Some welfare recipients in Massachusetts will see their electronic benefit accounts closed by the state. That's after reports of some recipients carrying balances of thousands of dollars from month to month.

Department of Transitional Assistance Commissioner Stacey Monahan says recipients with cash balances over $1,500 will be notified to see if they still need that assistance. She says electronic benefit transfer cards with balances over $2,500 dollars will be closed.

“When the governor appointed me, he gave me a mandate to do a top to bottom review of the agency and to fix any policy issues or procedures or anything we’re finding at the department that we can be doing better," Monahan said. "And this is one of those things."

The department also plans to scrutinize food stamp recipients who have balances in their accounts. Unlike the cash benefits, the state is not allowed to put a limit on how high food balances can go. Money in those accounts cannot be converted to cash.

The changes follow a Boston Herald report that nearly 2,000 food stamp recipients are carrying high balances on their cards. One recipient was carrying a $12,000 balance. The leftover balances mean some cardholders are going months or even years without using their accounts.

Gov. Deval Patrick says state caseworkers will comb through what he calls the relatively small number of high balances.

"Not in every case does that mean there’s been fraud, but it certainly raises questions," he said. "The people who are eligible for these benefits are in many cases the poorest of the poor, so having an accumulated balance raises issues."

For example, Patrick says, some people could have been in the hospital, not needed to use their welfare benefits, and seen the balances rise.