Department of Social Services: State food stamp reports inflated

Monday, December 14, 2009 | 5:58 p.m. CST; updated 6:11 p.m. CST, Monday, December 14, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri is acknowledging that it has overreported the state's number of food stamp recipients to the federal government.

The Department of Social Services said Monday that a computer programming error has resulted in inflated figures since 2002. For example, the agency reported more than 1.1 million food stamp recipients in September. It now says that number may be closer to 850,000.

The department says the error did not result in any ineligible people receiving benefits.

But it may have played a role in millions of dollars of bonus payments Missouri has received over the years for enrolling a high percentage of eligible participants in food stamps.

It was unclear Monday night whether Missouri could face financial repercussions because of the error.

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