          • Onslaught1066

            So I was right about this being a “work at home scam”.

            Thanks for ‘fessing up.

          • SusanBeehler

            A scam NO! YOU have never run a business have you?

          • Onslaught1066

            Now, now, Susan just so long as you keep your distance from:

            Sleeping pills/Booze
            Car exhaust
            Razor Blades
            Open office building windows
            Bridges
            Rope
            Handguns
            Asps
            Hemlock
            Dr, Kevorkian
            or

            Electricity/Tub

            You should be OK, You don’t need to convince anyone but yourself you have a real life.

            But thanks for confirming my theory in any event.

          • two_amber_lamps

            No worry about handguns… she’s a confirmed hoplophobe.

            The mere sight of one might send her catatonic.

          • Onslaught1066

            You know those dems are born hypocrites, she’s got a handgun.

            Probably holstered where no man would dare to go.

          • whowon

            back in 2010…Occupation: Test Administrator at an International Corporation, and a small business owner. 4 people running for 3 positions on Mandan School board. With that sort of detailed resume, don’t know why she didn’t win but guess most people get it.

          • Onslaught1066

            Maybe their quota of ugly, big mouthed, opinionated dumbasses was already filled.

          • two_amber_lamps

            I don’t know who’s more entertaining…. the addle-brained “Test Administrator” or the impeached municipal judge. I’d say “whatever that is” to both of those jobs.

            I guess it takes all kinds of leftist useful idiots to make the world go round….

          • Onslaught1066

            hanniturdlet is now trying to hide behind an avatar featuring Reagan.

            I wonder what kind of relevance or credibility it’s trying to glom onto.

          • two_amber_lamps

            I’d say about the only thing they have in common is late-age related Alzheimer’s disease.

          • Onslaught1066

            Oh, I’m sure Reagan wasn’t anywhere near as old as Susan looks.

    • wj

      Because one of the purposes of welfare reform was to get recipients to become self-sufficient rather than dependent upon the government for every decision. Part of that philosophy was to provide assistance to families – only households with children are eligible in North Dakota – with some case assistance and help them learn how to spend and save appropriately. Many of the “wrap around” services with TANF try to teach them just that. If they don’t spend it wisely, they and their families suffer, which becomes an incentive to learn to do it right.

  • Lianne

    Cash withdrawals? Remember when food stamps could not be turned in for cash? Or when cash could not be given as change? So, we don’t know where 27% of our money is being spent. 4% is for acutal gas, 19% for gas, smokes, pop, and other junk food,.

    And benefits? How did they earn these benefits? The word benefit is being used quite lossely here, I think.
    Do they have records of the length of time people are receiving these ‘benefits’?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      When this money is dumped on a debit card like this, how do we track the spending? You’re right, how much of that inside the gas station money was for gas and how much was for junk food, toys and movies?

      And the ATM withdrawals…what happens after that? Strip clubs? Drugs? Groceries? We have no idea.

      • SusanBeehler

        When they were giving checks for TANF or “welfare” there was not any tracking of it all. One of my pet peeves, is the public is under the assumption these dollars are coming directly from a taxpayers pocket. Maybe some but the “TANF” program gets a big chunk of their funding from Child Support collections, they are coming from the non-custodial parents. Child Support back in the 90’s was drawing revenue to our state from federal programs and from custodial parents signing their “rights” (money) to child support, to the tune of collecting over $3 for every $1 collected in Child Suport.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          This is inaccurate. TANF funding comes from federal tax revenues. Funding levels are set, in part, based on a formula calculating child support collections, but child support dollars paid by parents go directly to parents.

          Once again, Susan, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • SusanBeehler

            You are correct they do have some federal funding but you are wrong about the child support unless they have changed the system since the late 90’s and only receive Federal Funding. The major changes came during the Welfare Reform Act . Child support does reimburse the TANF program for those recipients on TANF and pay back past recipients with “rights”. You might want to do so more research with child support agency and Human Services with the Federal laws and the state laws. I did alot of digging from around 1994 to about 2000. I don’t remember the exact year,but the digging may have lead to the director of Child Support Enforcement resigning and the head of Department of Human Services resigning.

          • opinion8ed

            Susan you are wrong admit it and walk away..

          • SusanBeehler

            Why are they giving these people cash? How do you pay your rent, your MDU, your babysitter? US Bank only allows so many cash withdrawals with their TANF cards. So how do you pay for what you need to care for your child?

          • Lianne

            How do I pay for rent? heat? etc? with a check? every heard of it? OR are these ‘victims’ not allowed to have such things as checking accounts?

          • Mike G.

            Child support payments go to the custodial parent, at least in Virginia. The state does however add a surcharge of about three percent to the none custodial parent’s payment which goes to the state. I know that for a fact because I paid support for two children for sixteen years.

          • SusanBeehler

            Every state can handle some things differently, federal law has allowed what I described whether or not Virginia does I don’t know. This is a federal law which allows child support to be collected to reimburse welfare, if the person never goes on welfare the money is supposed to go directly to the custodial parent, but they can make mistakes, if the Paying parent has no contact with Custodial parent, it might be making it to them. So if you are paying support or they have taken a tax refund for support It is a good idea to check to make sure your child got it.

          • Anti-NCAA

            Once again, Susan, you’re just tossing salad in the air. You provide no facts of data and you can only “not remember exactly” where the funds appeared from. You are delusional.

          • SusanBeehler

            So why would I want to toss you a salad? Here are the facts just the facts from the US Dept Human Services Family and Children division. As I have stated in my prior posts child support was intermingled with “welfare” back in the 90’s if it has changed in North Dakota, prove me wrong. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ocse/at_07_02a.PDF

            “When a family member applies for TANF assistance for or on
            behalf of the family/ she or he must assign to the STATE any rights to support the family members may have as a condition of receiving TANF-funded assistance.”
            Rights; if you ask, it is defined as “money”, the person’s child support will now go to the state to reimburse any welfare given and at one time it meant even what you were entitled to prior to receiving TANF.
            So people should stop whining like it is all coming out of your pocket, in North Dakota it is NOT, people paying child support if it is collected also goes to reimbursed the TANF they receive!

        • opinion8ed

          They received 5 billion dollars from the federal government in 2010 and they spent every penny of it. Obama signed a law giving states the authority to eliminate the need to work or seek work which was a requirement for this welfare. Why are they giving these people cash?

          • SusanBeehler

            Who is they? You can propagate going after the recipient or become informed to learn how the system works. If you do not like our laws the ND legislature is in session right now and you can go and tell them you do not want TANF recipients to get video rentals with their cards or whatever your “beef” is with how they use their card. Obama may have removed the requirement to work, I don’t know that for a fact but I do know in North Dakota there is requirements and working or seeking or training for employment is one of them Page 14
            http://www.nd.gov/dhs/info/pubs/docs/tanf-state-plan-revised-12-1-2010.pdf
            Prove I am wrong show me the document below is not real and the federal laws are not the law.
            http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ocse/at_07_02a.PDF
            When a family member applies for TANF assistance for or on
            behalf of the family/ she or he must assign to the STATE any rights to support the family members may have as a condition of receiving TANF-funded assistance.

          • opinion8ed

            No one except the handicapped should be getting TANF… We have under 3% unemployment. What I want them to do is get a flicking job like everyone else does!

          • SusanBeehler

            Many of them have jobs. Handicap get Social Security. You could be advocating absent parents supporting their children but you rather attack what you do not understand.

          • opinion8ed

            49% of them got pregnant while single. Are you telling me that single women who cannot even make a decision to be responsible enough to stop yourself from become pregnant are then somehow responsible enough to parent?

      • opinion8ed

        Great job Rob love what you do!

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Thanks!

          • Loony_MN

            I thought food stamps used to be used only for ‘nutritious food’ or had to be on an approved list of foods.

    • SusanBeehler

      TANF is the “welfare” card and SNAP is the food stamp card which cannot be used for cash. The amount of money of the “benefit” for a one “caregiver” (parent) and the child is $328 according to:

      http://www.nd.gov/dhs/info/pubs/docs/tanf-state-plan-revised-12-1-2010.pdf

      How do social security survivors (children) earn benefits? “Benefit” is the legal term what would you rather call it. The same document I noted above has the answer to your last question.

      • Lianne

        “Social security survivor” Why are SS ‘benefits’ being given out to kids of dead beat dads who are on disability r/t drug abuse. Dads who never paid one red cent into SS or for their child? The term Social security survivor is being used very loosely.

        • SusanBeehler

          I agree with you.

    • Eric Wittliff

      EBT(food stamps) is not TANF….. EBT only can be used on uncooked food… 100%

  • SusanBeehler

    Rob you are looking in the wrong spot for welfare abuse/fraud, if you want to find it look at the rules for receiving were the abuse will occur. It is when they are living with a boyfriend or other family member and not reporting it, where they are receiving CASH for services and not reporting it, where they are gambling and not reporting winnings, those are some of the areas where the abuse/fraud will occur. So read the report link I put in another post and look for other ways to find the “abuse”. TANF was under the old system you would not know where any of the money was spent. As far as saying this is what are welfare is going to paying for that is misleading and very simplistic thinking. If you want the dollar amount for each category, find out what the total dollar amount is and mutiply the percentage of each category. This is how the system works a person has child to care for (this can also be used for foster children) and they are recieving only about the equalivant of minimum wage they may qualifiy for TANF. Most landlords do not take credit cards so the rent will have to come out of their other income, MDU was charging a fee to use a credit card so that will have to come out of their other income, most babysitters do not take credit cards so they will have use their other income. These are major necessities when providing the needs of family yet none of them will show up on this card. Video Rental machines which is the way many get their videos now only accepts a card, so it would be logical a card they have would be used. They have children, children like watching movies and more than likely they cannot afford cable or some other movie system. All the rest can account for transportation to get to their jobs, buy diapers, toilet paper, medicines and all the other things a family needs.

    • sbark

      good idea……..why dont you spend your free time digging into that fruad, instead of wasting everybodies time on this forum……just give us a monthly report on your progress………….it could be kinda like a “anti- ACORN” effort.

      • SusanBeehler

        If Rob wants to dig, I was just telling him a better place to dig and one that could actually affect some change in the line item in the North Dakota budget. Otherwise what he is doing comes across as a shallow bash to vulnerable families.

    • Lianne

      “SusanBeehler whowon•25 minutes ago
      “Gambling was not confirmed in the expenditures and the only thing which could count as “fun” is the movie rentals”

      THEN she said, “Rob you are looking in the wrong spot for welfare abuse/fraud, if you want to find it,……..look where they are gambling and not reporting winnings

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        There are a lot of things not confirmed.

        That’s why DHS should give me more info.

        • Lianne

          Oh, Rob, I maybe misconstrued what she was implying. I admit, I feel like I am spinning as I read through her comments. I thought she was implying that gambling was NOT part of the entertainment expendictures but then told you to look at the abuse and fraud that is going on with gambling.

  • SusanBeehler

    We have Social Security survivor benefits if one parent dies and leaves children to be cared for. Are you digging around to see how those surviving parents are spending their Social Security check? Many times an SS check is far greater than what was ever paid into the system. TANF or welfare was put in place when moms or families could not provide or where left to provide for a child, also foster care uses TANF hence welfare than child support to help them. Both are “entitlement” programs.

  • whowon

    Thank you for all you do Rob, if only our elected “civil servants” would do the same. I know legislators read your blog, maybe it will spur them into action.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Thanks.

  • Guest

    What kind of hack would phrase the article title that way, since movie rentals comprise only a negligible part of the total? That’s be like saying Californian, New York, Texas, and North Dakota make up 26% of the US population. Including a much smaller outlier in there implicitly overstates it’s contribution to the number.

    Of course, even assuming none of the atm withdrawals are going to basic needs, around 70% of the money is going to basic needs like food, gas, and medicine. But a hack like Rob has to get his rapid conservative audience riled up with the most skewed headline possible. What a hack!

    • whowon

      “around 70% of the money is going to basic needs like food, gas, and medicine.” Really, so even if this was true, you believe 30% for gambling, movies and “fun” stuff is something they are entitled to? All States currently provide coverage for outpatient prescription drugs to all categorically eligible individuals and most other enrollees within their Medicaid programs.

      • SusanBeehler

        Gambling was not confirmed in the expenditures and the only thing which could count as “fun” is the movie rentals which is 4% of a family of two (328 x.04) is $13 bucks and that $13 bucks could have just as easy come from their job.

        • whowon

          World beyond mandan Susan. Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards have essentially replaced traditional food stamps in many states. While intended to aid the needy for food and basic needs, the NBC New York “I-Team” discovered that among more than 7 million ATM withdrawals using EBT cards, more than $95,000 was withdrawn in Atlantic City over the last two years, including from ATMs in casinos, and thousands were withdrawn from liquor stores and stripclubs in New York. Isn’t it illegal to use them at liquor stores? Noticed one in Bismarck that says “we accept EBT cards”. Will have to ask them if I go there again. Abuse is everywhere, Rob is simply trying to get the facts for our area.

          • Onslaught1066

            But, but, but, the only place these poor unfortunates have to cadge a meal is the fabulous Bayside Buffet at the Trump Marina Hotel and Casino.

        • Lianne

          Whose job?

        • LIanne

          So you are saying that their employment income is sent to the government to be included in their ATM debit card and therefore there is no way for any one to determine what part of employment income vs welfare income is spent where?

          • SusanBeehler

            No, I am not saying their employment income is sent to the government, their income is used in determining the benefit they receive. There is no way to determine what they spent on their employment income vs welfare unless you want to search their own personal bank account. Looking at what is posted above does not show all their expenditure not all sources of their income. All their money from all sources is used to pay for what their household buys, so if they choose to use the TANF card it is not necessarily what welfare is paying for and their income is not paying for. It just shows they chose to use the TANF card to make the purchase rather than using another form of payment they “might” have available. I am not sure if they get a separate card for child support or if they are also on TANF but most receipents if they are getting enough child support they will not be collecting TANF. It would be just like you choosing to buy a shirt with your debit card rather than the store’s credit card and than someone saying you did not buy the shirt at the store because it didn’t show up on the store’s credit card. You bought it you just didn’t use the source you thought they did to make the purchase. So to look at the “slice” of the expenditures is not necessarily a complete picture and percentages will be skewed. They could be using 80% of all their income for housing and the amounts you see above for other things, when you look at the total flow in and out it gives a different picture. Not all people collecting some TANF are sitting around, many are our working poor.

          • Lianne

            so TANF cards can be used for any arbitrary item and their paycheck for food, clothes, meds, drugs, alcohol, or other needs. Is that what you are saying?

            “Looking at what is posted above does not show all their expenditure not all sources of their income.”

            But it does show how they are using the TANF card.
            It certainly is worthwhile for futher research to see where our tax dollar is being spent, if reductions can be made across the board so that money can be provided for a larger population.

          • SusanBeehler

            No I am not saying “TANF cards can be used for any arbitrary item and their paycheck for food, clothes, meds, drugs, alcohol, or other needs.” I am saying those amounts above do not reflect all of what they need, where is the utility bill, where is the rent, where is the daycare? What is the difference if they use their money from their job or the TANF card? What expense above is out of line for a family? The reductions to be made are “peanuts” when you are looking at a recepeints TANF compared to the adminstration of the “government system” to give those payments out.
            It certainly is something which needs more research to see where the tax dollar is spent.
            What are you talking about “money can be provided for a larger population”? Are you saying you want to increase the numbers receiving TANF?

          • Lianne

            Are you saying you want fewer to receive TANF?

          • opinion8ed

            Why are they poor Susan? Since you seem to know every answer to every question why are they poor? High school dropout? Children without fathers? Drug and alcohol addicted parents? Generational welfare participants? Lets talk about why people are poor.

      • Guest

        Your assuming all that 30% is going to “fun” stuff which is fundamentally unsupported by what Rob posted. It could just as well be going to food stuffs or to provide further support a destitute parent. We just don’t know from what’s been given. States do provide some coverage for prescription drugs, but they are not wholly covered and there are still out of pocket expenses to be paid by poor families to obtain health care.

        • whowon

          never enough hand outs for you guestworker.

          • Guest

            Yes. Not wanting people to starve to death or making sure they have needed medicine makes me the real monster here.

          • Onslaught1066

            Got any fact to back up your load of crap?

            What am I saying?

            Of course you don’t.

          • Guest

            You don’t even make any sense, but what else is new? You want facts that I don’t want people to starve to death? How about you prove your not a complete fucking sh*thead?

            What am I saying?

            Of course you cannot.

          • Guest

            You don’t even make any sense, but what else is new? You want facts that I don’t want people to starve to death? How about you prove your not a complete fucking sh*#thead?

            What am I saying?

            Of course you cannot.

          • Guest

            You don’t even make any sense, but what else is new? You want facts that I don’t want people to starve to death? How about you prove your not a complete f#$cking sh*thead?

            What am I saying?

            Of course you cannot.

          • Onslaught1066

            Actually, what you want or don’t want is immaterial.

            What you can’t produce is an actual case were someone in these United States “starved to death” due to a lack of government hand outs.

            Do chime in once you have your elusive fact, won’t you?

          • Guest

            You demanded facts from a post where the only thing I claimed was I didn’t want people to starve to death, so what I want is the only thing that is material. If you want to be typical ‘tarded Shaton1066 though and discuss that, people don’t starve to death because of the safety net provided. Oh shaton1066, you’re such a sh*thead!

          • Onslaught1066

            If you have a fear that people are starving to death for lack of government hand outs, you must have some example, real or imagined, rattling around that empty cavern you call a head.

            You know, I don’t “want” people to die from being attacked by werewolves.

            That and a buck might get me a cup of coffee.

            if you do happen to stumble across a fact in your aimless wanderings, don’t be afraid to post it, M’Kay?

    • Hal513

      Rob 5
      hours ago in reply to bikebubba

      “Guest” is Hannitized, who is apparently too much of a douche bag to put his more odious comments under his regular handle.

      • Guest

        I am actually my own person, something Rob can tell by IP addresses, but not that it matters; the best retort you can comprise is incorrect guesswork about alternative identities. Thank you for your constructive admission that you have nothing substantive to counter my points (and also the laugh at how pathetically weak your reasoning skills are).

        • Onslaught1066

          Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

          • Guest

            That’s a good one! Shaton1066 having the capacity for thought; the very concept is hilarious!

          • Onslaught1066

            Not as funny as your penchant for conflating opinion with fact.

          • Guest

            Not as funny as your penchant for always decrying something as an opinion when it is a fact. Oh shaton1066, you’re such a sh*thead!

          • Onslaught1066

            If you don’t know the difference between facts and opinions, just say so.

            We’ll all understand.

          • Guest

            I certainly do, it’s just that your understanding is so skewed you can’t properly level that criticism.

          • Onslaught1066

            No, you don’t.

            And we all understand why you’re incapable of admitting it.

        • Hal513

          Hannitized, Proofs obsession Enigma_Cypher • 2 years ago

          “Who said anything about having the same ISP? You assume I have only had the same ISP. That’s your problem. I have access to multiple ISP’s and I can change them on a whim.”

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        Not every “Guest” is hannitized.

    • opinion8ed

      Why are we giving people free money when every store in town needs help? I say get off the couch, quit the dole and get a job. Be responsible for what you bring into this world. Why do these people think they are so special they can make poor decisions and the taxpayers will cover it?

      • SusanBeehler

        It is not “FREE” money. They are working. “Be responsible for what you bring into this world.” Yes and what about the over 700 without a parent caring for them what do suggest child slave labor?
        I bet you are some retired person drawing Social Security thinking you are better than the momma with a baby to feed?

  • RCND

    TANF = Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. It would also be interesting to know how “temporary” the assistance has become

    • SusanBeehler

      Do you ask the same of those with children who get Social Security survivor benefits? Or how about asking how much Grandpa paid into Social Security and how long he has been drawing it?
      Read about the program
      http://www.nd.gov/dhs/info/pubs/docs/tanf-state-plan-revised-12-1-2010.pdf

      • RCND

        Those are not temporary. Social Security is also a Ponzi scheme. I am paying grandpas benefits, just as he paid for his grandpas. The problem is there are more grampas than grandsons now.

        Stay on topic Susan… just one time

        • Lianne

          You are asking the impossible

        • SusanBeehler

          If the other parent walks out the door and doesn’t come back it is not very temporary. The problem is there are always have been people who are poor and who may have circumstances change which deals them an economic blow, we have two different ways of handling them based on age and the circumstances and the name of the program. They both are provided by our tax dollars one may directly benefit us personally more. Try and see the connection. Both government issued, both use tax dollars, both can help someone other then ourselves, called by different names

          • RCND

            I understand enough about these programs to know that they are good intentions gone astray. I don’t argue that there are needs, but discussion on reform is consistently stifled by reiterating there are those who do need the programs to the detriment that there is a greater need for reform. The baseline on this is relatively simple; when do people transition from being actual victims to choosing to remain that way because they are enabled to do so

          • SusanBeehler

            The discussion is open here. The important discussion needs to happen at the legislature because they have the power to change it. Do you know something about being a “victim”? I doubt it.

          • RCND

            Kind of a ballsy statement even for you. Yes as a matter of fact, but I took responsibility for myself not to let it define me or the rest of my life. Nor did I seek handouts.

          • SusanBeehler

            Good for you.

          • opinion8ed

            Yes it is called 49% of children being born to single moms… Not divorced, not separated, but single. Who do they think they are having kids that other people are forced to pay for? Why did they feel like they the chosen ones? I say anyone too dumb to use birth control or abstain from sex is too stupid parent.

          • SusanBeehler

            “Single” moms? You are a man aren’t you? Are you saying men are too dumb to use birth control or too stupid to parent so the moms have to raise them alone, if they don’t believe in abortion or believed the man would not leave them? Is this what you are saying Mr. OPINION8ed? You don’t have a clue, all you care about is YOU isn’t it? Less than 1% of our population is receiving TANF. Because if you had a clue you would know there is over 700 children without either parent being provided for by “TANF” and you would know the “TANF” cases are more than 95% children, you would know children cannot provide for themselves, you would know that only 45% are receiving support from the other parent and the rest must of had an immaculate conception because it is only one providing for the child with the help of “TANF”. Do you believe these children should have been aborted? So YOU almighty taxpayer would not have to think about providing for them, if the parents didn’t or couldn’t? You do know we are talking about providing for children, real living breathing children!
            http://www.nd.gov/dhs/info/pubs/docs/qtrly-budget-insight-july11-dec11.pdf

          • Chelcey

            I would like to give my 2 cents on this. Susan is correct that some states require the child support to be turned over to pay for state assistance and that men can and should use some form of birth control. However, with only 45% actually contributing toward their offspring the majority of the financial burden falls on taxpayers. As where men should use condoms it doesn’t take away the woman’s obligation to protect herself – only she can get pregnant and if she doesn’t want to have a baby she needs to not rely on a man for that. There is too much abuse in they system and there is no reason for many of them to even being collecting. I can’t speak directly for ND but I know several people that don’t get a better job because it would affect their benefits, don’t marry the father because of the benefit of not, have another child so the benefits don’t lapse. This is the problem. If you have a child and the father walks out so you are put in a position that you need assistance – fine – but this is temporary and doesn’t require several years of assistance. They also should have figured out with the first one how they got pregnant and they couldn’t afford it and shouldn’t have more putting more stress on not only herself but society.

          • SusanBeehler

            If there is too much abuse, where do you find those North Dakota statistics? How did YOU determine this? Chelcey it sounds like you may be spouting off about what you are seeing in another area. If you see abuse or fraud, report it. Putting all the blame on the “women”, really? Condoms fail, birth control fails and will power fails. Do you want them to abort the baby if they can’t afford it? Humans have sex and they get pregnant. Sometimes they truly trust their partner and believe till death do us part or I love you forever. The babies are here do you suggest we kill them because the mother did not abort them. What do you propose to do with children already here? What do you propose to do with poor decision makers in our country? Sterilize them, limit the births to one and make them abort subsequent pregnancies? The babies are here do you want to put them on the doorstep in North Dakota in the winter?

          • Chelcey

            I don’t understand why you are so angry or why you automatically jump to the abortion subject and murdering children but okay. I was upfront about my knowledge not being in regards to ND directly. It is not fraudulent to have babies you can’t afford for government benefits so how do I report that? The state knows they are on their fifth child. Yes condoms fail and so does birth control but they fail even more when you don’t even bother with them. How am I blaming women? I am simply stating that they are the ones left with the consequences so they need to rely on themselves instead of the word of a man. You make a bad choice and it ends with pregnancy it can happen to anyone – but the second, third, fourth… How long are we suppose to reward bad choices while punishing those who don’t? I am personally pro-life so we can drop how I want to kill all the babies and children of ND. I simply feel that there should be stricter guidelines. I wasn’t confrontational with you I simply disagreed and you became aggressive and extremely unpleasant. I hope whatever anger your harboring gets dealt with because your response to my comment was unreasonable.

          • SusanBeehler

            Sorry you felt I was being unreasonable. TANF is not a reward for bad choices. How are you being punished by those on TANF? If you are pro-life you could stand with me and say all life is worth living even if you have or need TANF to support your child. You are judging the label the propaganda such as this article you have bought into the stereotype of multiple children by multiple fathers,they are lazy, they should learn but what if they just are people, just a life trying to make its way in the world.
            I will tell you why I am anger about this; the “bad apples” spoils the rest in the basket, then you or others come along and insinuate all are “bad apples” and they should be trashed along with their “seed”.
            More than likely the majority on this blog are against abortion as I am. So now you have told theses “apples” they are “bad” and you smash them down, crushing them and saying you are “bad.” The “apple” believes it is “bad” they believe their destiny is the trash but in spite of this, the “seed” is scattered and the “apples” continue to grow, because that is what “apples” do; they grow. Some of those “apples” which are convinced they are “bad” cut their “seed” out because they do not want to spoil the rest. This attitude toward the “apple” helps the circle continue the problem they are damned if they keep their “seed” and damned if they cut their “seed” out.
            You do not want abortion to thrive, stop “demonizing” those who want to support their children. You got bad guidelines in your state go make a difference, get them changed but don’t assume they are bad until you have looked at the entire “basket”.

          • Chelcey

            I am not saying they are all bad, that is why I understand a need for the system but it seems that you are doing exactly what I am doing just on the other side. I am suppose to ignore the bad because there good and not have a problem with the system. You want me to look at the entire basket and I want you to as well. I understand people get hard up and need help, I also understand with working with the child care system that there is more than one bad apple and the bad apples,fair or not, do ruin it for the rest. What is wrong with limiting where they can shop and what they can buy? It is already happening in schools. It makes me angry when I see people with new iPhones and 200 dollar sneakers who can’t afford formula. Just think if we changed the rules and limited what could be purchased with state money some people might decided they want a better life than what the state can give them and work their way up leaving more benefits for those who truly need them. I am not saying they are all bad or that we should shut down the system I just want the money to go to those who truly need it and not ones that just know how to play the system.

          • SusanBeehler

            Go ahead figure out a cost effective system to limit where they can shop and what they buy. Your thinking is very simiplistic, go ahead and take a stab at it, go ahead and decide with some magical formula , a truly needy poverty meter, but you may want to know the system inside and out to figure out how you are going to change it. Where did the 200 sneakers come from, did they steal them, did they get them as a gift, if they have a new iPhone are they using someone elses or is it in someone elses name? You are assuming alot but go ahead, every state has public hearings give your advice, how will you determine who is real and needy, how will you determine they are NOT “posers” appearing “rich” and are dirt “poor”. Go to a hearing and make a difference. Figure out how they work the system and then you will know how to keep them from doing it.

  • yy4u2

    Just the way the disturbingly lax recipients like it.

  • spud

    Congratulations Rob on getting this information out for all. You would deserve an A+ for your homework if you were a student. As a farmer one of the worst things is everyone could look up our subsidies we have received through the years. I have always been against these “welfare” payments but yet I am bothered that my info is out there courtesy of the EWG while other people receiving benefits are cloaked in secrecy. Do not get me wrong farmers have not needed these payments for ages and I am and will always be grateful to my parents to have what I do while many others have little to nothing. In this day and age this information can easily be tracked and should be. There should be more oversight provided on use of these funds. It is almost a 50-50 breakdown on money spent on groceries and eating out. Insane.

    • SusanBeehler

      This is insane to assume by looking at this you know what is going on in this household budget.
      You state”It is almost a 50-50 breakdown on money spent on groceries and eating out.”
      Anyone getting TANF would also qualify for “SNAP” which is used to buy food,if they are using their welfare to buy groceries or a burger at McDonalds, it could mean TANF is purchasing non-food items like “butt” wipe or the SNAP is not enough and they need to use it to purchase more of your farm’s “products”. You dare to look at a welfare recipients while you get $1000’s and $1000’s in farm subsidy, I hope to God you did not use any of your farm subsidy to pick up a movie at the video store or buy “butt” wipe or buy a burger. Let’s dissect what you used your farm subsidy on; maybe a new diesel pickup? You dare criticize these individual TANF expenditures, and who is entitled NOW! You don’t like to be accountable and give kudos for going after some of the most vulnerable in our population. You need to get down off your “high” horse and walk a mile in some TANF shoes!!!!!!

      • DRO

        As a member of a farming family (who supports the subsidy going away) I will interject this which I often ask people: If farming is so easy and the benefits are so grand….why isn’t everybody doing it? Why are there families selling off their ag assets and moving on? The truth is that most people would not put in the hours or dedication that most farmers do. I’m sure most farmers would hire many of the able-bodied people on TANF if they were willing to get their hands dirty.

        • SusanBeehler

          I know farming is not easy but I find it outrageous to get the massive subsidy compared to the $328 for a child and their parent, pretty petty for a subsidized farmer to act all “righteous” you would think a farmer could empathize. Where do you think SNAP is coming from? It is in the farm bill. If being on “welfare” is so easy and the benefits are so grand….why isn’t everybody doing it? Why are there families struggling even though they have a job? The truth is that most people would not put in the hours or dedication that most single parents do when the other parent ignores their responsibilities. I’m sure many lone parents would take a job if the farm was close to their daycare, had place to live and the transportation to get to the farm and the physical ability to pitch a bale or whatever.

      • spud

        Lady you are complete idiot. Really you can justify anything to suit your purpose or politics. I laid out a complete trashing of farm subsidies. The spending of dollars at ATM machines is a legit argument. Those on TANF if they were willing could pull in good money at harvest time. Farmer’s pay well to get their product to the market. Welfare should be a program to pick someone up and give them a lift not what it is now which is a way of life. There has to be an end game to it. Idiots like you have used EWG info to attack farmer’s to think that we are not entitled to how govt. welfare subsidies are being spent on welfare is total bs on your part.

        • SusanBeehler

          A legit argument to withdraw cash out of ATM, really? How do you think they would pay their rent, their day care or utilities without withdrawing cash? They have to turn in the receipts for these. If you want to partner with Human Services for workers than approach them for this. TANF cases are less than 1% of our ND population and those receiving it: 95% are children it leaves you with the majority already in some kind of work activity. These are the working poor. Get educated. Go to the links I posted their is a time limit they can be on the program. http://www.nd.gov/dhs/info/pubs/docs/qtrly-budget-insight-july11-dec11.pdf

  • opinion8ed

    I had a cousin (whom I met once)who has a full fledged dropout drug addict who lived with his jobless mother who divorced his postal service father who collected disability for 30 because of depression caused by alcoholism. My cousin was put on social security benefits and what is now called Medicaid. He never paid one penny towards his own life and voted democrat when he was sober enough to vote. He was heard to say that it was in his best benefit to vote that way. He died from an overdose at 30 years of age while receiving cradle to grave benefits. Is the government at fault for funding his entire existence? If the government had cut him off would he have found a job or just killed himself earlier which would have saved the taxpayer?

    • wj

      And, we should note, not a TANF recipient.

      • opinion8ed

        His mother got it it was called AFDC

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I don’t think there’s any silver bullet. People who are bent on destroying their lives that way are probably going to do it regardless of what society does for them.

      But you do have to wonder, if he’d at some point been pushed off benefits to go and get his own income, would that have been the impetus he needed to clean up his act? How many people settle because they get just enough public assistance to get by?

      More than we’d like to think, I’m afraid.

      • opinion8ed

        I honestly believe that if he had not been coddled by the system and his family he might have had a chance. It is so sad that each of us gets one chance to leave a mark and this is what he did with his chance. He had state sponsored counseling, rehab 4 times, medicine to control his urges and nothing worked.. I think he really needed tough love not people who made excuses for his behavior. Some of the most cherished moments in your life come from pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone.

    • whowon

      happens so often yet the left thinks they are helping people.

  • VocalYokel

    “I spent most of my money on women and whiskey and just wasted the rest.”

    Willie Nelson

  • Patrick R. Pfeiffer

    I’m shocked-SHOCKED-that less than 20% of food-stamp welfare is actually spent in grocery stores. We just need the rich to pay more.

    • SusanBeehler

      They use their SNAP cards for food, the “TANF” is what can be used at groceries stores for diapers, shampoos and other personal care items. Read my post above it is not just “rich” supporting TANF it is the child support system. You read the headline and believe what you looking is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, when it is sensationalism. You see what you want to see.

  • devilschild

    We should be feeding these people…not giving them debit cards. By this I mean if they are hungry … here’s a bag food or a hot meal. Leaving this to their own devices is not working.

    • Onslaught1066

      Really?

      Got any examples you’d like to share of people in these United States “starving to death” due to a lack of government hand outs?

      • devilschild

        Yes really….this program has serious flaws. There should be only one choice … a bag of food or make it on your own.

        • Onslaught1066

          I like that second option for the able bodied and sound of mind.

          All the rest need help, not merely a hand out.

          • devilschild

            Helping someone who trulys needs it is why the program was started. But we have so many people abusing the current system. It needs to change. Rob’s numbers are proof of that.

          • SusanBeehler

            They are not proof of anything, except people on TANF may buy gas inside not at the pump, they get videos, they eat, buy medicine and shop at discount stores and they take out cash for other things they need. Oh my goodness they are so much like a “human”.

          • Onslaught1066

            So flinging a sack of burgers at ‘em is the way to root out the abuse?

            Good call, carry on.

  • whowon

    Medicare Paid Out $91.6 Million To Claims Made By Illegal Immigrants…no abuse, just don’t do anything…

    • SusanBeehler

      Do you even live in North Dakota you seem to spew only national crap? The article is about North Dakota.

      • whowon

        reality of the abuse of ONE program Susan, don’t live in a Mandan bubble.

        • SusanBeehler

          REALITY of this article does not show anything other than those receiving TANF make purchases at the same places most families do in NORTH DAKOTA. Don’t live on the National landscape and can’t see North Dakota as it is because you are so focused on the NATIONAL landscape. NORTH DAKOTA not Mandan.

  • SusanBeehler

    Why the purchases may be inside rather than outside at a gas station? It is because US Bank the TANF card provider puts a $75 hold for several days on any gas purchased at the pump when a card such as the one for TANF or child support is used.

  • Tait

    since this program is funded with our tax money — shouldn’t we be able to gain access to the data. I’m not saying the people collecting don’t need — but are we really helping them by giving them hand outs? There needs to be a time limit on how long you can collect etc. and drug testing as well

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      You’d think we’d have access to the data, and I should note that i’m not looking for personal information. I don’t want names and addresses or anything like that.

      I just want to know where the money is being spent. I think the taxpayers should be allowed to know that.

  • opinion8ed

    Why is that people who actually earn their money are attacked and those who live off other people’s work are catered too? Why do people be
    I’ve that they have the right to do whatever they want then bill those poor choices to someone else? Has anyone ever heard a WELFARE MOM say THANK YOU?

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