Thousands of Washingtonians received food stamp benefits last year -- despite being deceased.

More than 1,700 food stamp cards were used last year to buy food even after the original recipient had died, according to an audit by Washington's state inspector general of Department of Social and Health Services records.

This error cost state taxpayers nearly half a million dollars, according to KING 5 News in Seattle.

More than 2,800 Washingtonians also used Social Security numbers of deceased people to qualify for welfare benefits, which cost taxpayers another $9 million last year, the report found.

Using fake Social Security numbers for welfare benefits also added $26 million to the state bill, the report also revealed.

Both DSHS and the office of Washington state auditor refused to comment to KING 5, saying the audit is not yet finalized.

The figures are currently being reviewed by DSHS for accuracy, according to a spokesperson, before the final report comes out in August.

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