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Minnesota ranks high for indicator of food stamp fraud

MINNEAPOLIS — Food stamp recipients in Minnesota are more likely than those in many other states to ask for a benefit replacement card.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture considers that a key indicator of food stamp fraud. The department has proposed rules that would allow states to crack down on recipients who make an excessive number of claims for replacements due to lost or stolen cards. The USDA says the cards are sometimes trafficked for cash.

Nearly 3 percent of about 535,000 people receiving food stamp benefits in Minnesota have asked for four or more replacement cards. That puts the state fourth in the nation.

The Agriculture Department wants to allow states to demand formal explanations from people who seek replacement cards more than three times a year. Those who don't comply can be denied new cards.

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