Photo ID On LINK Cards: Too Costly?

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Some Illinois legislators want to study how much it would cost to put photo identification on food stamp cards.

Advocates say photo IDs would prevent people from selling LINK cards for cash and from allowing other people to use the cards. Critics say photo IDs amplify a negative stigma about food stamps and will deter people from getting help.

A House bill now in the Senate would start a fact-finding mission about the feasibility of adding photo IDs to “LINK” cards, the state’s electronic benefits card.

A preliminary estimate from the Department of Human Services puts the price tag at $2 million to $4 million.

Illinois’ participation in the food stamp program grew 32 percent since 2007. That’s the fifth-smallest increase nationwide during that period.

The bill is HB161.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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