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Buying Sex Toys with Food Stamps? Libertarian Magazine Spreads Rumor of EBT Abuse

The rumor started with a local media report claiming that a Louisiana lingerie store was accepting benefit cards (EBT) for adult-themed purchases.

“We were told anything could be purchased there, with the food stamp card,” a woman who happens to work near the store said. “No child I know eats edible underwear.”

As the original WAFB report clarifies, however, food stamp money was never being used to purchase naughty lingerie or edible sex aids. Instead, eight months ago the local lingerie store started accepting EBT for purchases made with monthly cash benefits intended for non-food use (such as Temporary Aid for Needy Family and other programs). In Louisiana, like many other states, these cash benefits are accessed with the same card as used by food stamps, making it easy to wrongly assume that food stamp benefits were being spent on non-food items.

Yet, while the ‘woman at the mall’ who was the source of the original report may have reason to be confused when someone swipes their EBT card for non-edible purchases, even knowing the difference between cash benefits and food stamps issued on the same card did not stop Reason magazine’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown from launching into a rant in a recent blog.

“Looks like it’s edible underwear and jelly-bean flavored lube for dinner again tonight, kids!,” Brown decried before admitting that, the store in question was not, in fact, trading out sex toys for food stamps, but instead was able to accept cash benefits for purchases such as underwear and bras, an allowable purchase under the law.

Even with a lack of evidence that any child, anywhere, was being forced to eat lube for lunch or much on edible panties bought with federal benefits, Brown continued to reason that benefits tax dollars paid for were being abused and insisted “EBT benefits could also be used to purchase toys and novelties” at the store, using federal funds, as she explained, ‘for dildos’.

When Raw Story followed up with the store in question,however, it became clear the the EBT sex toy scandal proposed by Brown was merely the latest spin in the EBT abuse rumor mill, and like the previous claims food stamps were being traded for fetish items to feed the kids, it was decidedly false.

“We don’t accept that [EBT]  for adult toys,” a store employee explained, reinforcing the policy that cash benefits are not used for adult entertainment items. “No way.”

Photo Credit: Bondidwhat







About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.