POSTED: 1:08 a.m. HST, Jan 24, 2012
A federal judge ordered the state Department of Human Services to correct problems in processing applications for food stamps for Hawaii's low-income families.
U.S. District Judge David Ezra issued a preliminary injunction Monday that orders the state department to comply with federal requirements of providing the benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The federal requirements call for the processing of the applications within 30 days and within 7 days for applicants facing emergencies, according to the Hawaii Appleseed Center on Law and Economic Justice.
The department must reach full compliance with the requirements in December, the non-profit law firm said.
In 2009, 87 percent of new applications were timely processed, but the figure fell to 70.8 percent by November 2011, the law firm said.
The center represents Hawaii residents who have filed food stamp applications since Aug. 8, 2008, but have not had their applications processed within 30 days.
The National Center for Law and Economic Justice and the Honolulu law firm of Alston Hunt floyd & Ing also represent the residents.