Kansas welfare recipients now can only withdrawal $25 per day from ATMs and the fees still remain

It will now cost those who receive welfare in Kansas more money to withdraw from ATMs with only a $25 limit per day.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the legislature places a daily cap of $25 on cash withdrawals beginning July 1, which will force beneficiaries to make more frequent trips to the ATM to withdraw money from the debit cards used to pay public assistance benefits.

What’s their reasoning? Well, the state legislature was concerned about beneficiaries withdrawing their entire benefit amount at once and spending it extravagantly. Many, if not all, ATMs only function in $20 amounts, which effectively limits withdrawals to $20 in everyday occurrences. While this may sound not only unreasonable, but almost infeasible to pass in our modern legislative districts. It is assuredly real and the significance cannot be overstated. An average of over $30 in fees could be accumulated by just one person attempting to withdraw the $400 allotted in benefits per month. This provision restricting withdrawals was attached to a larger bill regarding what welfare recipients are allowed to do with their allotted benefits. Lawmakers wanted to ensure recipients were not wasting the federal money available through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families(TANF), which unlike food stamps or housing assistance, provides parents and children funds they can use for all kinds of purchases.  

The average recipient of this is a single mother of 2, but legislators are claiming data from withdrawals show past discrepancies in uses. State Sen. Caryn Tyson, the initial proposer of the $25 limit, told the Ottawa Herald, 

There are actual reports posted as to where the ATMs were that cards were used by Kansas residents and that beneficiaries were using cards at liquor stores, cigarette shops, strip joints. Casinos was another. There was a $102 withdrawal from a person in Colorado at a Rockies baseball game. We don’t know that they spent it on the game, we don’t know what they spent it on, but the ATM was at the Rockies facility. Another one was on a cruise.”

There is not much clear evidence to advocate these claims, yet there is much more evidence showing that it is a difficult burden for most recipients to even reach an ATM for withdrawals. Typically, banks do not put them in dangerous neighborhoods, which tend to be within the confines of low-income areas that these individuals live. Reaching an ATM without a vehicle or travel aide severely cuts down the ease of being able to make withdrawals, fee applied or not, for these groups. Having to withdraw funds is not only a difficult task to complete on a daily basis but detrimental to their livelihoods.

-Curt Cramer (@CurtisRemarc)