In 2013, $4.5 million in Massachusetts welfare benefits were spent in Florida, CBS News reports.
A Massachusetts State representative, Shauna O'Connell, has been trying to get a law passed limiting the use of the welfare EBT benefits cards to Massachusetts and neighboring states, but she hasn't succeeded:
"It's not just Florida," she said. "It's in Hawaii, California, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, that people are spending their taxpayer EBT money."
Since October of last year, DTA [the state's "Department of Transitional Assistance"] has shut down the EBT accounts of 3,457 people who the agency determined were actually living out-of-state and collecting Massachusetts benefits. 871 of those cases were in Florida.
One can imagine a legitimate case in which a Massachusetts welfare recipient had to go visit an ailing relative in Florida, or traveled there for a job interview. But the combination of generous welfare benefits and stagnant middle class wages create the climate for politicians to make an issue of this sort of thing, as Bill Clinton did when he ran in 1992 promising to 'end welfare as we know it" and as Ronald Reagan did in the 1970s by talking about a Cadillac-driving "welfare queen."