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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.

Raising RI bills for 2022: H-7789 (Handy) and S-2316 (Murray)

In 2021, the Raising RI Coalition won an increase to the RI Works benefit for the first time in 30 years. We need to continue to work together to lift children out of deep poverty and make other improvements to the RI Works program. The bills submitted by Senator Murray and Representative Handy would:

  • Lift children out of deep poverty
    • Increase the monthly benefit to 50% of the federal poverty level. The benefit for a family of 3 would increase from $721 to $959/month. Add a cost-of-living adjustment for future years.
  • Improve upward mobility for parents
    • Allow parents to attend CCRI for two years without requiring an additional work activity.
  • Extend the lifetime benefit limit for RI Works from 48 months to 60 months
    • Increase the lifetime limit from 48 to 60 months so parents do not need to apply for ‘hardship’ benefits to receive continued assistance and work support services. This will reduce stress for families and ease the process for staff.

The Coalition also supports:

Budget Article 13, Section 1  proposing to increase the resource limit from $1,000 to $5,000 and increase the earned income disregard from $170 to $300 allowing working-parents to retain more of their RI Works benefit as a supplement to low-wages.

S-2602 (Anderson) increasing the amount of child support ‘passed through’ from non-custodial parents to their children receiving RI Works benefits from $50 to $100 per month.


Background

While the Rhode Island Works benefit was increased in 2021 children are still living in deep poverty. The failure to have a yearly cost-of-living increase further erodes the value of the benefit. New Hampshire and Maine adjust the benefit annually. The majority of states have a lifetime limit of 60 months or longer as allowed under federal law. The changes proposed in the Raising RI bills would help improve the current and future economic security for 2,700 families, including 5,000 children, enrolled in RI Works.



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

Video

Testimony from Senator Murray, Linda Katz (Economic Progress Institute), Paige Clausius-Parks (Rhode Island KIDS Count), Pablo Mijares (CCAP)

Click here to read written testimony.

In the News

RI has resources to lift children from extreme poverty
April 20, 2022
Elizabeth Lange - Special to Providence Journal (Print Edition)


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