Lifting Children & Families Out of Deep Poverty

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

Raising RI Coalition Legislative Priorities

Our legislative champions Senator Melissa Murray and Representative Arthur Handy have introduced S-2337 and H-7686 to increase the RI Works benefit amount and expand coverage to all vulnerable Rhode Islanders. These bill will accomplish the following:

Protect Rhode Island’s poorest children and families from inflation

  • Increase the monthly benefit to 50% of the federal poverty level and include a cost-of-living increase.
  • The cash benefit increase in 2021 moved the needle on economic well-being for 5,000 children receiving benefits, but inflation has decreased the value of this benefit in only two years. In 2023, the value of the RI Works benefit is now only 35% of the federal poverty level in 2022, a 5% decrease.

Undo harm to children

  • Repeal full family sanction.
  • National research shows that sanctions harm children, fall disproportionately on parents who have significant barriers including physical and mental health challenges, limited education, domestic violence, and do not improve program compliance.

Restore eligibility to immigrants

  • Eliminate the 5-year waiting period for Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR).
  • Providing RI Works benefits to LPR families, Rhode Island would join thirteen other states in supporting the well-being of LPR residents.