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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Independence Card

Hey Joe!
I just learned something you probably know.  Maryland independence card offers a cash option!  You can use your card at an ATM!  A friend of mine works at North Walmart, and told me that a lady came in, bought 6 packs of gum in separate transactions at $1.03 each transaction, and collected $100 cash back each transaction from her Independence Card!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Then she used the cash to give $40 to her friend behind her for a poker game (they were very verbal), and bought a DVD player!!!!  
Maryland Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Welcome to the Maryland EBT card website!

EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer. The Maryland EBT Card is called the Independence Card. It is like a bank debit card that holds the Food Stamp and/or Cash benefits that are deposited into your EBT account each month. Once your benefits are deposited into your account, you can begin using them with your Independence Card. You can use your Independence Card at any store or ATM, in the United States, Guam and the Virgin Islands, displaying the Quest logo.

The Independence card is a safe and easy way to get and use your benefits. It’s safe - you can’t use your card without a PIN. And it’s easy - you can use it anywhere you see the Quest® logo, and every time you use your card, you get a receipt showing the amount of benefits left in your account.

You can use your card at the grocery store to spend your benefits and some grocery stores will give you cash back with your purchase. Before you begin your shopping, make sure that the store accepts the EBT Card and you know your 4 digit PIN.
What should I know about my Cash account?
  • You can buy non-grocery items with your Cash benefits, such as cleaning products, pet food, and paper products.
  • Some grocery stores will let you get cash from your cash account.
  • You can get your Cash benefits from any ATM displaying the Quest logo.
  • You may have to pay a surcharge at the ATM.
  • You will receive 3 free cash withdrawals per month. Additional cash withdrawals will cost you $.85 each.
  • Ongoing monthly benefits will be available from the 2nd through the 4th day of each month depending on the first letter of your last name. See the link to Issuance Schedules.
  • You can use your Independence Card even if your Cash case is closed as long as you have benefits left in your account.
  • Your benefits will be removed from your account if there has not been any financial activity (such as a cash purchase) on your account in the past 90 days. You will need to contact your local Maryland Department of Social Services office to have your benefits re-issued.
  • If you would like your cash benefits deposited directly into your bank account, contact your local EBT Office.
How do I use my card at the ATM?
  • Insert your card into the ATM.
  • Enter your PIN.
  • Press the button for WITHDRAWAL.
  • Press the button for CHECKING.
  • Enter the dollar amount.
  • If the ATM screen tells you that a surcharge will be charged and you do not want to pay it, cancel the transaction by pressing the CANCEL button and try another ATM.
  • Press the button for CORRECT to go on if the amount is right, or CANCEL to stop if the amount is wrong.
Independence Card Pamphlet HERE

If you do not use your benefit on the card, you can carry it to next month. If you are no longer eligible for benefits you can use the card as long as the money is on there!!! Can you say Disney World????

Unbelievable!

25 comments:

Canton said...

Witnessed two #1 Females purchase 2 bushels of crabs at a seafood store on Old Ocean City Road whilst I scoured the fish cooler for some bargain white fish. America is a great place!

Canton said...

....with their respective Independence Cards!

Carrie said...

i thought you had to have a cash benefit allowance, some people arnt able to do that that i know of.

Smallsbury_Steak said...

It's ironic that it's called the INDEPENDENCE card while the people using it are completely DEPENDENT on the tax payers of the U.S.!

McGruff said...

You know, they've done so much to 'de-stigmatize' welfare that it has removed any pings of conscience from the transaction.
The thing I can't understand is how ANYBODY could think this is a good thing to do to people.
The so-called 'stigma' of being on the public dole was the biggest incentive to get a job and get off of it.
Now they practically chase people down the street trying to get them signed up.
Not that they have to, with people pouring across our borders and going straight to the welfare line.
It just makes me want to barf.

Robin said...

someone needs to change this!!!!

Mim said...

First of all I am not saying what these people did or are doing is right. The money should be used to buy things you really need, like food and clothing or to pay your rent, electric, gas bills. I don't think you should be able to be on welfare forever. I think "welfare checks" and food stamps should be there to help people get back on their feet, not prop them up forever.

And I know there are plenty of people who abuse the system.

However - An Independence Card is not just for food stamps, it is also for AFDC (Aide to Families with Dependent Children)payments and in some cases Child Support Payments.

Years ago if you were enrolled in the AFDC program you would get a paper check which you would take to the bank, cash just like any other check, and then the money is yours to spend however you want. So being able to "withdraw" money from your account is not really any different. This is not a "new" thing, it has been like this for years.

You can only "take out" as much money as you have on your account.
You can not "over draw" an independence card. There is a limit and you can not exceed it.

As for carrying the balance forward, if I have 13 cents left on my card at the end of February I should be able to use that money in March. Do you know how hard it is to spend exactly 13 cents? People that depend on that money do not carry large balances on their accounts from month to month. People that abuse the system withdraw or spend that money right away so that nobody can see their balance is getting higher.

And as for using the money after my benefits expire - If I get my benefits on the 4th of the month, get a job on the 6th and my benefits stop on the 7th I should be able to keep the money I got on the 4th to help me make it to my first paycheck from my new job which I probably would not get for at least 2 weeks.

There are no restrictions on what you can and/or cannot buy with the "cash account" on an Independence Card. Should there be? Probably. But who gets to decide what you can and can not buy? What is a neccessity for me might not be for you.

With Food Stamps there are some restrictions. You have to buy food items. You can not get "cash back" from your food stamp account. The food can not be cooked or "prepared" ahead of time. So that bushel of crabs is perfectly legal as long as they were not cooked. If that person really needs food stamps are there better ways they could be spending that money? Yes. But technically they were not doing anything wrong.

The fact is that a lot of people that get food stamps and/or AFDC need the money to pay for the bare necessities of life. The money they receive does not even last until the 15th of the month much less the end or into the next one. Many of them are going through a temporary set back of losing a job, medical problems, divorce or any other number of things.

Yes there are a lot of people who abuse the system. And to somebody who does not know the details it looks like some of these people may be abusing the system. But maybe those purchases were for a special occasion or a "once in a blue moon" splurge that would not happen on a regular basis. It is very easy for us to judge other people.

Just think what other people are thinking about you!

Robin said...

I just talked to someone who works at Food Lion and was told that epople withdraw it and buy lottery tickets with it..apparrently this was originally meant for diapers, etc, but why not do like WIC does..WIC approved....or EBT approved..I have a flex-spend card for my health insurance at work..this is MY money taken from MY paycheck, and it is monitored closely. If one penny is unaccounted for then my card if FROZEN! ..and thsi is MY MONEY..not a grant, loan, or government assistance. If they require the money to be accounted for this would be of great benefit...showing diapers purchased, etc..there has to be a way

pop pop said...

If you need to purchase a special occasion or once in a blue moon item here is your answer.
GET A JOB LIKE THE REST OF US!!!!!!!!!!

Canton said...

@ Mim,
You sound like a very reasonable person by what you stated in your post and your facts are correct. I most especially agree that this should be temporary and not used to 'prop them up forever'. To that end I can support in concept. However, what was good in concept has become a way of life for far too many...that is the part that must stop.

Oh, by the way, BOTH bushels of crabs were steaming when they exited the store!

Robin said...

Hey..I have family who abused the system..my uncle is no longer alive, but he was a classic. When anyone asked "How is Doug?" My dad always said he's working for government..that's where he draws his check from, so that must be where he works. I get a check from where I work, so he must be doing the same...hehehe. Goooo Pop-Pop!

milkrunner said...

Also if you ever get child support the state takes back the money they gave you before you get any support

Daddio said...

The "safety net" is fast becoming a "hammock"

Time to cut the strings ...

groundrush said...

I was behind a woman at Wal-Mart. She had steak and shrimp and all kind of nice good eating food on the checkout. She was dressed real well. gold everywhere. I had bread hot dogs and ground beef on my check out. She pulled out an Independence card to pay for her food. She probably loaded it in an Excursion. My tax dollars at work. Yourwelcome lady!

lastword said...

1:31 PM

One of the rare intelligent posts.

Robin said...

So, who do we contact about this one? Senators? I guarantee you 90% of Marylanders are clueless about this. We just accept it, tuck our tails between our legs, and keep forking over the taxes from our PAYCHECKS! I am trying to raise 2 children without child support (still in the works but it has been 8 months) and cannot get assistance...It's not like I make $20/hour. With childcare this is nearly impossible! How do we change this one? Any ideas? I thought it was supposed to be there for those of us who NEED it for daily necessities...I can't even get reduced lunches for the kdis at school!!!!!!!!!! They brown-bag it, which is cheaper than paying the $2 per child per day, and healthier too, so that is fine with me, but I did not qualify for food stamps or energy assistance. Seriously, who do I contact?

Al in Fenwick said...

I challenge anyone who has commented that is a Government employee to please identify themselves. The Private sector also provides funding to this group. Where do we stop in telling others what to spend whatever income they receive? If they should not receive it, it is not their fault. Your elected officials make the decision as to who gets aid.

Some may be behind some commenters in this group using a Federal Credit Union card to pay for their goods. Is that wrong too?

I'm just suggesting that empathy may be more appropriate when you see something, don't know the circumstances, and see the work Independence on their DEBIT card.

lastword said...

9:02 PM

Hey, another one. Good job.

Robin said...

@ Al..I am not a government employee, and this is all news to me..I learned something, i was astonished, and I commented..freedom of speech, right? Well... Instead of wondering when stop telling them how to spend my earned money, why not wonder when we START telling them how to spend my money and yours? Are you saying that as long as they qualify that they can spend it unconditionally? That is what this cash back thing is allowing right? There should be accountability required to show how the money is spent, and if it is spent on electronics, steamed crabs, etc...then disqualify the benefits. Use it right or lose it. I'm not suggesting the entire program be dropped, but stop the bleeding...and it seems as though there is one heck of a bleed going on here...amen? The program obviously was put into force with good intentions..ever heard the saying "the road to hell was paved with good intentions?"

lastword said...

9:01 PM


http://mlis.state.md.us/

Robin said...

@8:53pm
You don't think the idea of getting a job like the 2:51 was intelligent? taking care of your own is primal..of course maybe not intelligent..hmmmmm maybe we're stupid for actually poking our noses out the door in the freezing weather or 100 degree heat to go to work emptying other's trash to make a living, paving roads so people who are receiving the cash back benefit can put gas in their car to drive on them. All the while others get paid to stay inside. God Bless the Child who has his OWN! I am proud to be stupid then! and if that's what people want to think of me, then I'd rather be a trash collecting employee, service person, burger flipper, roof layer, teacher, construction worker, watermen or anything else making my own way than to be known as the one who "worked for the government" like my Uncle did! I loved him, but did not respect him. That's what I see!

lastword said...

10:16 PM

You just don't get it and I'm too tired to explain.

You sound as if you may be a little tired as well. G'night

Karen said...

I live in Delaware (Sussex County). I was laid off from a company in Salisbury, MD on 10/24/08. My Maryland UI benefits ran out on 5/4/10!

I have been searching for jobs that I am physically able to do but to no avail, I still have not found one.

I went to Sussex County (Laurel's) Social Service Office and applied for Medicaid, Food Stamps and TANF. Because I do not have children, I could only receive Medicaid and Food Stamps. At the time, my husband was on a Seasonal Lay Off so our Food Stamp amount was a big help. Delaware does not have an "Independence Card"! As soon as my husband went back to work, they dropped my Medicaid and lowered the Food Stamp monthly benefit. This, I was expecting, yet the Medicaid? I am a Type 2 Diabetic and so is my husband. They expect you to eat right but yet fresh fruits and vegetables are not cheap...You ALL know that!
These states need to realign the guidelines in which we live in today. They need to lower the limitations regarding "Poverty" level.

@MIM, If the Independence Card is given to those who receive "Child Support Payments", then the State of Maryland NEEDS to have 2 cards. One for STRICTLY CS and the other for Food Stamps and strictly monitored. I cannot receive cash back off of my EBT card in Delaware!
I have a lot of issues with the way that the State of MD "creates" these policies and regulations!!
The people that KNOW how to abuse the system will continue to do so! All this, while all MD Taxpayers are having their hard EARNED tax dollars not being spent properly.

There is A LOT of work that needs to be done to the "welfare" system for quite a few states.

This "Independence Card" that the State of MD issues is a JOKE! Period!

Kekey said...

“Ignorance is bliss”~ Most of you that have made comments about the welfare system in relation to “scamming taxpayers” are obviously too narrow minded to think of the large portion of military families that use this service. Even though you may consider yourself a good example of living the American dream, we are still at war and there were heroes that had planned to be alive today to care for their families. Do you realize that the bases/forts are now apart of the real world by establishing privatized housing? Did you know that due to inflation across the nation makes living off base more affordable? Can a Purple Heart be cashed in for a more stable life for a now without a significant other? There will always be a party that will attempt to abuse the system just like a priest in a Catholic church or a dirty cop. If you’re going to add your pathetic two cents, then make sure you come correct with the statistics that will provide accountability for the rest of the ninety-eight. I am simply trying to prevent you from making yourself 'appear' stupid. Do not further prove me correct by trying to come up with a outwitting rebuttal .

Anonymous said...

And just for the record the people who recieve assistance in the state of Md have to show proof of what they will be using the money for they go through a whole process and i know because they have helped me. And just for the record i work hard for mine always have but its not enough to make ends meet so if your mad because you do not get assistance then get off your high and mighty ass and go apply and stop complaining about people trying to make ends meet for their family