- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Two field offices for the state Department of Human Services are offering extended hours to help reduce wait times stemming from the state’s new $364-million public assistance computer system.

Gov. Gina Raimondo had recently ordered the agency to offer extended hours until 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday at its Providence office. Officials say the Woonsocket office will also have extended hours on those days.

Both field offices will now be open Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

State officials said last week a backlog of public assistance applications had grown to nearly 8,400 following the troubled September rollout of the benefits system.

DHS Director Melba Depena-Affigne says her top priority is to ensure that customers’ needs are being met while workers get used to the new technology.

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