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State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer is lending his support to a bill designed to limit welfare fraud in New York State.

“We’ve passed one in the Senate which is a common sense program which says if you are receiving cash assistance through the electronic benefit card, you can’t use this to buy booze, you can’t use it to buy cigarettes, you can’t use it to buy lottery tickets,” he said. “You can’t go into a casino or liquor store and take out cash because the likelihood is you’re going to use that cash to then gamble or to buy booze.”

Under a law signed by President Obama last year he says, each state is responsible for creating a fraud prevention program. Ranzehofer says without passing the Public Assistance Integrity Act, the state risks losing 5 percent of its allotment, or $120 million.

Ranzenhofer says it’s about saving taxpayer money but also said that abuse of the system adversely affects people who responsibly depend on it.

“That would be devastating to the people that depend on this program across Batavia and LeRoy and Pembroke – for people in need. People need this money,” he said.

New Yorkers can use electronic benefit cards to assist in paying for energy, food, and housing.

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