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The Boston Globe


Tech barriers impeding checks on banned welfare purchases

FITCHBURG — The state’s welfare department still does not have the technological capability to prevent recipients from using electronic benefits transfer cards to buy such items as tobacco, pornography, and vacation services, Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz said Thursday.

The Legislature banned such usage in a July 2012 law after a series of embarrassing disclosures of prurient purchases, but technological barriers remain for the agency overseeing the effort, the Department of Transitional Assistance.

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