Claim: Photograph shows a grocery receipt for steak and lobster purchased with food stamps.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, May 2011]
Doesn't this give you a warm fuzzy knowing those who have to solicit governmental assistance are able to eat well this weekend...
The card should be limited to beans, rice, milk and fresh veggies.
Origins: In June 2011 this image of a grocery receipt reportedly found in the parking lot of Angeli's County Market (in the town of Menominee, Michigan) was widely circulated on the Internet, supposedly documenting a $141.78 purchase of six lobsters, two porterhouse steaks, and six
As it turned out, the receipt was genuine. But regardless of how dismayed many viewers might have felt about the use of food stamps for such luxury foods, the purchaser's use of a Bridge Card to buy lobster, steak and Mountain Dew did not violate any existing laws or rules.
However, the purchaser (who had used his girlfriend's EBT card) didn't quite get off scot-free. He was arrested not for making disallowed purchases with food stamps, but for turning around and re-selling the foodstuffs he had bought with the stamps to someone else for 50% of their original retail price:
Cuff, who allegedly used a Bridge Card to buy the stuff and then sold it for
While some speculated that the receipt was fabricated, or doctored, Mike Jankovich, general manager of the company that runs the store, said all along it was authentic. The cooperation of store employees led authorities to Cuff.
Jankovich bristled at the suggestion by some that his clerk should have refused to allow the extravagant order on a Bridge Card. He pointed out that his employee had no right, under food assistance rules, to nix the transaction.
DHS spokeswoman Gisgie Gendreau wrote: "While federal guidelines allow for food assistance to be used to buy (lobster, steak and Mountain Dew), these purchases go against the intent of the program, which is to provide help to those who are truly needy."
Last updated: 23 April 2015
Schneider, John. "State Files Felony Charges on Bridge Card Misuse." Lansing State Journal. 7 June 2011.