RI ACLU Re-Staffs Hotline for Food Stamp Complaints Related to UHIP
Friday, November 17, 2017
ACLU of Rhode Island announced that it is re-staffing a telephone hotline for people to call if they are having trouble with their food stamp (SNAP) application getting processed due to the problems with UHIP.
The ACLU is emphasizing that the hotline is only for SNAP application processing delay complaints, and not for unrelated problems involving SNAP or for UHIP problems involving other state issues.
The hotline number is 1-877-231-7171.
Staff will take contact and other information from callers and forward them along to the attorneys for the plaintiffs for possible expedited resolution.
If the caller receives voice mail, they should leave their name and phone number and confirm that the complaint involves a UHIP-related SNAP processing problem.
The hotline is a supplement to a pending class-action lawsuit filed last year by the ACLU and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, charging that the ongoing UHIP system failures violate the constitutional and statutory rights of Rhode Islanders entitled to timely decisions on their SNAP applications under the law.
In February, a court order in the case established a timetable mandating improvement every month in the agency’s processing of SNAP applications and provisions of timely benefits. The court order also mandated that the plaintiffs be given a monthly report on the agency’s level of compliance with those benchmarks, with full compliance scheduled to be achieved by August 2017.
However, according to the ACLU, the agency has never come close to reaching the benchmarks, and stopped issuing monthly reports because the data was unreliable.
In light of the situation, U.S. District Judge William Smith appointed a “special master” earlier this month to help address the current state of affairs.
Federal law requires the state to decide SNAP applications within 30 days from the date the application is submitted.
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