NCLEJ and Colleagues Secure Settlement Requiring Connecticut to Issue Timely Food Stamps to Needy Households
As part of NCLEJ’s ongoing effort to hold state governments accountable, we, along with Greater Hartford Legal Aid, have achieved a victory for Connecticut residents who have suffered delays in receiving their food stamp benefits. Such delays cause hunger for the low-income families who rely on food stamps to put food on the table.
The December 16, 2016 settlement was reached in a long-standing federal class action challenging the State of Connecticut’s failure to process food stamp applications in a timely manner. When the lawsuit, Briggs v. Bremby, was filed, Connecticut’s performance was among the worst in the nation with more than one-third of all applications being processed untimely and thousands of families suffering each month. We quickly secured a class-wide preliminary injunction. The State appealed, and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the plaintiffs.
Subsequently, the parties reached agreement on a far reaching accord that, among other features: (a) requires the State to comply absolutely with timely processing requirements; (b) provides for very detailed monthly monitoring of the State’s performance; (c) creates a mechanism for prompt relief for individual families when the state does not process a family’s application timely; and (d) allows the plaintiffs to return to court if the State fails to meet its obligations under the settlement.