R.I. DHS: UHIP backlog is falling

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The number of pending applications in Rhode Island’s troubled benefits eligibility system is falling. According to data released by the state’s Department of Human Services, there were 8,117 pending applications as of June 1; an 11% drop from the month prior.

“We’ve made significant progress,” said Eric Beane, the Secretary of the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services. “The backlog of pending applications is one of the most important metrics because each number there represents a person or family who is in need of our services and benefits.”

Beane added, “We know there is much more work to be done, and the Turnaround Team and staff remain committed to getting timely benefits to our neighbors in need.”

The $364 million Deloitte-built computer system, known as UHIP, has been plagued with issues since its launch last fall.

In particular, food stamp recipients have suffered significant delays in receiving their benefits.

Newly released data reveals there are currently 1,191 pending SNAP applications. Of those, 404 are classified as “expedited” SNAP applications. Per federal regulation, the state has seven days to make a determination of eligibility for expedited SNAP applications. According to DHS, 322 expedited SNAP applications are overdue.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.