More problems with EBT cards

EBT stands for ‘Electronic Benefit Transfer’.  The system has been used in several US States and the general approach has a fairly consistent record of messing up the administration.  It’s not astonishing, then, to read a report about an audit in Pennsylvania,  which found that 2324 dead people received benefits last year.  The audit is 114 pages long, much of it in repetitive appendices,  and it may not be your leisure reading of choice, but there’s a brief press report here.  The breach arguably isn’t that bad numerically, given that there are nearly two million cardholders – but this is only one possible category of misuse.  What this audit is really about is trying to devise procedures to plug the gaps that the discrepancy has revealed.

This kind of problem is fairly predictable – I’ve criticised the approach several times on this blog.  Financial institutions and banks generally know where the vulnerable points are in their security, and over the years they’ve developed familiar processes to reduce the problems.  Alternatives to money, such as EBT cards, come with none of those protections, and that’s why reports like this have to be written to develop them.

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