Glitches in integrated benefits system causes continued problems

PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — Thousands of Rhode Islands are will waiting for their State Supplemental Income payments. 

The Call 12 for Action team has learned that this not the only benefits problem happening in state government; at least one child care center is also waiting for thousands of dollars from the state and can’t enroll new clients.

These issues are thanks to two glitches in the state’s new integrated benefits eligibility system, the $364-million Unified Health Infrastructure Project, which went into use last month and is the largest IT project in state history.

The R.I. Department of Health Services has apologized for the issues and said that staffers are working to resolve them.

Lori Lanoue owns Creative Child in Coventry. She said she had to turn away four families because the state’s new child care assistance portal isn’t working.

“We can’t access the system to enroll children whatsoever … and we do not know where the process is talking us … it’s crippling,” Lanoue said.

The same computer glitch has prevented Lanoue from receiving payment for the clients at one of her centers. It is coming close to $8,000 for two weeks.

Lanoue said if it continues, she would have to consider layoffs.

“We don’t know how many but it was a widespread issue that child care providers could not access the portal,” said DHS Director Melba Depena Affigne

The launch of the new system has also led to issues with EBT cards, longer-than-usual lines, and overloaded phone lines.

DHS requested extra phone lines after the system when down on Monday, but they have not been installed yet, according to the DHS Director.