In recognition of a continuing backlog causing undue hardship to hundreds of poor residents, the ACLU of Rhode Island has set up a telephone hotline for people to call if they are having trouble with their SNAP (food stamp) application being processed in a timely manner.

 

The hotline is a supplement to a pending class-action lawsuit filed last month 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.  The ACLU emphasized that the hotline is only for SNAP application processing delay complaints, and not for unrelated problems involving SNAP or for UHIP problems involving other programs.

 

ACLU staff will take contact and other information from callers whose complaints fall within this scenario and forward them along to the attorneys for the plaintiffs for possible expedited resolution. The hotline number is 1-877-231-7171. If the person receives voice mail, they should leave their name and phone number and confirm that the complaint involves a UHIP-related SNAP processing problem.
Federal law requires the state to decide SNAP applications within 30 days from the date the application is submitted. SNAP applicants with little or no money may be eligible to have their application decided within 7 days (expedited processing). Households eligible for expedited processing include:

 

Household income is less than $150/month and assets are below $100 or

Household’s rent and utilities are more than monthly income or

The household is a migrant seasonal farm worker and households’ cash and money in the bank is less than $100.

 

Generally, families applying for RI Works cash assistance benefits would be eligible for expedited SNAP benefits.