The RI Department of Human Services was successful this year with getting legislation passed that eliminates a 24-month time limit in our Rhode Island Works (RIW) program. Rhode Island Works is the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, a federal block grant that gives underemployed and unemployed families financial and employment assistance.
RIW serves the most vulnerable families in the state. Recent data show that 9 out of 10 households benefiting from the program had zero income. In all, approximately 4,000 families from across Rhode Island are clients of Rhode Island Works. Participation remains roughly steady despite the improved economy.
The goal is to help these families with children or expecting a child find work and become self-sufficient parents. Assistance includes job training, cash and child care. The current interim 24-month time limit interrupts that critical work training. Beginning January 1, 2020, RIW families will now have 48 months of continuous benefits.
Our RIW participants will receive two notices in the coming weeks that will give more information, including answers to frequently asked questions and what actions, if any, they have to take by this change. The second notice is for participants who have been identified as needing a new employment plan.
To read the notices, go to our RIW Customer Resources page with the link below.