Food & Income Security

Food & Income Security Headline:

Households that receive SNAP are eligible for nutrition incentives at local farmers markets.

Last-reviewed: 9am, June 22, 2022

Key Resources:

The Basics

  • Extra emergency SNAP payments were distributed to eligible households on or about June 3, 2022.
  • WIC veggie and fruit benefit levels are in effect through September 31, 2022.
  • In response to the pandemic, RIDE has applied for waiver requests to permit flexible provision of summer food programs.
  • DHS offices are open to in-person services at customer facing lobbies. General application information here. Full regional office list here.
  • Current food site location information here.

The Breakdown

General
  • Families with SNAP who use their EBT cards at participating farmers markets can receive “Bonus Bucks”. This means that for every $1 spent, receive a bonus $1 that can be used on local produce. More information here.
  • The US has been experiencing a national shortage of baby formula after a major recall. A federal initiative, called Operation Fly Formula, is charged with flying in formula from other countries. RI should receive some of these supplies as soon as the week. Formula will be distributed at local Targets. Labeling will be different than one parents may be familiar with. Questions can be directed to the Health Information Line at 401-222-5960.
  • Extra emergency SNAP payments of $95 were issued to eligible SNAP households on or about June 3, 2022. Eligibility for this benefit is complex and not all SNAP households will receive this extra payment. More information here
  • DHS offices are open to in-person services to customer-facing lobby operations. Applications can be submitted online or at secure drop boxes. Phone lines remain open. More here. DHS Contact and Customer resource guide here.
    • Two new Providence DHS office locations are now open. One is located on 40 Fountain Street and the other is 1 Reservoir Avenue. More information here and here.
  • Reminder about inclement weather: SNAP households who experience power outages of 4 or more hours are entitled to SNAP replacement benefits. Benefit replacement requests must be submitted within 10 days of power loss. More information under “How to Report Loss of Food” here.
WIC
  • WIC increases for fruits and veggies are in effect through September 30, 2022.
  • Women, Infants and Children (WIC) offices are open to remote services.
    • The WIC Shopper App can be downloaded to help locate WIC vendors and offices, the WIC food guide, and a scanning tool to help check if a food is on the approved food list.
Food Pantries
Meals on Wheels

The Bottom Line

  • Care teams can help individuals and families become food secure by sharing information about benefits and programs.
Income Security

The Basics

  • Through October 17, 2022, eligible households can still file their taxes for free.
  • Effective January 1, 2022, SSI recipients will receive a 5.9% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) to their monthly benefit. View the full COLA announcement.

The Breakdown

  • Tax filings were due in RI on April 18, 2022. However, households with an adjusted gross income of $73,000 or less can still file for free using the IRS Free File tool up to October 17, 2022. While late fees may be assessed, some people may be eligible for a fee waiver.
    • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs here. Note: some VITA programs have closed.
  • As of May 25, 2022, RI’s SSA offices are open. Check the status of SSA office openings here
    • High demand for services has prompted long in-person wait times. The SSA recommends using online services as much as possible or to minimize lobby based services on days with the highest volume such as the first of the month, Mondays and Fridays.
    • Note: The SSA is having widespread issues with their hotline. Use this contact guide to get updates on the issue and find other ways to contact the SSA.  
  • General Public Assistance is available to eligible adults with limited income and a medical condition that keeps them from working while waiting for a SSI determination. More information here.

The Bottom Line

  • Care teams can share how tax returns can be used to optimize household income.

Spotlight on non-discrimination

Income maximization strategies and food security resources often require care teams to direct people to the Department of Human Services (DHS) in order to access concrete supports such as SNAP or RI Works (cash assistance). State agencies, like DHS, are prohibited from discriminating against its applicants or clients based on their race or color, sex, national origin, disability, age, religion, or political beliefs. If a person believes they have been discriminated against and they share that with your care team, direct that individual to the RI DHS Civil Rights Office. The Civil Rights office has the authority to investigate discrimination claims arising out of interactions with DHS offices, programs, and contractors.