The Illinois House Public Benefits Subcommittee rejected a proposal which would ban individuals who obtain a Link card from purchasing items such as lottery tickets and alcohol. State Rep. Mike Bost sponsored the legislation and presented the bill before the committee on Wednesday.
Bost introduced the legislation after local law enforcement notified him of an individual that withdrew cash from their taxpayer funded Link card in order to bail themselves out of jail. The Link card is funded by the state of Illinois, otherwise known as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program.
“A Link card is intended to be used for basic needs such as food and water, not alcohol and lottery tickets,” Bost said. “Local law enforcement has even told me they have encountered an instance where a person has used the cash from their Link card to bail them out of jail. This is just absurd, a Link card funded by the taxpayers should not be used to bail people out of jail.”
House Bill 2784 would prohibit individuals from purchasing items with their Link card such as alcohol, lottery tickets and tobacco. TANF is intended to provide financial assistance to help pay for basic needs such as food, shelter, utilities and expenses other than medical. Currently, a person can use the Link card to retrieve cash back at a grocery store or by using an ATM. The average TANF cash grant statewide is $242 a month.
House Bill 2784 failed to receive approval in House Public Benefits Subcommittee by a vote of 1-2.