Rhode Island Department of Human Services
PDF All PDFs require the free Adobe Reader.
Print this Pageprint   share

Am I eligible to receive cash assistance?


To receive cash through the Department of Human Service's Rhode Island Works Program:

  • You must have a dependent child or be pregnant
  • You must meet the income limits
  • You must meet the asset limits
  • Most families must meet work requirements
  • You must live in Rhode Island and be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen

Because the overall goal of RI Works is to encourage families to work and become self-sufficient, parents who work may still qualify for cash assistance and other help, including health care coverage, childcare subsidies and SNAP benefits (formerly called food stamps).

DHS Social Caseworkers work with parents to develop an employment plan that outlines activities they must do to improve their success in the job market.

Most parents will first be required to search for employment.  Single parents must work or prepare for work an average of 20 or 30 hours per week depending on the age of the youngest child.  Job training and education may be recommended.  

How much cash assistance will I receive?

The amount of money your family receives depends on your income, household size and housing situation.   Typically, each month eligible families receive:

  • Family of two  -  $449
  • Family of three -  $554
  • Family of four  -  $632

Usually, a family is given $80 a month for each additional member. Also, families are given $50 less a month if they receive subsidized housing assistance.

Asset limits

Applicants may have up to $1,000 in resources (their home is excluded) and may have one vehicle for each adult in the household, but no more than two vehicles per household.

Two parent families

Two parent families are eligible if they meet eligibility requirements. One parent must work or prepare for work at least 35 hours per week.  If the family uses a childcare subsidy, both parents must work or prepare for work a total of 55 hours per week.

Minor parents

Parents or pregnant girls who are younger than 18 who wish to receive cash assistance must live at home with a parent or legal guardian, or if this is found to be inappropriate, with a caretaker relative, legal guardian, or in a supervised supportive living arrangement approved and monitored by the DHS Adolescent Self Sufficiency Collaborative.  In most cases, the cash payment is given to the parent, relative, or the legal guardian on behalf of the minor parent. In addition, the minor parents must participate in secondary education.

When parents work

Parents are allowed to keep the first $170 of earnings per month without receiving less cash assistance from the state. After the first $170 in earnings, the cash benefit is reduced $1 for every $2 earned.

The money that a dependent child earns is not included. Changes in earned income of $100 or more per month must be reported.

How long do benefits last?

Adults can receive cash assistance for up to 24 months out of any 60 month period for a lifetime limit of 48 months. Generally, children will receive cash assistance only while the parents are receiving cash assistance.

How will I receive the cash?

You get paid twice a month paid through an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. With your EBT card, you can withdraw cash at bank ATMs and supermarkets like you would a debit card.

For more information

Call (401) 462-5300 or (401) 462-3363 TTY (for hearing impaired).