Thousands Waiting For Benefits As UHIP Backlog Persists

Mar 31, 2017

Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

More than 13,600 Rhode Islanders are still waiting for a determination on their application for state benefits like food stamps. That’s thanks to continuing problems with Rhode Island’s problem-plagued benefits system, UHIP. 

But figuring out that backlogged number has been tricky. Rhode Island has been relying on its contractor, Deloitte, to extract data about pending applications. But acting director of the Department of Human Services Eric Beane recently told DHS employees those numbers were inaccurate. For example, duplicate applications were mistakenly counted, as were updated applications.

The more accurate count of the backlog in applications for assistance includes nearly 2000 families waiting to know if they qualify for Medicaid, the state’s health insurance program for the poor. It also includes more than a thousand families waiting to find out if they’re eligible for emergency cash assistance.

UHIP, as the benefits system is known, has been troubled from its roll out last year. Beane was appointed to fix the mess after former head of health and human services Elizabeth Roberts stepped down.