Rhode Island Works

Rhode Island Works is Rhode Island’s cash assistance program for families with children up to age 18 as well as pregnant women.

This cash assistance is, however, limited to no more than 48 months out of any 60 month period with a lifetime limit of 48 months. 1

Because the overall goal of RI Works is to encourage families to work and become self-sufficient.

Most families, including single parents, are mandated to work or participate in job search for at least 20 or 30 hours per week based on the age of their youngest child.

If you don’t meet the work requirements, your cash benefit could be reduced for up to 3 months or until you comply. After 3 months of non-compliance, you’ll lose the entire cash benefit.


How do I qualify for welfare in RI? #

In order to qualify for TANF in RI, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen or legal alien, or permanent resident
  2. Live in Rhode Island
  3. Be pregnant or responsible for a child under 19 years of age
  4. Be unemployed or under employed (working for very low wages)
  5. Meet income and resource limits.

What is the income limit for TANF in Rhode Island? #

In Rhode Island, a family is considered “needy” when their countable income is less than $721 a month for a family of three. The limit for countable resources is $5,000.

The income limits for families of different sizes are listed in the table below.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $425
  • 2 $584
  • 3 $721
  • 4 $825
  • 5 $929
  • 6 $1,033
  • 7 $1,137
  • 8 $1,241

How much cash assistance will I get in RI? #

How much money you will get in Rhode Island largely depends upon your family’s income and size. For example, families of three with little or no income may receive up to $721 per month in cash benefits.

Other benefits include health coverage, child care assistance, food assistance through SNAP, and employment support services for enrolled parents.

How do I apply for welfare in RI? #

You may apply for RI Works online at HealthSource RI or in person at your local DHS office near you. Once your application is received, an eligibility worker will set up a face-to-face interview to screen your likely eligibility.

If eligible, you’ll receive one half of the monthly cash benefit twice a month through an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card which you can use to withdraw cash at bank ATMs and make eligible purchases like you would a debit card.

For additional details about RI Works, please call


  1. Families who reach a time limit may apply for a “hardship extension” based on disability, homelessness, domestic violence, or statewide economic conditions. Two additional extensions of 3 months each may be granted.
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