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California fined millions for food stamp mistakes

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The federal government has fined California $62.5 million for making too many mistakes in handing out food stamps last year, following a record $114 million fine for the same problem in 2001.

California's 14.8 percent error rate was nearly double the national average of 8.26 percent, according to a letter from Eric Bost, the U.S. Agriculture Department undersecretary who oversees food and nutrition services.

The state issued more than $172 million in coupons to recipients who were not entitled to them and did not give $79.5 million to others who were entitled, Bost said.

California, which provides more than 1.7 million people with food stamps, has struggled for years to improve its track record. Its error rate was 17.4 percent in 2001.