LINK Card ID Legislation

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Some Illinois lawmakers are trying to find any way they can to cut back on the budget, including fraud prevention in state programs like LINK cards.

We’re told some users are selling the cards for drugs and alcohol ultimately abusing the system. Some feel a new proposal could save our state millions of dollars, but not everyone agrees it's fair.
"I don't want my face on my LINK card." Sade Owens relies on the government for nearly all her grocery store purchases the local mother says she wants to make sure her shopping trips are as private as possible.

However, a new law could soon require LINK user to have their picture on the card to prevent fraud.

"I think it will cause some difficulties for some people because you have some elderly people who aren't able to get transportation or move around or go to the stores for themselves. So they send someone else to do it. At times I can't go to the store for myself so someone will have to do it."

Co-sponsor of the bill, Representative Joe Sosnowski says 5-10% of the LINK card program is misused. He says the legislation could save taxpayers millions of dollars.

“This is a taxpayer funded program that is supposed to assist those most in need. So if somebody's taking that card and giving it to somebody else or selling it to somebody else, you know, I think the taxpayers demand accountability on those particular programs,” said Sosnowski.

One store owner says right now, he's not able to tell whether a card belongs to their person making the purchase.

"Because I've never had that experience, so I wouldn't know what they do with the LINK card. What they do with the LINK card outside or not, is none of my concern,” said Ahmed Saeed.

Sade Owens says she thinks it'd be good to stop fraud from happening, but says legislators must think about how this can hurt honest LINK card users like herself before taking any action.

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association says this legislation would be a nightmare for stores to enforce. At this time, Federal regulations require stores to treat LINK card customers the same as everyone else.

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