Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

Electronic Benefit Transfer System

In New York State, public assistance benefits and food stamp benefits are provided electronically through an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) system administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). The system was implemented in New York City in 1999, before it was made available in the rest of the State. We examined the implementation of the system in New York City and found that a number of improvements were needed. In particular, even though benefits are supposed to be provided to clients free of charge, some clients were paying significant surcharges at certain ATM machines. For example, during January and February of 2000, these surcharges exceeded $1.3 million. We identified weaknesses in the EBT training provided to clients and others associated with the implementation of the system, which could account for some of the surcharges, and recommended that the training be improved. We also found that improvements could be made in other aspects of OTDA’s oversight of the two contractors responsible for operating the EBT system.

For a complete copy of Report 99-S-51 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.