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NCLEJ's Challenge to Indiana’s Food Stamp Processing Times Yields Dramatic Improvements

On April 7, 2009, NCLEJ filed Tiffany Bell, et al. v. Anne W. Murphy, et al., a class action challenging Indiana's failure to timely process food stamp applications. The case was filed in federal district court in South Bend, Indiana. Co-counsel with NCLEJ are Bryan Cave LLP (Chicago and St. Louis offices) and Friedman & Associates (LaPorte, IN). The Court certified a class of food stamp applicants and a sub-class of applicants eligible for expedited processing.


In October 2009 we announced (see linked press release) that the District Court had entered a preliminary injunction on consent which would result in hungry Hoosiers getting their food stamps faster. Under the injunction, the state was required to improve its compliance with federal time frames, provide monitoring data to demonstrate the extent of its compliance, and create a mechanism for certain applicants to have individual problems resolved. The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services has stated that much of the State’s improvement is attributable to this litigation.


After over four years of litigation this case, now titled Bell v. Gargano, has come to a close. Indiana’s timely processing performance has greatly improved, with recent data showing the State processing more than 95% of the applications on a timely basis. In October 2009, less than 70% of the applications were timely decided.


On December 5, 2013, the Court approved a new agreement settling and dismissing the case.


For further information, please contact Tedde Tasheff (tasheff at nclej.org), Gina Mannix (mannix at nclej.org) or Marc Cohan (cohan at nclej) at NCLEJ, 212.633.6967.

Press release on Preliminary Injunction (pdf)

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