State health officials settle with federal government for $7M after food stamp claims

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MADISON — State health officials have agreed to pay the federal government nearly $7 million to settle allegations that they artificially decreased food stamp error rates to collect bonuses.

Federal prosecutors issued a news release Thursday, April 13th saying the state Department of Health Services, acting on a consulting firm’s advice, implemented new procedures that resulted in the agency over-scrutinizing food stamp claims. That in turn lowered the agency’s error rates, resulting in more bonuses from the U.S. Department of Agriculture between 2009 and 2011.

Prosecutors called the vetting procedures improper and biased.

A DHS spokeswoman had no immediate comment.