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Number Losing Aid Is Disputed

September 01, 1997|PATRICK J. McDONNELL

Although it is clear that multitudes of legal immigrants will lose food stamp benefits starting today, the exact number remains a matter of considerable dispute.

Los Angeles County, with the nation's largest foreign-born population, estimates that 97,000 noncitizens will be cut off. That projection excludes 30,500 minors and 1,500 people age 65 and older who will continue receiving food stamps under terms of the state-funded replacement initiative approved by the Legislature and signed into law last month by Gov. Pete Wilson.

But the state Department of Social Services says only about 80,000 will lose food coupons statewide, including Los Angeles County.

Behind the glaring discrepancy are disputed state projections for how many recipients will undergo naturalization by today or will otherwise remain eligible for benefits based on limited exemptions.

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