NASHVILLE, Tenn.- There is a new push to stop welfare recipients from spending tax dollars in certain places like strip clubs, but some think the new federal law is useless.
Under the current welfare program some recipients get what's called a cash benefit every month - anywhere from $200 to a $1,000. A new federal law is pushing Tennessee and other states to come up with policies to keep welfare recipients from spending this cash in strip clubs, casinos and liquor stores.
A recent report from a congressional committee discovered people were using welfare debit cards to withdraw thousands of dollars from ATMs inside casinos, strip clubs, and liquor stores. As a part of the new Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act every state must now make sure that welfare debit cards can't be used in places like liquor stores or gambling establishments.
"If they out spending their money gambling and stuff, the kids are doing without something and that's what the money is for, is to take care of the kids, so if they are out gambling something is not getting taken care of," said Nashville resident Tamarsa Martin.
Food stamps pay for food and welfare cash is supposed to be for non-food necessities and many agree that's the way it should be, but other question how this new law will be enforced. Detractors said that although lawmakers might be able to make sure people are unable to their welfare debit cards in certain businesses, they don't believe there is a way to police were the money taken from ATMs goes.
"It's politicians, they sitting in the office, they don't know what's going on in the real world, there's going to be a way around it, there's always going to be a way around it, cause they don't know what's going on in the real world," said Nashvillian Bob Davis.
States like Tennessee have until 2014 to make sure strip clubs and liquor stores are following the new federal legislation. If they are found to be non-compliant states could see a loss of millions of dollars in federal assistance.
Officials with the Tennessee's Department of Human Services, the agency that handles welfare benefits, said they are still in the early stages of implanting the new law.