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About Raising RI

RI Works is the state’s cash assistance program for children and their parents or caregivers and a work preparation program for the adults. The Raising RI Coalition is dedicated to lifting children out of poverty by increasing the RI Works benefit and to breaking the cycle of poverty by providing parents with education and training opportunities leading to well-paying, secure jobs.

VICTORY!

The Coalition celebrates these enacted changes that will improve the economic well-being of families receiving RI Works benefits:

  • Monthly benefit increase of 30%, the first increase in 30 years. The benefit for a family of 3 will rise from $554 to $752/month. RI will have the second highest benefit in New England.
  • Yearly $100 clothing allowance extended to infants and toddlers as well as children receiving SSI who live in a family receiving RI Works.
  • Exclusion of earnings for 6 months when a parent starts a job, unless income reaches 185% FPL or parent reaches 48-month time limit.
  • Allow 18-year-olds to continue eligibility for RI Works as long as they are in high school or getting a GED.

These changes were enacted in the 2022 budget and included most of the changes that were proposed in Senator Murray’s bill (S-226 which was amended and passed by the Senate) and Representative Handy’s bill (H-5683). Thank you to Senator Murray and Representative Handy for your leadership.

More details about the changes will be posted here soon.

Thank you to all the Coalition members who testified at hearings, wrote to their legislators and leadership and took other actions to ensure there was a strong and on-going voice that led to this victory.

There is more work to be done to ensure that no RI child is living in deep poverty and parents have opportunities for economic security. To keep up to date with the Coalition’s activities join as an individual and/or an organization.

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HOW WE DID IT

Our kick-off event, testimony at House and Senate Finance Committee hearings and other actions led to passage of the bill and Budget. You can listen below to the many voices who helped legislators understand why the benefit increase and other changes were so important for families.

Linda Katz, Policy Director, The Economic Progress Institute.
Dr. Patricia Flanagan, American Academy of Pediatrics
Tonya Harris, Executive Director, Coalition Against Domestic Violence
David Veliz, Director and Organizer, Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty
Senator Melissa Murray
Representative Art Handy
Jillian Kane (RI Works Parent)
Desire Barrett (RI Works Parent)

Testimony From:
Senator Melissa Murray - (0:13); RI DHS Director Courtney Hawkins - (3:32); Linda Katz (EPI) - (8:46); Paige Clausius-Park (RI Kids Count) - (19:37); Savanna N. (A Parent) - (23:37); Kimberly Rauch (DHS) - (26:23); Hilary Levey Friedman (RI NOW) - (30:24); Michelle (CCA) - (32:24); David Veliz (Interfaith Coalition of RI) - (36:44); Dr. Pat Flanagan (AAP - RI Chapter) - (39:55)


Background

The Rhode Island Works benefit has not been increased in 30 years, while all other New England states have adjusted their benefit to help families’ purchasing power keep up with inflation. Massachusetts increased the benefit last year. New Hampshire and Maine adjust the benefit annually. The 2,500 families currently enrolled in the program receive an average of $6/person/day. The benefit is 30% of the federal poverty level, meaning that children and their parents are living in deep poverty. 



Coalition Members

  • Center for Southeast Asians
  • Community Action Partnership of Providence
  • Community Care Alliance
  • Comprehensive Community Action Program
  • Cranston Clergy Association
  • Direct Action for Rights and Equality
  • Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County
  • Facilitate Change
  • Formerly Incarcerated Union of RI
  • Foster Forward
  • Genesis Center
  • Goodwill of Southern New England
  • Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale
  • National Association of Social Workers Rhode Island Chapter
  • Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island
  • Newport Partnership for Families
  • ResCare Workforce Services
  • Rhode Island AFL-CIO
  • Rhode Island Coalition for Children and Families
  • Rhode Island Community Action Association
  • Rhode Island Health Center Association
  • Rhode Island Kids Count
  • Rhode Island National Organization for Women
  • Rhode Island Parent Information Center
  • Scandinavian Church
  • Sojourner House
  • Paul Catholic Church
  • Temple Sinai Social Action Committee
  • The Economic Progress Institute
  • The Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island
  • The Latino Policy Institute
  • The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • The Rhode Island Community Food Bank
  • The Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty
  • The Womxn Project
  • Tomaquag Museum
  • Tri-County Community Action Agency
  • United Way of Rhode Island
  • Washington County Coalition for Children
  • Westbay Community Action
  • Women’s Resource Center of South County
  • Woodridge Congregational Church
  • Working Cities Newport

Connect With Raising RI 

Like Us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RaisingRI 

Follow Us On Twitter: https://twitter.com/raisingri

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