PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A judge is expected to appoint a special master to ensure that thousands of Rhode Island residents receive food stamps and other benefits in a timely way.

U.S. District Judge William Smith says in an order filed Tuesday he expects to appoint a special master after hearing from the parties on Thursday.

The state says Deloitte, the contractor responsible for Rhode Island’s troubled benefits system, recently discovered several thousand more unprocessed benefits applications in the system.

RI Bridges, also known as the Unified Health Infrastructure Project, or UHIP, handles applications for food stamps, Medicaid benefits and other services.

It has been beset by problems since launching in 2016. The American Civil Liberties Union Rhode Island chapter sued.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo says a special master could help hold Deloitte accountable.