Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State lawmakers grilled staff from the Departments of Human Services and Administration about what they deemed the “botched” rollout of a new state benefits system Thursday afternoon.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State officials have yet to comment on warnings from a federal agency that said Rhode Island’s Department of Human Services computer system wasn’t ready for prime time. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted problems with the new system.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State officials are responding to problems with the state’s brand new health and human services computer system. The multi-million dollar system has experienced technical problems that are affecting services and causing long wait times at field offices.

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

As of Tuesday there’s a new way of applying for state benefits like Medicaid and food stamps, or SNAP. It's an online application for all Department of Human Services benefits, all in one place - Rhode Island's biggest information technology project ever. But some advocates for the poor fear there won’t be enough support to help clients make the transition.

Kathleen Gorman

Hundreds of thousands of Rhode  Islanders receive state assistance like food stamps and Medicaid. The agency that helps connect them with those benefits - the Department of Human Services - is in the midst of a major reorganization. 

Aaron Read / RIPR

Here's what's happening in health care in Rhode Island:

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

70 employees at the state Department of Human Services have received layoff notices because of a system-wide reorganization. It's part of a shift to online applications for benefits like food stamps.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

This September, Rhode Island’s Department of Human Services launches a new online portal for health and social service benefits. It’s the state’s biggest IT project ever. 

Rhode Island Dept. of Human Services

Rhode Islanders seeking medical or food stamp assistance will soon be able to complete their application online, all in one go.

Rhode Island Public Health Institute

A new initiative of the Rhode Island Public Health Institute at Brown University aims to bring more fresh fruits and vegetables into low income neighborhoods. 

General Assembly Hearing On Food Stamp Bill Today

Mar 5, 2014
Don Boorman / RIPR

A hearing is slated for today in the general assembly on a bill that would require families using food stamps to show photo identification.  The bill has generated critics who say it’s unfair and unnecessary.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Patricia Morgan of West Warwick says the bill would fight fraud within the program.  Scamming the system happens when someone uses the benefits to buy products not covered by the program, such as cigarettes and alcohol, or when someone exchanges their benefits in return for cash.

We’re learning more about how recently enacted cuts in the food stamp program will affect Rhode Island. It will hit virtually every Rhode Islander who receives food stamp benefits.

Cuts in the food stamp program enacted November 1st will affect 181,000 Rhode Islanders, or 17 percent of the state’s population.  The cuts will reduce the monthly food stamp benefit by $11 for an individual, $20 for a household of two, $29 for a household of three and $36 for a household of four. 

Flo Jonic / RIPR

The owners and employees of five Providence convenience stores have been charged with defrauding the food stamp program. The charges cap a two-year grand jury investigation.

Rhode Islanders to Receive Food Aid for Storm Losses

Feb 21, 2013

Help is coming to Rhode Island residents who receive food assistance, or SNAP, benefits and lost food supplies during the recent storm power outages. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide up to $2.1 million dollars to assist communities hit hardest by the storm.