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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.

 

Good News for Families! Raising RI Victories in 2022

This year the Raising Coalition championed bills submitted by Rep. Art Handy (H-7785 ) and Senator Melissa Murray (S- 2316 ) to make three changes to RI Works: increase the RI Works benefit and/or provide a cost-of-living increase; extend the life-time limit from 48 to 60 months and allow parents to attend CCRI as their sole activity. The Coalition also supported two RI Works changes in the Governor’s proposed budget: increase the earnings disregard and the resource limit.

Although the benefit increase was not enacted, the other provisions passed. Here’s the how these changes will help families receiving RI Works:

More Time for Families to Receive Benefits

The lifetime limit for receiving RI Works benefits is increased from 48 months to 60 months. Families will be able to receive RI Works benefits for a longer period of time and continue doing the work-readiness activities that are most appropriate to their needs. Once the 60-month time limit is reached, the family can apply for ‘hardship’ benefits.

Parents Can Increase Skills - Attend CCRI

A parent who successfully completes a year at CCRI can continue for the second year without needing to work or have another activity during that time. The parent continues to receive childcare assistance, case management, transportation assistance during this time.

Parents Can Keep More of Their RI Works Check When They Start a Job

The ‘earned income disregard’ is increased from $170 to $300/months. There is a formula used to determine how much of earnings is counted when a parent starts a job. The increase of the disregard (the amount not counted) means that families can keep $65 more of their monthly RI Works benefit when a parent has earned income.

Families Can Have More Resources

The resource limit is increased from $1,000 to $5,000. Resources are things the family owns including money in the bank. The house in which a family lives and one car per adult are not counted.

 

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
  • Housing Network of RI
  • 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.

Background

In 2021, the Raising RI Coalition won an increase in the RI Works benefit which had not been adjusted in 30 years. The Coalition is committed to lifting children out of deep poverty by raising the benefit to 50% of the federal poverty level, as proposed in the 2022 legislation. Currently the benefit is equal to only 38% of the poverty level, and without a cost-of-living increase the benefit will continue to lose value. A family of three receives $721 each month and the poverty level is $1,830. While the changes enacted this year (described above) will help families, it is critical to address the deep poverty in which very young children are living and the Coalition will continue to advocate for this and other changes to improve current economic security and future success for children.



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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