BOSTON (AP) — A new agreement will allow state welfare officials and local law enforcement to investigate allegations of trafficking in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits.

State officials including Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz plan to announce the agreement on Monday with James Arena-Derosa, the northeast administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food and nutrition service.

The federal SNAP program was formerly known as Food Stamps.

Officials say the agreement will strengthen program integrity and protect benefits for those who need them. It stems from an action plan developed by the state Department of Transitional Assistance earlier this year after reports that pointed to widespread fraud and waste in public benefits program.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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