Rhode Island Works (RI Works) is the state’s safety net program for children and families with limited income. The program provides a minimal cash benefit ($554/month for a family of 3) and is the primary “workforce development” door for parents as they work to gain fundamental skills. The financial benefit and workforce preparation opportunities are meant to work together to support families as they move toward gaining employment that provides family sustaining wages. Despite the importance of this program for Rhode Island families living in poverty, the RI Works benefit has not been adjusted in nearly thirty years.
Legislation will be introduced in the General Assembly that would on increase the RI Works benefit from 31% of the federal poverty level ($554 for a family of 3) to 50% ($889) over two years so families can better meet basic needs.