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Feds asked RI not to roll out new benefits system

Documents show federal regulators urged Rhode Island officials to delay rolling out its new $364-million benefits system last month, saying a live pilot test wasn't performed and it wasn't launched in phases.

The Unified Health Infrastructure Project launched on Sept. 13.

The federal Food and Nutrition Service in a Sept. 6 letter said it was also concerned with system defects and a "lack of detail" in contingency plans, among other complaints. The agency said financial penalties could be levied for violating federal regulations.

Gov. Gina Raimondo's administration last week acknowledged there were problems with about 29,000 Supplemental Security Income payments to aged, blind and disabled persons.

Some have also reported that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program debit cards weren't replenished in October.

State officials on Friday said the system is working.

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