Full Guide to Assistance

Below is the Guide to Assistance in its entirety. Click the print icon above or below to print out the full Guide to Assistance.  

To jump to a certain section of the Full Guide, click the category below:


 

INCOME SUPPORTS

Child Support

The Office of Child Support Services will help a custodial parent pursue a legal action to establish paternity, obtain orders of child support and medical support, or enforce existing child support orders for a fee of $20.  The Office also assists non-custodial parents in establishing paternity, in filing motions to modify support orders and with job training and placement.

Parents who are receiving RI Works Cash Assistance, Child Care Assistance, or RIte Care Health Insurance are required to cooperate with the Office of Child Support in obtaining a child support and/or medical support order from a non-custodial parent.  A parent can request a waiver from cooperation based on domestic violence and will be referred to the Family Violence Option Advocacy Program (PDF, 604KB) (Spanish (PDF, 612KB)) for safety-planning and to prove eligibility for the waiver.

How to Apply

To apply for services, fill out the this application (PDF, 897KB) and return to the Office of Child Support Services. For more information, contact the Office of Child Support Services at (401) 458-4400. 

 

General Public Assistance (GPA)

The GPA program provides time-limited cash assistance to individuals who are disabled.  To be eligible for cash assistance, an individual must first be found eligible for GPA-Medical (see Health Care - GPA assistance) or Medical Assistance (see Health Care - Medical Assistance).

Who Qualifies?

  • Individuals found eligible for GPA-medical based on having a physical or mental disability that will last longer than 30 days and prevents the person from working.  These individuals may receive GPA "Hardship Fund" benefits of up to $200/month for a maximum of 3 months at a time. 
  • Individuals who have applied for SSI benefits and who are receiving Medical Assistance through the Department of Human Services are entitled to receive $200/month in "Bridge" payments.  Payments continue until a decision on eligibility for SSI is made.  If ineligible, repayment is not required.  If found eligible for SSI, the total amount of the payment is refunded to DHS out of the person's retroactive SSI check.
  • Must be a citizen or legal immigrant.  Lawful permanent residents (green card), refugees, persons granted asylum, persons granted conditional entry or paroled into the U.S. are eligible.

Income and Resource Limits 

The resource limit is $400.  The home in which the person lives is not counted.  A car worth less than $4,650 and a car that is specially equipped/designed to transport a person with a disability are not counted.

The income limit is $327/month for an individual and $449/month for a couple.

How to Apply

Apply at the local DHS office. To find the nearest office contact DHS, (401) 462-5300. 

A decision on GPA is made within 30 days from the date of application.  If found eligible for GPA, the recipient can request "Hardship Funds."  A decision on Medical Assistance is made within 90 days from the date of application.  If found eligible for MA, the individual can request "Bridge" payments.

If the request for Hardship Funds is denied, there is no appeal.  If the request for Bridge payments is denied, the applicant has 30 days to file a written request for an appeal. 

RI Legal Services (1-800-662-5034) may provide assistance to families that are denied benefits.

 

Rhode Island Works Program

(Replaced the Family Independence Program in July 2008)

The RI Works Program provides cash assistance to families with children up to age 18 and work readiness services for enrolled parents. The maximum benefit is the amount listed in the chart below and depends on family size and living arrangement. A family receives the difference between countable income (income after RI Works deductions to earned income are applied) and the benefit amount.  

Families eligible for RI Works also receive SNAP benefits, health insurance (through the RIte Care program), child care assistance necessary for the parent to participate in work-readiness activities or employment and transportation assistance.

Time limits are applied to the receipt of RI Works cash benefits.  Parents and caretaker relatives can receive RI Works cash benefits for 24 months (whether or not consecutive) in any 60 month period with a lifetime total of 48 months. Children are subject to the same time limits as their parents, except children who live with a parent who receives SSI benefits or who lives with a caretaker relative (who is not in the payment) can receive assistance until he/she turns 18. 

Families may be eligible for a "hardship extension" to either the 24 month or 48 month time limit. Hardship extensions are based on the parent’s inability to work due to disability of the parent, need to care for a disabled family member in the home, homelessness, domestic violence or high unemployment in the state. An initial hardship extension is granted for 6 months. Two additional extensions of 3 months each can be granted. The hardship extension is available to recipients to prevent loss of benefits, as well as to applicants who have exceeded the 24 or 48 month time limit.

Parents are required to enter into an employment plan or a rehabilitation plan (for parents with disabilities) as a condition of their family’s eligibility for RI Works cash benefits. Most parents are required to participate in job search as the first activity in the employment plan. Parents with limited literacy/English language skills are referred to an intensive 6-month program designed to help them gain the skills to find entry level employment, instead of job search. In addition, parents may be referred to short term skills training if appropriate to help the parent enter employment.  To see a list of approved programs where a caseworker may refer parents to satisfy their employment plan requirements, see The Red Book, the resource manual used by DHS workers.

Parents must cooperate with the Office of Child Support Services in pursuing a support order against the non-custodial parent.  The parent can request a waiver from cooperation based on domestic violence and will be referred to the Family Violence Option Advocacy Program for safety planning and to prove eligibility for the waiver. See more information in English (PDF, 604KB) or Spanish (PDF, 612KB). 

Who Qualifies?

  • Families with children under the age of 18 (or 18 and in school if student will graduate before age 19).
  • Families include children living with parent(s) or with caretaker relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, adult siblings…).
  • Pregnant women in their 6th month of pregnancy.
  • Pregnant and parenting teenagers (under age 18) must live with parent/relative or in a supervised setting.
  • Must be a citizen or eligible legal immigrant: Eligible immigrants include: Refugees and persons granted asylum.  Lawful permanent residents (LPR) who entered the U.S. before 8/22/96 or if entered on/after 8/22/96 must be in status for five years or more.  Immigrants who are sponsored into the U.S. may have some of their sponsor’s income and resources counted.  For more information about immigrant eligible see “Immigrant Eligibility for Government Benefits.”

Income and Resource Limits

The income limits for families of different sizes are listed in the table below. Earned and unearned income are counted against the income limit.  Unearned income is counted dollar for dollar. Deductions are applied to earned income, so that families with limited earnings may qualify for a supplemental payment from RI Works.

The resource limit is $1,000. The home in which the family lives and one car per adult household member is not counted (to maximum of two).

How to Apply

Apply at the local DHS office, (401) 462-5300

The first step is a meeting with a DHS social worker to be screened for eligibility.  (The application for RI Works is also an application for SNAP and RIte Care for eligible family members.) Application forms and instructions are provided at this screening. The social worker schedules appointments for the applicant with an eligibility worker for an intake appointment and a social caseworker for development of the employment plan.

The intake appointment must be within 5 working days of the screening appointment.  In an emergency situation (the family has no income/resources and in the month of application has not/will not have income/resources in excess of the RI Works limits) the intake appointment is scheduled the next day.  A decision on the application must be made within 30 days of the screening appointment and the family is notified in writing of the decision.

Families are recertified for RI Works every 6 months.  The parent is notified of an appointment with the eligibility worker by mail.  Parents may also need to meet more frequently with the social caseworker to modify their employment plan.  

Applicants denied RI Works and recipients who are notified that benefits will be reduced or terminated can request a hearing within 30 days of the date on the notice.  If a hearing is requested within 10 days of the notice of benefit termination or reduction benefits can continue until a hearing decision is reached.  If the parent loses the hearing, benefits must be repaid.

RI Legal Services (1-800-662-5034) may provide assistance to families who are denied benefits, receive notice of termination or have other problems with RI Works.

Income Guidelines,  RI Works 2011 

Family Size Income Limit/Maximum Monthly Payment Amount Income Limit if Living in Subsidized/Public Housing
1 $327 $277
2 $449 $399
3 $554 $504
4 $634 $584
5 $714 $664
6 $794 $744
7 $874 $824
8 $954 $907

 

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Provides cash assistance to persons age 65 and older and adults and children with serious physical or mental impairment(s). Maximum monthly payments in 2014 are $760.92 for an individual and $1,161.38 for a couple (if both spouses are eligible). SSI benefits are for individuals who have not worked and paid into the Social Security System or as a supplement to Social Security Disability or Retirement Benefits for workers who have limited benefits. Individuals receiving SSI also receive Medical Assistance and are eligible for SNAP benefits.

Who Qualifies?

  • Individuals unable to work due to serious physical and/or mental impairment(s) that have lasted or will last for at least one year or result in death and prevents any substantial gainful activity. 
  • Individuals age 65 or older.
  • Citizens can qualify on basis of age or disability. Lawful permanents resident who entered the U.S. before 8/22/96 can qualify based on disability (but not based solely on age unless s/he has worked for 40 quarters). Lawful permanent residents who entered the US on/after 8/22/96 must be in status for five years and be credited with 40 quarters of work before being eligible for SSI based on either age or disability. Refugees, persons granted asylum and other limited categories are eligible for SSI based on either disability or age for the first 7 years in status (regardless of date of entry). (Some immigrants may be eligible for 9 years).

Income and Resource Limits

Countable income must be less than SSI payment. (A $20 deduction is applied to unearned income and certain deductions are applied to earned income.) The resource limit is $2,000 ($3,000 for a couple).  The home in which the person lives and a car used to obtain medical care do not count. 

SSI and Medical Assistance

Individuals found eligible for SSI are eligible for Medical Assistance coverage. An applicant for SSI can apply separately for Medical Assistance at the DHS office while the SSI application is pending. The disability standard for SSI and Medical Assistance are the same, but it can take many months for a decision on the SSI application to be made, while DHS must make a decision on Medical Assistance eligibility within 60 days for individuals requesting coverage based on disability. Apply at local DHS Office for medical assistance benefits. 

How to Apply

Apply to your local Social Security Office, 1-800-772-1213. 

The application process includes a determination of financial eligibility (income and resources below the limits) and a determination of whether the applicant meets the age or disability standard.

Applicants will be notified of a decision in writing. If the application is denied, the applicant can pursue a several-step appeal process by requesting appeals in writing. The requests must be filed within 60 days of the written decision(s). Recipients are notified in advance if SSI benefits will be terminated due to change in disability status or other reason. RI Legal Services may be able to represent individuals denied SSI benefits or who are notified of termination.

For more information, contact the Social Security Administration or the RI Office of Rehabilitative Services.

 

Unemployment Insurance Program

The unemployment insurance program provides eligible individuals with up to 60% of his or her weekly wage for a specified period of time.

Who Qualifies?

Workers who are unemployed and who:

  • Were employed for at least 8 weeks,
  • Are unemployed through no fault of their own,
  • Are able to work, available to work and searching for work,
  • Meet certain earnings requirements: 
    • Either earned $9,300 in last year or  
    • Earned at least $3,100 in last year, $1,5500 of which was in one 3-month period 

How to Apply

  • To apply call the UI call center at (401) 243-9100 or file the claim online.
  • Applicants need to provide their social security number and the full name, address and phone number of all employers they have worked for in the last 2 years. Applicants who are not citizens must provide their alien registration number.
  • Applicant need to be prepared to show that unemployment is not their fault. Keep handy any written notification of layoff, termination, or severance that may have been received.
  • The Department of Labor and Training has a guide to help applicants prepare the questions they may be asked when filing a new claim.  Access the guide.

How much are the weekly payments?

The amount depends on how much was earned when working. Effective July 1, 2013, the minimum weekly payment is $42.00 and maximum is $566. The beneficiary may also receive an added dependency allowance if they have children.

If child support payments are owed, a deduction may be made from the benefit check.

How long can I receive payments?

The length of time depends on how much was earned when working. For regular unemployment insurance, the longest you can collect is 26 full weeks during the year.

Prior to December 28, 2013, claimants who exhausted regular RI unemployment insurance benefits could be enrolled in the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program for up to 37 weeks.  This program ended, but Congress is considering an extension.  To be eligible if the program is reinstated, eligible claimants should continue to log their request for payments each week through DLT either online or by calling (401) 243-9600.  Requests will be held on file so benefits can be processed without recipients contacting DLT if the program is restored

Note: The State Extended Benefits program is no longer available.

An applicant who is denied benefit may appeal by submitting a request in writing to the Central Adjudication Unit, PO Box 20067, Cranston, RI 02920-0941.  RI Legal Services 1-800-662-5034, may be able to provide assistance with an appeal.

For more information, go to the Department of Labor and Training website.

FOOD ASSISTANCE

 

Free / Reduced School Meals

Provides breakfast and lunch to school aged children at no or reduced cost.

Who Qualifies?

  • School-aged children through grade 12 whose families meet income guidelines
  • No requirement to document citizenship or immigrant status

Income and Resource Limits

There is no resource test.  Depending on income, the child receives a free or reduced price meal.  Children whose families receive SNAP benefits or RI Works are eligible for free meals.

How to Apply

Families receive an application at the beginning of the school year that is returned to the school.  A family can apply at any time during the school year if income changes.  If the application is denied, the applicant can request a hearing by contacting the person listed on the program application.

Income Guidelines for School Meals

(School Year 2013-2014)

Family Size Maximum Annual Income
 1 $21,257
 2 $28,694
 3 $36,131
 4 $43,568
 5 $51,005
 6 $58,442
 7 $65,879
 8 $73,316

*For households with more than 8 people, add $7,437 for each additional person.

SNAP

(formerly Food Stamps)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, provides a monthly benefit for the purchase of food items through an Electronic Benefits Transfer card (EBT). The card is used at participating supermarkets and convenience stores. The monthly amount depends on countable income and family size. The maximum amount of benefits is shown below.

Who Qualifies?

  • Parents and children.
  • Elders (age 60+) and people with disabilities.
  • Must be a citizen or eligible legal immigrant. Eligible immigrants include: Persons granted refugee or asylum status or withholding of deportation/removal, Cuban/Haitian entrant or Amerasian immigrant.  Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who are under age 18 or are receiving disability-related assistance.  Otherwise LPR must have entered U.S. before 8/22/96 or if entered on/after after 8/22/96, must be in status for five years or more or have credit for 40 quarters of work.

Income and Resource Limits

For most households there is no resource test for SNAP benefits.  For seniors or households with a member age 60+ there is a resource test of $3,000 if the senior has income above 200% FPL.  One car per adult household member is not counted (to maximum of two).  The home in which the senior/household lives in not counted.

For most households, there is a gross income test and net income test (countable income after food stamp deductions are applied). For households with an elder or disabled member, there is no gross income test. These households may qualify for SNAP benefits even if gross income is $500 or so higher than the amount listed on the guidelines chart below.

How to Apply

Apply online or at the local DHS office.

If the application is filed on-line, required documentation (e.g., proof of income) needs to be mailed or brought to the DHS office.  An interview is also required as part of the application process.  The interview can be at the DHS office or by phone, at the applicant’s choice. If the application is filed on-line, DHS will send the applicant instructions regarding the interview and submission of documents. Seniors can use a shorter SNAP application requested from the DHS office or download the form online

DHS must make a decision on a SNAP application within 30 days of the date of filing the application (the date the application is submitted on-line or signed at the DHS office). Some households are entitled to have a decision on their application and SNAP benefits provided within 7 days of their application. Households entitled to this “expedited service” are those who have gross income less than $150/month and less than $100 in resources; households with combined monthly income and resources less than monthly rent and utilities and destitute migrant or seasonal farm workers. 

Households need to renew eligibility for SNAP once a year.

Households that are applying for RI Works benefits or GPA benefits can apply for SNAP with the same application and eligibility is renewed when RI Works eligibility is redetermined.

Applicants denied SNAP benefits and recipients who are notified that benefits will be reduced or terminated can request a hearing within 30 days of the date on the notice.  If a hearing is requested within 10 days of the notice of benefit reduction or termination, benefits can continue until a hearing decision is reached.  If the household loses the hearing, benefits must be repaid. RI Legal Services (1-800-662-5034) may provide assistance to households who denied or terminated from SNAP.

For more information on applying for SNAP benefits contact the RI Food Stamp Outreach Project at 1-866-306-0270. 

Income Guidelines, SNAP

(as of November 2013 - September 2014)

Family Size Gross Income Limit (Monthly) Maximum SNAP Benefits (per month)*
1 $1,772 $189
2 $2,392 $347
3 $3,012 $497
4 $3,632 $632
*The amount of SNAP benefit is based on household income.  The higher the income, the lower the benefit.  The minimum benefit for a household is $15.

 

TEST

Summer Food Service Program

Provides free lunch and sometimes breakfast to children in low-income communities.  Meals are generally provided at a city site, such as a park. To find sites near you, refer to this listing or call 2-1-1. 

Who Qualifies?

  • Children under 18.
  • No requirement to document citizenship or immigrant status.

Income and Resource Limits 

There is no resource test or income limit.

How to Apply

Contact the United Way's 2-1-1 to find meal sites in your community, or call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE.


 

Supplemental Food Program for Woman, Infants and Children (WIC)

Provides vouchers to purchase nutritionally appropriate foods and nutrition education to pregnant and post-partum women and children under age five.

Who Qualifies?

  • Pregnant women
  • Mothers with babies under 6 months old
  • Mothers who are breastfeeding
  • Babies 
  • Children under age 5 who are at nutritional risk
  • Fathers, grandparents and foster parents can also apply for WIC for children in their care
  • Citizen and immigrant information is not required

Income and Resource Limits

There is no resource test in WIC.  Income must be within the limits in the chart,  In addition, a woman or child who is receiving RIte Care is considered to have income within the limits.

How to Apply

WIC sites are located at community health centers, St. Joseph Health Center and Woman and Infants Hospital.  For more information or the nearest office contact the Department of Health, 1-800-942-7434. 

Income Guidelines, WIC

(April 2014 - June 30, 2015)

Family Size* Maximum Income (Annual)
1 $21,590
2 $29,101
3 $36,612
4 $44,123
5 $51,634
6 $59,145
7
$66,656
 8 $74,167
Each Add'l Member  $7,511

*Pregnant woman counts as 2

 

Other Food Assistance

There are a number of meal sites and food pantries around the state. For more information contact the Rhode Island Community Food Bank or call 2-1-1.

HEALTH CARE

Dental Care

People receiving RIte Care/RIte Share or other Medical Assistance coverage:

  • Dental care is covered by Medical Assistance and recipients can see any provider who accepts this insurance.  Dentists in private practice may accept Medical Assistance but are not required to do so. The community health center dental clinics, St. Josephs (children only) and Samuels Dental Clinic (adults and children with disabilities) accept Medical Assistance. 
  • Children born after May 1, 2000 who receive RIte Care are enrolled in RIte Smiles, a managed care dental benefit program that assures access to dental providers.
  • View a list of providers accepting Medical Assistance.  To search for a private practice in your area that may accept Medical Assistance, click on DHS website.

People without Medical Assistance or other insurance:

Seven community health centers have eleven dental clinics serving adults and children. Patients who are uninsured pay on a sliding scale basis. For the nearest health care center providing dental care, contact the Rhode Island Health Care Association , (401) 274-1771.

In Providence, St. Joseph’s Hospital (401-456-4461) provides care to uninsured children and Samuels Sinclair Dental Center at Rhode Island Hospital (401-444-5284) provides dental care to uninsured people with disabilities (adults and children) on a sliding scale basis.

In Lincoln, the Dental Hygiene Clinic at CCRI (401-333-7470) offers cleanings, exams, x-rays and sealants for $10.00/appointment from September through May of each school year.  

Emergency Medical Assistance

Individuals that meet the eligibility criteria for one of the Medical Assistance Programs (seniors, people with disabilities, children and parents) but who are ineligible for benefits because of immigrant status (including undocumented individuals, Lawful Permanent Residents ineligible due to the 5 year bar and other legally present immigrants who are not eligible under federal rules) may be eligible for restricted Medical Assistance coverage. Only emergency in-patient hospital services and hospital emergency room services are covered under this program. Generally the hospital will assist the person with the application which is filed with DHS.

For more information contact DHS at (401) 462-5300.

 

General Public Assistance (GPA) Medical

Provides limited medical coverage to individuals who are disabled longer than 30 days and unable to work.  Coverage includes doctors visits and limited types of prescriptions.  GPA recipients are entitled to free hospital care.

Who Qualifies?

  • Adults who cannot work due to a physical or mental problem that will last longer than 30 days.
  • Must be a citizen or eligible immigrant.  Eligible immigrants include: lawful permanent residents, refugees, persons granted asylum, persons granted conditional entry or paroled into the U.S. 

Income and Resource Limits

The resource limit is $400.  The home in which the person lives is not counted.  A car worth less than $4,650 and a car that is specially equipped to transport a person  with a disability is not counted.  The income limit is $327/month for an individual and $449/month for a couple.

How to Apply

Apply at the local DHS office, (401) 462-5300.  

Information from the treating physician must be provided.  A decision on GPA medical must be made within 30 days from the date of application.  If found eligible for GPA, the recipient can request "Hardship Fund" cash assistance.

GPA Medical is granted for a 6 month period and can be renewed for an additional 6 months.  After 12 months, the recipient must submit a new application.

Applicants denied GPA Medical benefits and recipients who are notified that coverage will be terminated receive written notice and have 10 days from the date on the notice to file a written request for appeal. Recipients can ask that benefits be continued until the hearing decision is reached. For more information on GPA go to the DHS website.

RI Legal Services (1-800-662-5034) may provide assistance to families who are denied benefits.

 

Hospital Free Care

Each hospital in Rhode Island has a "charity care program."  The hospital may cover all or part of the bill if the applicant is unable to pay.  The income limit is 200% FPL for full coverage and up to 300% FPL for partial coverage.  Hospitals can choose to apply an asset test in determining eligibility for charity care.  The hospital should post its charity care eligibility rules. To apply for charity care, request an application from the business office of the hospital.

For more information contact the Health Information Line at 1-800-942-7434.

Income Guidelines 2014

Family Size

Annual Income -
200% FPL
(Full Coverage)

Annual Income -
300% FPL
(Partial Coverage)

1 $23,340  $35,010
2 $31,460  $47,190
3 $39,580  $59,370
4 $47,700  $71,550
 

Katie Beckett Program

Provides medical coverage through the Medical Assistance Program to children with serious disabilities so they can live with their parents instead of in an institution.

Who Qualifies?

  • Children under the age of 19 living at home but who need the level of care provided in a hospital, nursing facility or institutional facility where the estimate cost to provide care in the home is less than the cost of the institution.
  • Must be citizen or eligible immigrant. Eligible immigrants are: Eligible immigrants include refugees and persons granted asylum.  Lawful permanent residents (LPR) or otherwise lawfully present in the U.S. (e.g., applicant for asylum) See Immigrant Eligibility for Government Benefits (PDF) for more information. 

Income and Resource Limits

Only the child's income and resources are counted.  Resources must be less than $4,000 and income must be less than the cost of the care in the institution.

How to Apply

For an application call the DHS Katie Beckett Social Caseworker at (401) 462-0760 or download the form online.

A decision on the application is made within 90 days. 

Children denied Katie-Beckett coverage and recipients who are notified that benefits will be terminated can request a hearing within 30 days of the date of the notice.  If a hearing is requested within 10 days of the notice of benefit termination or reduction, benefits can continue until a hearing decision is reached.  

RI Legal Services (1-800-662-5034) or the Disability Law Center (401) 831-3150 may provide assistance to families who are denied benefits, receive notice of termination or have other problems with Katie Beckett Medical Assistance coverage. 

For more information about Katie Beckett coverage go to the DHS website

 

Medicaid - Adults over 65 and people with disabilities

Program provides comprehensive medical coverage to seniors (age 65+) and people with permanent disabilities.  People receiving SSI benefits automatically qualify for Medical Assistance. Seniors and people with disabilities who are receiving Social Security Retirement or Disability benefits and have income/resources that exceed the SSI limits may still be eligible for Medical Assistance which has higher income and resource limits.  In addition, people with disabilities who are waiting for a decision on eligibility for SSI or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits may be eligible for Medical Assistance.

Who Qualifies?

  • 65 and older.
  • People who have a severe physical and/or mental disability that has lasted or will last longer than one year or will result in death and prevents any substantial gainful employment.
  • Must be citizen or eligible immigrant. Eligible immigrants include:  refugee or person granted asylum.  Lawful Permanent Residents who entered the U.S. before 8/22/96 or if entered on/after 8/22/96 must be in status for at least 5 years. In addition, immigrants who were in lawful status in the U.S. before 8/22/96 and lived in RI at some time before 7/1/97 may be eligible for coverage.

Income and Resource Limits

There are two programs within the Medical Assistance Program that provide coverage for seniors and people with disabilities.  The first is called “The Low Income Aged/Disabled program.” For this program, the resource limits are $4,000 for an individual and $6,000 for a couple. The home in which the individual lives and a car used to get medical treatment are not counted.  The monthly countable income limit in 2014 is $972.50 for an individual and $1,310.83 for a couple.

The second program is called "Medically Needy."  The resource limits and exemptions (home, car) are the same as for the Low Income Aged/Disabled program.  The monthly income limit in 2014 is $858 for an individual and $900 for a couple.  If the applicant has income above the Low Income Aged/Disabled limit, s/he can become eligible for Medical Assistance coverage for a six month period through the "flex test" by showing medical bills that equal the difference between income and the Medically Needy limit.

How to Apply

Apply at the local DHS office, (401) 462-5300.

For seniors, a decision is made within 30 days of the date of the application.  People with disabilities (who are not receiving Social Security Disabilities Benefits) need to submit medical information from their doctor.  A decision on the application is made within 90 days of the date of application.

Re-certification:  Renewal of eligibility for Medical Assistance is required every 12 months.

Applicants denied Medical Assistance coverage and recipients who are notified that benefits will be  terminated can request a hearing within 30 days of the date of the notice.  If a hearing is requested within 10 days of the a notice of benefit termination or reduction, benefits can continue until a hearing decision is reached.

RI Legal Services (1-800-662-5034) or the Disability Law Center may provide assistance to families who are denied benefits, receive notice of termination or have other problems with Medical Assistance coverage.

For more information on Medical Assistance see the DHS website.

 

MEDICAID - ADULTS AGE 19 - 64

(Effective January 1, 2014)

The Medicaid Program provides comprehensive medical coverage to low-income adults age 19 – 64 who do not have children in their care.   

Income must be less than 138% of the federal poverty level which is $15,856 for a single adult.  There is no resource test for eligibility. 

Note for people with disabilities:  People with disabilities can be eligible for Medicaid through this new category of coverage, if income is within the limit.  If income is above the income limit, a person with disabilities may be eligible for Medicaid under the current disability category and can submit an application through the Department of Human Services (DHS).  A person with disabilities who needs long term services and supports also needs to apply for coverage through DHS since these services are not covered benefits through this new income-based category.  

The individual must be a citizen or eligible immigrant.  Eligible immigrants include: refugees, persons granted asylum, lawful permanent residents.  Refugees and persons grants asylum are eligible immediately.  Lawful permanent residents (LPR) who entered the U.S. after 8/22/96 must be in status for five years before they are eligible

Individuals who are determined eligible for Medicaid will have a choice of enrolling in one of two managed care plans, Neighborhood Health Plan of RI or UnitedHealthcare, or can enroll in a primary care case management program.

Individuals can apply for coverage using a web-based application available at Healthsourceri.com, the state’s new health insurance marketplace.  Eligibility will generally be determined by using data about income, citizenship, immigration status and other required information from other government agencies.  Applicants may be asked to provide paper documentation if a computer data match is not possible.

People needing help with the application can call the Contact Center at 1-855-840-4774.  The Center is open Monday-Saturday, 8 am – 9 pm and Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm.  Staff can answer questions while the person is completing the on-line application or can take an application over the phone.  People who want to meet with a person to complete the application can ask the Contact Center for the location of a “Navigator” in their neighborhood.  Navigators are located at community health centers and community organizations around the state.  The Contact Center can also provide in-person assistance.  The office is located at 70 Royal Little Drive in Providence.

NOTE:  The application can be submitted starting October 1, 2013, but coverage will not start until January 1, 2014.  The individual will receive information from their selected health plan sometime before mid-December, 2013.

Medical Assistance for Women with Breast Cancer

Program provides comprehensive medical coverage to women who need treatment for breast or cervical cancer or for a precancerous condition of the breast or cervix. To qualify for this medical assistance, the woman must be screened through the Department of Health's Women's Cancer Screening Program (WCSP). Women over age 40 with income less than 250% FPL who are uninsured or whose insurance does not cover screening services are eligible for the free WCSP. WCSP does not check for citizen or immigrant status. All community health centers and hospitals participate in WCSP as do many community providers. For more information or to find a local provider contact the Women's Cancer Screening Program at (401) 222-4324. 

Women screened through WCSP who are in need of treatment can qualify for medical assistance.

Who Qualifies?

  • Under age 65.
  • Screened through the WCSP and need treatment for breast or cervical cancer or for a precancerous condition of the breast or cervix.
  • Not otherwise eligible for Medical Assistance and has no creditable health insurance.
  • Must be citizen or eligible immigrant. Eligible immigrants include:  refugee or person granted asylum. Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) who entered the U.S. before 8/22/96 or if entered on/after 8/22/96 must be in status for at least 5 years. In addition, immigrants who were in lawful status in the U.S. before 8/22/96 and lived in RI at some time before 7/1/97 may be eligible for coverage.

Income and Resource Limits

There is no resource test. There is no separate income test: as long as the woman was income eligible for the WCSP, she is income eligible for the Medical Assistance.

How to Apply

Complete a one page application for Medical Assistance at the WCSP provider site. The provider needs to complete a Verification of Medical Need for Treatment which is attached to the application. The application is mailed to the Department of Health which transmits it to the Center for Adult Health at the Department of Human Services. A decision of eligibility must be made within 30 days from the date the application was filed. If the application is denied, the woman has 30 days to file a written appeal. For more information contact the Women's Cancer Screening Program. 

Income Guidelines Women's Cancer Screening Program (2014)

Family Size Monthly Income  Annual Income
1  $2,432 $29,715
2  $3,277 $39,325
3  $4,123 $49,475
4  $4,969 $59,625
5  $5,815 $69,775
6  $6,660 $79,925
7  $7,506 $90,075
8  $8,352 $100,225

 

Medicare Premium Payment Program

These programs pay for some of the cost of Medicare for seniors and people with disabilities who are not otherwise eligible for Medical Assistance.  People receiving Medicare pay a monthly premium (currently $104.90/month in 2014)  that is usually deducted from their Social Security check.  They also pay co-payments for doctor visits and a deductible for hospitalization.  The amount of these costs covered by the Medicare Premium Assistance Program is determined by the applicant's income level as shown in the chart below.

Who Qualifies?

  • People that have Medicare Part A (elders receiving Social Security Retirement benefits; people who have received Social Security Disability benefits for two years).
  • Must be citizen or qualified immigrant.  Eligible immigrants include:  refugee or person granted asylum.  Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) who entered the U.S. before 8/22/96 or if entered on/after 8/22/96 must be in status for at least 5 years. In addition, immigrants who were in lawful status in the U.S. before 8/22/96 and lived in RI at some time before 7/1/97 may be eligible for coverage.

Income and Resource Limits

The resource limit is $7,160 for an individual and $10,750 for a couple.  The home in which the person lives and a car used to get to medical treatment does not count.

*The income and resource limits for the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program (QMB) and the Low-Income Aged/Disabled program described above are the same.  Medical Assistance provides more comprehensive coverage, including prescriptions.  MA can also pay for the Medicare premiums, co-pays and deductibles.  Therefore, people will generally want to apply for Medical Assistance, and not just QMB.

How to Apply  

Apply at the local DHS office or get the application online.  For more information on the Medicare Premium Payment Program go to the DHS website.

A decision must be made within 30 days of application.  If denied, the person can file a written appeal within 30 days of the date on the notice. 

RI Legal Services (1-800-662-5034) may provide assistance to families who are denied benefits.

Monthly Income Guidelines

Medicare Premium Payment Programs (2014)

Program Individual Income Limit Couple Income Limit Coverage
Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (100% FPL) $972.50  
$1,310.83 Medicare premiums, co-pays and deductibles
Specified Low Inc Beneficiary (120% FPL) $1,167 $1,573 Medicare Part B Premium
Qualifying Individual (135% FPL) $1,312.88 $1,769.63 Medicare Part B Premium (limited # of eligibles)
Qualified Disabled Working Individuals (200% FPL) $1,945 $2,621.67 Payment of Medicare Part A premium

 

Health Insurance for Families and Pregnant Women (RIte Care/RIte Share and Affordable Coverage Through Health Source RI)

 

Beginning January 1, 2014, families and pregnant women can enroll in health insurance coverage using an on-line application through HealthSource RI.  For families with low income, all family members may be eligible for RIte Care/Rite Share (Medicaid).  For families with moderate income, children will be eligible for Rite Care and the parent(s) may be able to enroll in coverage through HealthSource RI and receive federal and state assistance to help buy a commercial health insurance plan.  Similarly, pregnant women may be eligible for Rite Care/RIte Share if income is within the limits or for help purchasing commercial coverage.

 

Pregnant women, children and young adults (under age 19) and parents/caretaker relatives are eligible for comprehensive medical and dental coverage through the Medicaid program.  For medical coverage, families/individuals are enrolled in either RIte Care or RIte Share depending on whether there is access to employer sponsored health insurance coverage.  For dental coverage, children born after May 1, 2000 are enrolled in RIte Smiles, a managed care program.  Older children and adults use their Medicaid card to access dental care.

RIte Care: Recipients enroll in one of 2 managed care plans: Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island or United Health Care of New England.  There is no cost for enrollment.  (Effective January 1, 2014.)

RIte Share:  Pregnant women and families in which an individual can enroll in health insurance at their job are required to enroll in that coverage if the state determines that the insurance meets certain standards.  The state pays the employee’s share of the cost (minus a required co-payment if income is above 150% FPL).  Recipients also receive a Medicaid card to cover costs and services not provided through the employer’s plan (e.g., transportation, interpreter services).


Who Qualifies?

  • Children/young adults under age 19 with income less than 266% FPL.  Child/young adult must be a citizen or eligible immigrant.  Eligible immigrants include refugees, granted asylum, lawful permanent residents (LPR) and other lawfully present statuses (e.g., applicant for asylum).

  • Parents (or caretaker relatives) living with a child(ren) under age 18 (or 18 and will complete high school before turning 19) with income less than 138% FPL.  Parent/caretaker relative must be a citizen or eligible immigrant.  Eligible immigrant includes refugee, granted asylum and lawful permanent resident.  An adult LPR must be in status for 5 years before he/she is eligible for Rite Care/RIte Share.  Lawfully present immigrants who are not eligible for Rite Care/Rite Share can purchase coverage through HealthSource RI.  

  • Pregnant women with income less than 258% FPL.  All pregnant women are eligible for Rite Care/RIte Share regardless of status (including women who are “undocumented”).


Income/Resource Limits

 

There is no resource test for Rite Care/Rite Share.  Income (tax-based modified adjusted gross income) must be within the applicable limit for a child, parent or pregnant women.   For families with income below 138% FPL, parents and children may all be for Rite Care/RIte Share eligible.  If income is above 138% FPL and below 266% FPL, children may be eligible for RIte Care and parents may be eligible for federal and state payments to help them purchase coverage through HealthSource RI.  

 

How to Apply

 


Complete an application on-line through HealthSource RI or download an application here (also available in Spanish and Portuguese).  The online system will check income, citizenship, immigration status and other required information by accessing other government data bases.  The website is secure and all information is maintained confidentially. If the information cannot be checked this way, applicants will be asked to provide paper documentation.

HealthSource RI will determine eligibility for each family member applying for health insurance coverage. If all members are eligible for Rite Care they will choose a Rite Care plan.  If children are eligible and parents are not (family income is between 138% and 266% FPL), the parent will enroll the children in a Rite Care plan and select a commercial plan to purchase through HealthSource RI. 

*Families and pregnant women can enroll in Rite Care/Rite Share at any time. There is a limited period to enroll in a commercial plan through HSRI.  For 2014, the open-enrollment period ends on March 31, 2014.  People can enroll outside of the open-enrollment period under certain circumstances including:  loss of job-based health insurance, significant change in income, moving to a new state. 

People needing help with the application process can call the HSRI Contact Center at 1-855-840-4774.  The contact center is open Monday-Saturday, 8 am – 9 pm and Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm. Staff can answer questions while the person is completing the on-line application or can take an application over the phone. Some staff speak languages other than English and can access a language line  People who want to meet with a helper to complete the application can go to the Contact Center at 70 Royal Little Drive, Providence or can meet with a Navigator in their community.  There are bilingual navigators and navigators also have access to a language line for translation. Click here to find a Navigator.

 

A decision on a RIte Care/RIte Share application should be made within 30 days.

Families need to recertify for RIte Care/RIte Share on a yearly basis.

Families and pregnant women denied RIte Care/RIte Share can request a hearing within 30 days of the date of the notice.

RI Legal Services (1-800-662-5034) may provide assistance to families who are denied benefits, receive notice of termination or have other problems with RIte Care/RIte Share.

Annual Income Guidelines RIte Care/RIte Share (April 2014)

Family Size* Parent Eligibility
Child Eligibility
Pregnant Women*
1 $16,105       $31,042 N/A
2 $21,707 $41,842 $40,583
3 $27,310 $52,641 $51,058
4 $32,913 $63,441 $61,533
5 $38,516 $74,241 $72,008
6 $44,119 $85,040 $82,483

*Family size for pregnant women = 2 minimum.  Increase if carrying twins, triplets, etc.

RIPAE Program

R.I. Pharmaceutical Assistance for the Elderly Program provides people age 65 and older and people age 55 – 64 who are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits with subsidies to purchase certain medications. RIPAE members can also purchase other prescribed medication at the RIPAE discount price.

The medications for which the subsidy is available are medications used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, anti-infectives, arthritis, asthma and other chronic respiratory conditions, cancer, circulatory insufficiency, depression, diabetes, glaucoma, heart programs, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, prescription minerals and vitamins for kidney patients, and urinary incontinence. A limited allocation to help cover the cost of injectable prescription drugs used to treat MS is also available.

Who Qualifies?

  • Elders (age 65 and older)
  • People aged 55 to 65 who receive Social Security Disability Benefits
  • Must be enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan

Income and Resource Limits

There is no resource test for RIPAE. The income limit for individuals and couples and the subsidy available is shown in the chart below.

How to Apply

Applications are available from the Department of Elderly Affairs (DEA) and at senior centers around the state.  For more information, or to find the nearest application site, contact the DEA at (401) 462-3000 or The Point resource hotline at (401) 462-4444. If denied, an appeal can be filed by calling the DEA at (401) 462-3000.

Income Limit (Yearly) and Subsidy Age 65+

(July 1, 2012 -  June 30, 2013)

Individual Income Limit Couple Income Limit Amount of State Subsidy
$21,688 $27,112 60% 
$27,225 $34,043 30%
$47,647 $54,453 15%

*For individuals in the lowest income category, the state pays the full cost once the participants yearly out-of-pocket expenses exceed $1,500.

Income Limit and Subsidy - Age 55-65 and Disabled

Individual Income Limit Couple Income Limit Amount of State Subsidy
$45,996 $52,560 15%

 

Community Health Centers

Twenty-nine community health clinics provide primary health care to individuals unable to pay the full cost for health care.  For people with limited income, payment is made on a sliding scale basis. 

For more information or the nearest health center contact the Rhode Island Health Center Association at (401) 274-1771.  

Free Clinics

There are two Free Clinics in Rhode Island for uninsured Rhode Islanders in need of health care: Rhode Island Free Clinic and Clinica Esperanza-Hope Clinic. Both offer uninsured patients free primary care services and medications and some specialty services. 

Who Qualifies?

  • Rhode Island residents with no health insurance.
  • Rhode Island Free Clinic provides services only to adults.
  • Clinica Esperanza-Hope Clinic provides services to both children and adults.

Income and Resource Limits

No resource limit.

Rhode Island Free Clinic limits eligibility to people with income below 200% of the federal poverty level. This charts shows those limits, which are based on family size (2014).

Family Size Month Year
1 $1,945 $23,340
2 $2,622 $31,460
3 $3,298 $39,580
4 $3,975 $47,700
5 $4,652 $55,820

Clinica Esperanza-Hope Clinic has no income limit.

How to Apply

Rhode Island Free Clinic:  Call or visit the clinic at 655 Broad Street, 3rd Floor, Providence. Must bring 1) current picture ID, 2) letter or bill with name and current address, 3) tax return, or most recent 2 pay stubs or unemployment, TDI or SSI documents.

Clinica Esperanza-Hope Clinic: Call or visit the clinic at 60 Valley Street in Providence to make an appointment. 

For more information:

Contact the Rhode Island Free Clinic at 401-274-6347, ext 314, info@rifreeclinic.org.

Contact Clinica Esperanze-Hope Clinic at 401-347-9093.

 

Hospital-based Primary Care

Primary Care for Uninsured Patients: St. Joseph's Hospital (401) 456-4325 in Providence and Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket (800) MHRI-DOC provide primary care to uninsured people on a sliding scale basis.

HealthSource RI – Affordable Health Coverage

HealthSource RI is the state’s new health insurance marketplace where Rhode Islanders can compare affordable health plans and purchase coverage that meets their health care needs and budget.  There are twelve (12) health plans to choose from. 

Individuals who are not eligible for Medicaid, Medicare, and other public health insurance coverage, and who do not have affordable coverage at work, may qualify for help purchasing a health plan and may also qualify for help paying for out-of-pocket costs.

Families and individuals with income below 400% of the federal poverty level ("FPL") may be eligible for a tax credit from the federal government to help pay for enrolling in a health plan (see chart below).  The tax credit can be claimed at the end of the tax year when the person files their income tax return.  It can also be received in advance each month to help pay the monthly premium to enroll in coverage. 

If income is below 250% FPL, the family or individual may also be eligible for "cost-sharing subsidies" which reduce the out-of-pocket costs incurred when the person uses health care.  These include co-payments (e.g. for doctor visits and prescriptions), deductibles, and co-insurance.

Lawfully present immigrants are eligible to enroll in health insurance through HealthSource RI and to qualify for tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies.  This includes lawful permanent residents who are ineligible for Medicaid during the 5 year waiting period.

The chart below shows the income limits for cost-sharing subsidies and tax credits


 Family Size
 Cost-Sharing Subsidy Income Limit
  Tax Credit Income Limit
1 $28,725 $45,960
 2  $38,755 $62,040
 3  $48,825 $78,120
 4  $58,875  $94,200
 5  $68,925  $110,280
 6  $78,975  $126,360

Families and individuals can enroll in health insurance through Healthsourceri.com beginning October 1st, 2013.  Coverage will start January 1, 2014.  The first month's premium must be paid to HealthSource RI before December 15th for coverage to start in January.  Payments can be made by check or electronic transfer from a bank account.  The enrollment period will remain open through the end of March 2014. 

Individuals can apply for health insurance using a web-based application available at HealthSourceri.com.  Eligibility for tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies will generally be determined by using data about income, citizenship, immigration status, and other required documentation from other government agencies.  Applicants will be asked to provide paper documentation if a computer data match is not possible.

People needing help with the application can call the Contact Center at 1-855-840-4774.  The Center is open Monday-Saturday, 8 am – 9 pm and Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm. Staff can answer questions while the person is completing the on-line application or can take an application over the phone.  People who want to meet with a person to complete the application can ask the Contact Center for the location of a “Navigator” in their neighborhood.  Navigators are located at community health centers and community organizations around the state.  The Contact Center can also provide in-person assistance.  The office is located at 70 Royal Little Drive in Providence.

NOTE:  The application can be submitted starting October 1, 2013, but coverage will not start until January 1, 2014.  The individual will receive information from their selected health plan sometime before mid-December, 2013.

Child Care Assistance Program

The Child Care Assistance Program, CCAP, pays for all or part of costs of child care for children under the age of 13.

Who Qualifies?

  • Families with income less than 180% of the federal poverty level in which parent/caretaker relative is working at least 20 hours a week. Once a family is receiving CCAP services, they can continue to participate until income exceeds 225% FPL.  See below for the "entry" and "exit" income limits. 
  • Parents participating in the RI Works program
  • New Opportunity:  Short term child care while a parent participates in specified training program
  • Short term special-approval child care necessitated by the disability of a parent or child
  • Child must be citizen or eligible immigrant. Eligible immigrants include lawful permanent residents (LPR), refugees, persons granted asylum and other immigrants lawfully residing in the U.S.
  • Parent can choose any of the following type of participating provider:
    • Licensed day care center
    • Certified family home day care
    • Approved relative, friend or neighbor

For assistance finding a provider, call BrightStars at 1-855-398-7605. Services available in English and Spanish. You may also search online at the BrightStars' program search website.

Income and Resource Limits

The resource limit is $10,000 in liquid resources (money in the bank, money market accounts, etc.). Income must be within the limits below.

As a condition of eligibility, the parent must cooperate with the Office of Child Support Services to establish a child support order against the non-custodial parent(s) of all children in the family, whether or not the child is receiving the child care subsidy. The parent can request a waiver from cooperation based on domestic violence and will be referred to the Family Violence Option Advocacy Program (Spanish) for safety-planning and to prove eligibility for the waiver.

Families pay a co-payment based on family size and income (see chart below). There is only one co-payment regardless of the number of children in the family receiving the subsidy.

How to Apply

Apply by mail to the Department of Human Services. No interview is required but documentation of certain information must be provided. Call (401) 462-5300 to request an application or click to download an application.

Applicants must be notified of a decision in writing within 30 days from the date the application and required documentation is received by DHS. Families are recertified for CCAP once a year.

Applicants who are denied CCAP and recipients who are notified that the subsidy will be reduced or terminated can request a hearing in writing within 30 days of the date on the notice. RI Legal Services 1-800-662-5034, may be able to provide assistance to families denied or terminated from CCAP.

Income Guidelines, Child Care (2014)

Family Size Entry Income Limit (Yearly) Exit Income Limit (Yearly)
1 N/A  N/A
2 $28,314  $35,393
3 $35,622  $44,528
4 $42,930  $53,663
5 $50,238  $62,798
6 $57,546  $71,933

Child Care Co-payment Amount

Income Level % of Income Assigned as Co-pay (CP) Family Size 2 Family Size 3 Family Size 4
 Yearly Income
 Yearly Income  Yearly Income
 Weekly Co-Pay
 Weekly Co-Pay  Weekly Co-Pay
< 100% FPL 0%

$15,730

$19,790 $23,850
 $0  $0  $0
> 100% - 125% FPL 2% > $15,730 - $19,663
> $19,790 - $24,738
> $23,850 - $29,813
 $6 - $8
 $8 - $10
 $9 - $11
> 125% - 150% FPL 5% > $19,663 - $23,595
> $24,738 - $29,685
> $29,813 - $35,775
 $19 - $23
 $24 - $29
 $29 - $34
> 150% - 180% FPL 8% > $23,595 - $28,314
> $29,685 - $35,622
> $35,775 - $42,930
 $36 - $44
 $46 - $55
 $55 - $66
 > 180 - 200% FPL
 10%  > $28,314 - $31,460
> $35,622 - $39,580
> $42,930 - $47,700
 $54 - $61  $69 - $76
 $83 - $92
 200 - 225% FPL
 14%  > $31,460 - $35,393
 > $39,580 - $44,528
 > $47,700 - $53,663
 $85 - $95
 $107 - $120
$128 - $144

 

Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start and Early Head Start are federally-funded programs designed to improve the school readiness of children in low-income families. Children receive comprehensive services that provide for the education, health and emotional growth of the child.

  • Head Start serves low-income children and their families in the two years prior to kindergarten entry.
  • Early Head Start serves low-income pregnant women and children from birth to age 3

Both programs offer a wide range of services to low-income children and their families. Services provided include education, health, dental health, mental health, and nutrition. In addition, the programs provide services for families including intensive social services, parent education programs, housing assistance, and adult education. Both Head Start and Early Head Start focus on the entire family, not just the child. A minimum of 10% of placements in Early Head Start and Head Start are reserved for children with disabilities.

Due to funding limitations not all programs are able to provide services to all eligible children.  Many programs have wait lists.  Also, as a way to ensure that the children most in need are served, some programs limit income eligibility more strictly than the maximum described below.

Who Qualifies?

  • The child/family must reside within a town located in Rhode Island.
  • The child must be age-eligible. For the Early Head Start program, the woman must be pregnant or the child must be between the ages of birth to three years old. For the Head Start program, the child must be between the ages of three and five years old, but not eligible for Kindergarten due to their age.
  • Most Rhode Island programs accept families with income at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Guideline (see chart below).  Some programs may accept families with incomes up to 130% of the Federal Poverty Level if there is capacity. A foster child or any family that receives SSI benefits or any amount of cash assistance from the Rhode Island Works program is automatically income-eligible.

For more information or assistance finding a provider contact The Rhode Island Head Start Association, (401)-351-2750.

How to Apply

Programs have different application procedures, so contact your local program directly. View a list of programs.

Income Guidelines Childcare (2014)

Family Size Annual Income Limit (100% FPL)
Annual Income Limit (130% FPL) 
1 N/A  N/A
2 $15,730  $20,449   
3 $19,790  $25,727   
4 $23,850  $31,005
5 $27,910  $36,283
6 $31,970  $41,561
7     $36,030  $46,839
8 $40,090   $52,117

 

HOUSING

Rental Assistance

Public Housing and Section 8 Vouchers

Local public housing authorities (PHAs) own and manage developments and administer Section 8 vouchers, which allow households to rent in the private market. Residents of units in developments and voucher holders generally pay 30% of adjusted income for rent and utilities. There is a minimum rent of between $25 and $50. Waiting lists exist for both types of subsidized housing. Applicants can apply for units and vouchers in more than one community. A PHA may have a preference list for the types of households that would be a priority for a unit or voucher.

Who Qualifies?

  • Elderly (age 65 or older)
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Families who meet income guidelines

Income and Resource Limits:

There is no resource test. Income limits vary across counties and programs.

How to Apply

Contact the Public Housing Authority nearest you or contact Rhode Island HUD, (401) 277-8300.

For municipalities that do not have a public housing authority, contact Rhode Island Housing, (401) 457-1157 or 1-800-427-5560. Privately-owned Subsidized Developments, another source of affordable rental units are developments financed by the federal government, but are privately-owned and managed. These include Section 8 developments, the 202 program for the elderly, the 811 program for persons with disabilities and other developments created by nonprofit housing corporations.

Some of these developments (Section 8, 202 and 811) calculate rents at 30% of adjusted gross income and are regulated by HUD in ways similar to public housing. Other developments may charge minimum rents that are affordable to low-income households and are regulated by the programs that provided the state and/or federal funding.

To apply, contact or visit the management office of each apartment building that interest you. To search for subsidized apartments, go to the HUD website.

 

Emergency Housing Assistance (RoadHome Program)

Program provides emergency funds for rent, rental security deposits and mortgage payments for households experiencing a temporary emergency housing crisis.

Who Qualifies?

Households experiencing a temporary emergency housing crisis as a result of:

  • Sickness or disability
  • Foreclosure as a homeowner or renter
  • Loss of employment
  • Damage or destruction to home because of fire or elements
  • Domestic Violence
  • Other events as identified by the Community Action Program and approved by Rhode Island Housing on a case by case basis.
  • Rent/Mortgage cannot exceed 60% of gross income
  • Must have lived in Rhode Island for six months

Income and Resource Limits

Income must be less than the 90 day limits listed below.

The maximum amount of assistance, paid directly to the landlord or lending institution is:

  • The actual monthly rent or mortgage payment for up to two months, not to exceed $1,200 or
  • A security deposit not to exceed $1,200 or
  • A combination of rent/mortgage and security deposit not to exceed $1,200.
  • A household cannot reapply for assistance within 12 months from the date they receive an emergency housing assistance payment and cannot receive assistance more than 3 times in a lifetime.

How to Apply

Contact the Community Action Program that serves the applicant's city or town at (401) 941-0774. For more information about the program, contact Rhode Island Housing at (401) 457-1162.

RHEHA Income Guidelines

(October 2012 - September 2013)

Family Size 90 Day Income Limits
1 $6,871
2 $8,985
3 $11,099
4 $13,213
5 $15,327
6 $17,441

 

Emergency Shelter

Homeless: For assistance finding temporary shelter for homeless individuals, call 2-1-1 or for a complete list of shelters and additional resources, see the 2013 Shelter Guide. For more information about support for the homeless, contact RI Coalition for the Homeless, (401) 721-5685.  

Domestic Violence: For shelters for victims of domestic violence, contact the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence, (401) 467-9940.

Questions about your rights?

Fair Housing Rhode Island is a coordinated statewide campaign to raise awareness about state and federal fair housing laws. Or call RI Legal Services Housing Hotline, 1-800-662-5034, ext 124.

Foreclosure Assistance

Rhode Island Housing has a Help Center to provide advice and education for persons facing foreclosure or trying to avoid foreclosure. The center’s counselors can help property owners avoid losing their home or cope with the loss of their home; make sense of an existing mortgage; make safe, informed decisions about finding an affordable rental or mortgage; and prepare for homeownership. For more information call (401) 457-1130 and for Spanish, (401) 457-1122.

The Housing Network of Rhode Island, the association of nonprofit community development corporations, sponsors the Homeownership Connection that can provide advice about all aspects of homeownership, including foreclosures. For more information contact (401) 521-1461 or 1-888-722-1461.

 

TAX CREDITS

Child Care Tax Credit (CCTC)

The child care tax credit is a federal tax credit that allows working parents to deduct a percentage of their child care costs from the amount of federal taxes owed.  The CCTC is not refundable and cannot be received in the monthly paycheck.  The child care tax credit is based on the parent’s out of pocket expense, whether or not the family receives child care assistance.

Who Qualifies?

For tax year 2013:

  • Parent must have a dependent child age under age 13, that lives with them at least part of the year, or a dependent of any age who cannot care for himself or herself.
  • Parent must have earned income that is more than the amount spent on child care.
  • Child care provided must enable parent to work or look for work.
  • Any kind of child or dependent care can qualify, including care at a center, a family day care home or a church, or care provided by a neighbor or a relative (except if provided by a spouse, a dependent, or a child of the tax filer under 19).

The size of the Child and Dependent Care Credit depends on the number of children or dependents in care, a family’s income, and the amount the family paid for care during the year. It can be as much as $1,050 for families with one child or dependent in care and up to $2,100 for families with more than one child or dependent in care. Families can claim only a limited amount of their child care expenses. Families with one child or dependent can claim up to $3,000 in these expenses and families with more than one child or dependent can claim up to $6,000. Eligible families will receive a credit worth between 20 percent and 35 percent of these expenses, depending on their income.

A family can apply for the Child Care Tax Credit in addition to the EITC and the Child Tax Credit. The EITC and Child Tax Credit do not affect a family’s eligibility for this credit.

How to Apply

To claim the credit, you can file Form 1040, Form 1040A or Form 1040NR.  (Not 1040EZ or 1040NR-EZ)  Download a copy of Form 1040. You must complete Form 2441 and attach it to your Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040NR. Download a copy of Form 2441.

For free tax help contact a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance location near you.  For free legal assistance on federal tax matters contact the RILS's Low Income Taxpayers Clinic.

 

Child Tax Credit

The child tax credit is a federal tax credit that allows parents to deduct up to $1,000 for each child under age 17 against the amount of federal taxes owed. 

Who Qualifies?  For tax year 2013:

  • Parent with a dependent child under 17 who lived with him/her for more than half of 2013.
  • Child must be a US citizen, a US national or a US resident alien.
  • Parent must have earned over $3,000.
  • Income limits for full credit:
    • $110,000 for married parents, filing jointly
    • $75,000 if filing as single parent, head of household
    • $55,000 if married, filing separately

Parents earning more than these limits may receive a reduced tax credit.  The tax credit is reduced by $50.00 for every $1,000 of income above the income limits.

A family can apply for the Child Tax Credit in addition to the EITC and the Child Care Tax Credit. The EITC and Child Care Tax Credit do not affect a family’s eligibility for this credit.

How to Apply

To claim the credit, you can file Form 1040, Form 1040A or Form 1040NR.  (Not 1040EZ or 1040NR-EZ)  Download a copy of Form 1040

For free tax help contact a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance locationFor free legal assistance on federal tax matters contact the RILS's Low Income Taxpayers Clinic.

 

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

The Earned Income Tax Credit provides a tax credit and/or refund to people who earn low to moderate wages.  The payment can be received as part of the end-of-year tax filing and a portion can be received in the worker’s weekly paycheck .  The amount of EITC received in the paycheck will not affect eligibility for RIte Care or the amount of SNAP or RI Works cash assistance.  The refunded EITC is counted as a resource beginning in the second month after it is received for RI Works cash assistance.  The refunded EITC is not counted as a resource for 12 months after receipt for SNAP benefits.

Workers who qualify for the federal EITC also qualify for a state EITC which is a portion of the federal amount.  

Who Qualifies?

For tax year 2013:

  • Workers who were raising one child in their home and had family income of less than $37,870 (or $43,210 for married workers) can get an EITC of up to $3,250.
  • Workers who were raising two children in their home and had family income of less than $43,038 (or $48,378 for married workers) can get an EITC of up to $5,372.
  • Workers who were raising three or more children in their home and had family income of less than $46,227 (or $51,567 for married workers) can get an EITC of up to $6,044.
  • Workers between the ages of 25 and 64, who were not raising children in their home, and had income below $14,340 ($19,680 if married and filing jointly) can get an EITC of up to $487.
  • Qualifying children include: sons, daughters, stepchildren, grandchildren as long as they lived with the taxpayer for more than half the year.  Nieces, nephews, children of a friend or foster children can be qualifying children if they lived with the taxpayer all year and were cared for as members of the family.  Qualifying children must be under age 19 or under age 24 if they are full-time students.  Disabled children of any age are considered "qualifying children."
  • Immigrants who are "resident aliens for tax purposes" can get the EITC.  This means the immigrant must be a lawful permanent resident or have lived in the U.S. for at least six months.  Immigrants who are not permanent residents can qualify if they and their family members have legal work authorization and have a status including the following: refugee, asylee, Temporary Protected Status, Deferred Enforced Departure or applicant for asylum.

How to Apply

Workers can receive part of the EITC in their weekly paycheck as an "advance EITC payment."  To apply, the worker fills out a W-5 form called the "Earned Income Credit Advance Payment Certificate" available from the worker's employer.  (Some workers should not use the Advanced EITC because of possible overpayment: workers who hold more than one job, workers with a working spouse unless both spouses take the advance payment, workers who get married during the year, workers whose earned income increases significantly during the year.  These workers should file at the end of the year.)

To receive the EITC at the end of the year, the worker who has children files a Form 1040 or 1040A and fills out the Schedule EIC.  The worker who was not raising children can file any tax form (including the 1040EZ). You will need to fill out the Schedule EIC in addition to a regular tax return.

For free tax help, contact a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance location. For free legal assistance on federal tax matters contact the Rhode Island Legal Service's Low Income Taxpayers Clinic.

 

Property Tax Relief Circuit Breaker Program

Program provides state-funded tax credit to homeowners and renters whose property taxes exceed between 3% and 6% of their household income. For renters, property tax is calculated at 20% of annual rent.  The maximum credit is $300.

Who Qualifies?

  • Homeowner/renter must have been a legal resident of Rhode Island for the entire calendar year for which he/she is filing for the credit.
  • Household income must have been $30,000 or less.
  • Homeowner/renter must have lived in a household or rented a dwelling unit that was subject to property taxes.
  • Homeowner/renter must be current on the property tax or rent due on the dwelling unit.

How to Apply

File form RI 1040H with state income tax return.  To obtain the form contact the Division of Taxation, (401) 574-8970 or download the form.  

For free tax help contact a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance location near you.