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Lawsuit seeks to force Hawaii to issue food stamps more quickly

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A federal lawsuit seeks to force Hawaii’s government to more quickly hand out food stamps to families in need because the state has been falling behind.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday by Lawyers for Equal Justice and Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing-A Law Corp., asks a judge to require the Department of Human Services to process the vast majority of food stamp applications within 30 days as required by federal guidelines. Hawaii has been processing about 78 percent of food stamp applications on time.

Food stamp applications have surged during the economic downturn, contributing to the backlog.

In addition, the state lowered eligibility requirements for food stamps last month, which encouraged more people to apply.

Department of Human Services Director Lillian Koller declined comment because she hasn’t been served with the lawsuit.

 

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