The state of Rhode Island has a population of about 1.1 million people with a poverty rate of 14%. The poverty rate among children is higher at a rate of 19%. There are over 145 000 residents of Rhode Island living in a state of poverty. There are many single parents and families that struggle with basic expenses that many take for granted. Fortunately, there are many assistance programs available to assist the low income residents of Rhode Island. This guide will list and explain the available assistance programs.

Financial Assistance in Rhode Island

Many families struggle with basic expenses and struggle to provide for their family. If you are in this situation, there are some financial assistance available.

Rhode Island Works Program

The Rhode Island Works Program provides temporary cash assistance and even health coverage for the low income families of Rhode Island. This program also provides job training and education to help parents find better or higher paying employment.

To be eligible or this program you must be of very low income, and have a child under the age of 19 living in your household. To learn more and to apply, visit the Rhode Island Works webpage.

Rhode Island Unemployment Insurance (UI)

Rhode Island UI benefits provide cash relief payments for those who have lost their job through no fault of their own. The amount you receive in weekly payments depends on amounts made with your most recent employer.

To learn more about UI and to apply, visit the Rhode Island UI webpage.

Food Assistance in Rhode Island

Some families and individuals struggle in food costs, and have a difficult time ensuring their family has the adequate food. If you struggle with this, there are some useful food assistance programs.

Rhode Island Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Rhode Island SNAP program provides food benefits to low income households of Rhode Island. The food benefits are received in the form of a card called an electronic benefits transfer card. This card works similar to a debit card as it has funds loaded onto it. Simply swipe the card when checking out with your food and you are all set.

To be eligible for this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To learn more about the program and to apply, visit the Rhode Island SNAP webpage.

Rhode Island School Breakfast and Lunch Program

The Rhode Island School Breakfast and Lunch Program offers free or low cost breakfasts’ and lunches to under privileged school children, while they are attending school. Your household income determines if the meals are reduced in cost or free of charge.

To be eligible for this program you must meet the low income requirements. To apply for this program you must contact the school that your child attends. To learn more about this program, you can visit the Rhode Island School Nutrition website.

Rhode Island Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women and Children (WIC)

The Rhode Island WIC program provides food assistance, nutrition education, and even health care referrals and assistance for pregnant, postpartum women and their children up to age 5.

To be eligible for this program you must be considered a nutritional health risk or have strict dietary restrictions stated by a health care professional. You must also met the low income requirements. In order to apply you must contact a WIC office in your area of Rhode Island. To learn more, visit the Rhode Island WIC webpage.

Rhode Island Food Banks

If you are still struggling providing food for you and your family, there are several food banks located throughout Rhode Island that offer free, nutritious food You can use this Rhode Island Food Bank Locator, to find the food bank nearest your area.

Health Assistance in Rhode Island

Health costs are very expensive making it necessary to have some sort of health insurance plan. If you do not have health insurance you can qualify for Medicaid if you are of low income.

Rhode Island Medical Assistance – Medicaid

The Rhode Island Medicaid program provides health insurance coverage to those who are of low income and do not have any medical health insurance. Rhode Island Medicaid covers a variety of health services which including:

  • doctor’s visits
  • prescription drugs
  • lab tests and X-rays ordered by doctors
  • hospital care
  • eye care
  • dental care
  • treatments
  • vaccination
  • MRI’s

Medicaid eligibility in Rhode Island is based on your income in relation to the number of people living in your household. You must be considered of low income or very low income. Not all the services will be covered completely as some might require co-payment depending on the service. To learn more and to apply, you can visit the Rhode Island Medicaid webpage.

Rhode Island Rite Care (SCHIP)

The Rhode Island Rite Care program is the state’s health insurance plan for children of low income families who do hot qualify under any other health plan. This plan covered all the same services that are covered under Medicaid. This program is also available to uninsured pregnant women.

The income levels required for this program are a lot lower then Medicaid, making it easier to qualify. To learn more and to apply, visit the Rhode Island Rite Care website.

Child Care Assistance in Rhode Island

Child care costs can be very expensive making it very difficult for low income single parents and families to afford quality health care for their child. Fortunately, there are some useful child care programs available.

Rhode Island Child Care Assistance Program

The Rhode Island Child Care Assistance Program offers financial assistance to low income households by paying a portion of their child care costs directly to the child care provider. The amount that is paid to the provider depends on your income.

To be eligible for this program the parents must either be working, taking part in job training or attending school. You must also be considered low income. To learn more and to apply visit the Rhode Island Child Care Assistance website.

Rhode Island Head Start Program

The Rhode Island Head Start Program provides child care and help young children from the ages of 0-5 to enhance the social and behavioural skills in preparation for school. In order to be eligible for this program you must be of low income, meeting the low income requirements. Check out the Rhode Island Head Start website to learn more and to apply.

Housing and Rent Assistance in Rhode Island

Housing and rent costs can be difficult for low income single parents and families. If you are having trouble with housing and rent costs there is some assistance available.

Rhode Island Low Income Public Housing Program

The Rhode Island Low Income Public Housing Program offers low income residents the opportunity to living in housing owned by Local Housing Agencies with reduced rent costs. The living arrangements are owned by the local Public Housing Agencies in your area of the state. Usually you will be placed in an apartment, however it can also be single houses or condos. The housing authorities receive funding from the state, who then use the funds to provide the low income with very low rent payments in safe and sanitary living conditions. To be eligible you must be of low income, usually ranging between 50% – 80% of the average income in the area you live, however this is just a guideline.

To apply you must get in contact with your local Housing Agency. You can use this list of Rhode Island Housing Agencies to find the agency nearest you. An appointment will be made where you will discuss your income and current situation. To learn more and to apply, visit the Rhode Island Housing Program webpage.

Rhode Island Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Rhode Island Voucher Program allows residents to receive reduced rent payments in housing arrangements of their own choice. Unlike the Low Income Public Housing Program, this program actually allows you to choose your own living place anywhere you want. It can be difficult locating a well priced apartment that is large enough and of high quality, so this program enables you to afford high quality, affordable apartments. Once you have chosen your home, the Housing Agency provides a voucher to your landlord which covers a portion of your rent payments. You will only pay a portion of your total rent payment, usually 30-40% of the total rent cost depending on your income.

This program also requires you to get in touch with your nearest Housing Agency to set up an appointment where you income and situation will be discussed.

Rhode Island Affordable Apartment Search

You can use this useful tool that allows you to search for well priced apartments that are located in you area of the state. To use this tool, check out the Affordable Apartment locator.

Rhode Island Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Rhode Island LIHEAP program assists low income households in paying for their energy bills with a focus on assisting with heating costs. The amount that is paid towards your heating bill is dependent on your income and the funding available.

To be eligible or this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To learn more and to apply, visit the Rhode Island LIHEAP webpage.

Rhode Island Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

The Rhode Island WAP program performs services to low income households to allow them to become more energy efficient which will result in lower energy bills. The program will add insulation, check for air leaks and a lot more.

To be eligible you must meet the low income requirements. To learn more and to apply, vist the Rhode Island WAP webpage.

Rhode Island First Time Home Buyers Programs

The state of Rhode Island offers two primary loan programs called First Homes 100 and First Homes 100+ for those looking to purchase their first home. The programs will offer down payment and closing cost assistance, and offer low interest rates on mortgages. You will also receive guidance on the first time home buyer tax credit to help you receive a large tax credit. To learn more visit the Rhode Island Housing website.

Transportation Assistance in Rhode Island

Transportation costs can be difficult for those who do not own a vehicle, resulting in using a taxi frequently. You can use cheaper alternatives to taxis and even receive free medical transportation.

Medical Transportation Services/ Low Cost Transportation Services

The state of Rhode Island allows Medicaid participants to have the transportation they need to attend doctors appointments, tests etc. You will receive a free ride to and from you medical destination. Furthermore, with the Coventry Cares service, you can receive low cost rides to shopping centers, restaurants and more if you are disabled or over age 60. To see a list of all the transpiration services available on Rhode Island check out this list of Rhode Island Transportation Services.

Uber/Lyft

Uber and Lyft are driving services that work like a taxi service, however ordinary people drive you where you need to go in their own vehicles. The prices are cheaper than taking a cab, saving you good money over time. Check out uber.com and lyft.com to learn more.

Legal Assistance in Rhode Island

Legal costs are very expensive making it difficult for the low income to receive the legal help they need. Fortunately you can receive discounted and even free legal service in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Legal Services Organization

The Rhode Island Legal Services Organization provides legal assistance to low income individuals of Rhode Island. This service will offer legal assistance with eviction, foreclosure, domestic violence, legal rights and a lot more. To learn more, visit the Rhode Island Legal Service website.

Rhode Island offers many useful assistance programs to benefit those in need. If you are of low income and in need, you will likely qualify for a number of the programs giving you the assistance to improve your quality of life.

Links and Resources

Find Local State Assistance Financial Help Programs for Single Mothers

Click on any one of the states below on the map (or via the table) to go to our local state assistance guide for that specific state

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