The ACLU of Rhode Island issued the following statement in response to the State's acknowledgement today about thousands of unprocessed applications submitted through the UHIP program:

“In February of this year, a court order was entered to address a lawsuit that the ACLU and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice had filed to address the disaster known as UHIP. Earlier this month, we went back into court because the Department of Human Services was not only failing to meet the court-ordered benchmarks that had been entered in February for providing timely SNAP assistance, the agency is even unable to provide an accurate report on its level of compliance with those benchmarks.

“This latest revelation -- that thousands of benefit applications may not have been processed due to system errors -- only highlights what has become an indisputable fact: whoever is to blame, the state is simply incapable of resolving this problem on its own. It is intolerable that, more than a year after UHIP was implemented, families are still going hungry because the state is failing to comply with federal law and a court order designed to help the neediest residents of our state get food on the table. It is just as intolerable that this dire information is buried in a news release touting the state’s receipt of money from Deloitte for this ongoing fiasco.

“The plaintiffs have asked the federal court to intercede, to make sure the State fully complies with the court-approved settlement in this litigation.  Plaintiffs are hopeful that the court’s oversight will compel the State to finally take full responsibility to correct the ongoing UHIP dysfunction and assure that low-income Rhode Islanders receive their food stamp benefits on time, in order to put food on the table for their families.”

For more information about this case, Gemmell v. Affigne, click here.