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Rural Minnesotans missing out on food stamps

Minnesotans, many in rural areas, missed out on $172 million in federal food stamp funds last year because they lack knowledge about the program and face a complicated application process, a new report claims.

"The worst participation is in our rural areas and rural counties," said Jessica Webster of the Legal Services Advocacy Project. "We need to increase awareness of the program."

In light of the Legal Aid report released Tuesday, a group of Democratic lawmakers proposed shortening the food stamp application and preventing the state from freezing food stamp users from the program if they don't use it for three months.

Lawmakers also want the Legislature to increase funding for Minnesota food shelves, which they said have seen a 45 percent increase in visits. That is in part a result of Minnesotans not signing up for the federal food stamp program.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.