JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri State Auditor's Office told KOMU 8 News Thursday it suspects people are abusing the EBT Program run by the Department of Social Services.
EBTs, or Electronic Benefit Transfers, are cards given to people who receive welfare benefits. They are used just like debit cards. The auditor's office wants to make sure the $113 million the state receives for this program is spent appropriately. It is worried that people are using EBTs to buy illegitimate products such as alcohol, tobacco or adult entertainment.
The goal of the audit is to see if the Department of Social Services has policies enacted specifying what people can and cannot buy with their EBT.
"Our goal is not police the retail stores selling these products that people aren't supposed to be buying, but instead make sure DSS has policies in place that talk about what is appropriate to purchase." Deputy State Auditor Harry Otto said.
Otto also said that even though the abuse of the EBT's is not new, the penalties for abuse will become more strict starting in February 2014.
The Department of Social Services refused to comment about the audit.
The audit's results will not be available for another two to three months.