Tell Us Your Story

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 keep up with inflation. 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 6,000 Rhode Islanders, including 4,500 children, are living in deep poverty (below 50% of the poverty level).

The Raising RI coalition wants to raise the RI Works benefit to 50% of the federal poverty level– to lift families out of deep poverty. This would raise the benefit for a family of 3 from $554 to $915 per month, giving families more resource for clothing, toiletries, housing, transportation, food and other basic needs.

We also want to provide the $100 yearly clothing allowance to all children in families receiving RI Works including infants and toddlers, and children receiving SSI benefits

To help parents get and keep jobs that pay good wages, the Coalition wants to allow parents to go to CCRI full-time for 2 years and to exclude earnings for 6 months when a parent starts a new job.

By telling your story, you help put a face to how everyday people will be impacted by these improvements to to the RI Works program. Your story can help influence local lawmakers, inspire your neighbor to become an advocate, or help someone understand the importance of our fight against poverty in the state. Choose one or more of the following topics and respond in the 'share your story box'.

Share Your Story (about the monthly benefit amount)

Here are some suggestions for information you could include:

Are you currently receiving RI Works benefits? If not, when and for how long did you participate in the program? How does/did the program help you? – Did you receive help with training or other skills to get a job? How would an increase in the monthly benefit help you and your children – what could you afford that you can’t now? How would you feel if you had more money in your budget? Are you working now – or do you plan to work? What type of job? Why is it important for the general assembly to increase the benefit amount for the upcoming year?

Share Your Story (about the clothing allowance)

The current clothing allowance is $100 but only paid to children age 4 and older in the family.

Here are some suggestions for information you could include:

What could you buy for children under age 4 if you had the $100 clothing allowance? Do you currently have children under 4? If yes – what age(s). Why is it important for the general assembly to increase the clothing allowance this year?

Share Your Story (about being able to go to CCRI for 2 years)

Under current rules, a parent receiving RI Works can go to CCRI for one year, but in the second year must be working at least 20 hours/week in addition to going to school.

Have you considered going to CCRI? If yes, why do you want to go? What are challenges to going to school, working and raising your kids? How would it help you if you could go to CCRI for 2 years and just focus on your studies?

Share your Story (about excluding earnings when you start a job)

When you start a job, your earnings are counted right away and you can lose your RI Works benefit. When you lose your benefit, you also lose your transportation benefit and the support of case managers. What are the some of the challenges you have faced (or think you would face) when you started a job? For example – planning to get your kids to child care or school, new costs for work clothes, transportation, etc. How would it help you if you could keep the RI Works payment along with your earnings for 6 months?

The Raising RI Coalition is a group of community, healthcare, social service and advocacy organizations that serve low-income families and the families who receive or have received benefits.

Permissions: I authorize the RAISING RI Campaign to record and edit into their Raising RI Story Bank any related materials such as my name, likeness, image, voice, written testimony, and interview, according to the box I selected. Raising RI may use and authorize others to use all or parts of my story. Raising RI and The Economic Progress Institute shall own all right, title and interest, including copyright, in and to the Story Bank, including my story, to be used without limitation as Raising RI shall in its sole discretion determine. The story I am submitting is true.

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