MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Data from the state Department of Human Services shows the number of older Minnesotans who use food stamps is on the rise.

Last year, a record 58 percent of eligible seniors in Minnesota were enrolled in the program. That's more than 50,000 people. And those ages 65 or older are now the fastest-growing segment of food stamp recipients in the state.

A decade ago, just one-third of eligible seniors were enrolled. The Star Tribune reports that outreach to seniors and a streamlined enrollment process have been some factors in the increase. In addition, the number of seniors has doubled since the Great Recession ended in 2009.

The increase also reflects a shift in attitudes toward the federal benefit, which no longer carries the stigma it did years ago.

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