Guide to Assistance – Programs For Families

Low- and moderate-income families with children under the age of 18 living with them may qualify for the following programs:

Income SupportFood AssistanceChild CareHealth CareHousingUtilities


Income Support

Rhode Island WorksProvides cash assistance to families with children up to age 18 and work readiness services for enrolled parents.
Social Security Insurance (SSI) Provides cash assistance for children with serious physical and/or mental impairments.
Unemployment InsuranceProvides eligible individuals who are recently unemployed with up to 60% of weekly wage for a specified period of time.
Temporary Disability Insurance Program (TDI) Provides up to thirty weeks of benefits for people who cannot work due to illness or injury that occurred outside of the workplace.
Temporary Caregiver Insurance Program (TCI) Provides up to 4 weeks of benefits for people who need to be out of work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a newborn child, adopted child or foster-care child.
Paid Sick LeaveRhode Island's many full and part-time workers can start to accrue time off under the Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act. Workers earn 1 hour of time for every 35 hours they work.
Child Support The Office of Child Support Services helps parents establish paternity and obtain and/or enforce orders of child support and medical support against a non-custodial parent.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)Provides a tax credit and/or refund for parents who earn low to moderate wages.
Child Tax CreditProvides a tax credit of up to $1,000 for each child under age 17 against the amount of federal taxes owed.
Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC)Provides a tax credit for child care expenses (up to specified limits) against the amount of federal taxes owed.
Income Support: Other Income Assistance
Capital Good Fund LoansCapital Good Fund loans are short term loan options that serve as an alternative to payday loans, pawn shops, buy-here-pay-here auto dealers, and other high-interest loan products.

Food Assistance

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Provides a monthly benefit for the purchase of food items through an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.
Summer FoodProvides lunch and sometimes breakfast at no or reduced cost to children whose families meet income guidelines. Meals are generally provided at a city site, such as a park.
Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)Provides vouchers to purchase nutritionally appropriate foods and nutrition education to pregnant and post-partum women and children under age five.
Other Food AssistanceFood pantries and meal sites provide free food to families in need.
Free/Reduced MealsProvides breakfast and lunch to school aged children at no- or reduced-cost.

Child Care

Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)Program pays for all or part of child care costs for children under age 13 for working parents.
Head Start & Early Head StartDesigned to improve the school readiness of children in low-income families. Head Start serves children in the two years prior to kindergarten entry. Early Head Start serves low-income pregnant women and children from birth to age 3.

Health Care

RIte Care/RIte ShareProvides comprehensive medical coverage through the Medical Assistance Program to pregnant women, children and their parents or caretaker relatives.
HealthSource RIPrivate health coverage options with available subsidies and tax help with cost.
Katie BeckettProvides comprehensive medical coverage through the Medical Assistance Program to children with serious disabilities so they can live with their parents instead of in an institution.
Emergency Medical AssistanceProvides payment for hospital in-patient and emergency room services for children and parents who would be eligible for RIte Care/RIte Share but do not meet the citizenship/immigrant criteria.
Free ClinicsClinica Esperanza – Hope Clinic offers free primary care services for uninsured children and adults. The RI Free Clinic offers primary care services for uninsured adults.
Community Health CentersTen community health centers provide primary health care at twenty-nine clinics to uninsured individuals on a sliding-scale basis.
Community Mental Health CentersSeven community mental health organizations provide mental health and substance abuse treatment to uninsured individuals at clinic around the state at free or low cost.
Hospital Free CareEach hospital in Rhode Island has a "charity care program" that may cover all or part of the bill for a patient who is unable to pay.
Prescription AssistanceDiscount prescription drug card provides savings on FDA approved prescriptions at pharmacies across the country.
Dental CareChildren and parents who receive RIte Care/RIte Share health coverage also receive dental coverage. Seven community health centers provide dental care at 11 clinics on a sliding scale basis. St. Joseph Hospital provides dental care for children. Samuels Dental Clinic program provides services to children and adults with disabilities.
Other Health ResourcesUninsured Rhode Island residents who are not eligible for Medicare, Medicaid or health insurance from their employer can purchase family or individual health and/or dental coverage directly from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI (BCBSRI).


Emergency ShelterProvides information on assistance for homeless individuals and victims of domestic violence.
Rental AssistancePublic Housing and Section 8 vouchers may be available to low-income families.
Hardest Hit Fund RIHelps eligible Rhode Island prevent foreclosures of their homes.


Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)Provides help with energy needs including heating and cooling assistance, energy crisis intervention, low-cost residential weatherization and other energy-related home repair.
Telephone AssistanceCox Communications and Verizon provide a discount on monthly local telephone bills and help reduce the cost of initiating telephone service.

For a summary of the above programs, view our Guide to Assistance Programs for Rhode Island Families.

Guide Sponsors

The Guide is made possible thanks to generous support from:
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