EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Due to a continued backlog that has caused many issues for hundreds of poor Rhode Islanders, the ACLU has developed a telephone hotline for residents to call if they are having trouble with their SNAP (food stamp) application being processed in a timely manner because of the state’s months-long UHIP computer issues.
The ACLU said the hotline will act as a supplement to a pending class-action lawsuit the organization filed last month. That lawsuit – filed with the National Center for Law and Economic Justice – claims 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.
The hotline number is 1-877-231-7171.
The ACLU emphasized it is only for SNAP application processing delay complaints, and not for other problems involving SNAP or for UHIP issues involving other state programs.
ACLU employees will take contact and other information from callers whose complaints meet the criteria and bring them to the attention of the attorneys for the plaintiffs for a possible expedited resolution. If a caller receives a voice mail, they should leave their name and contact number as well as confirmation that the complaint involves a UHIP-related SNAP processing issue.
Despite the other problems the UHIP system is causing for people seeking benefits, the lawsuit and hotline are only dealing with computer-related delays in processing SNAP applications at this point.
Federal law requires the state to make a decision on SNAP applications within 30 days from the date that the application was submitted. SNAP applications with little or no money may be eligible to have their application decided within 7 days (expedited processing). The expedited processing deadlines are still too often being violated due to the computer issues.
For more information on the ACLU’s pending lawsuit, visit the organization’s website here.