RI Livable Home Modification Grants

February 8, 2018

a photo of cash with the words 'Grant Money'    The “RI Livable Home Modification Grant” is a resource that is administered by the RI Governor’s Commission on Disabilities to provide funding to assist homeowners and renters in retrofitting (adapting) homes or apartments to nationally recognized accessibility standards.

The Grant will reimburse 50% of the cost of modifying homes and apartments, up to a total of $5000.

In order for an individual with a disability to continue to live at home and to actively participate in local communities is the assumption he/she has the ability to get in and out of their home and safely move around within that home, with or without assistance. Modifying a home or apartment by removing barriers allows the person with disabilities to stay safely and independently within their own home/apartment, and remain out of costly long-term care facilities.

a graphic of a money bagThe RI Livable Home Modification Grant helps eligible individuals who are homeowners or renters to remain in their home and be more independent by offsetting the cost of some accessibility modifications, such as chair lifts, ramps, and accessible bathrooms and kitchens.

Applications for the Livable Home Modification Grant must be submitted and received by the RI Governor’s Commission on Disabilities prior to the start of modification activities to an existing home/apartment. Projects must be completed prior to the end of the State’s fiscal year, June 30, 2018, and post-modification documentation must be submitted no later than July 10th of the same calendar year.

'Are you eligible?'What is the Eligibility Criteria?

Eligibility of a person is determined by the income in the prior year of the resident who has the disability, not the household income.

  1. If the resident who has the disability was not required to file a federal tax return in the prior year, the resident is automatically eligible for a Grant, if not eligible for modifications funded through other local, state/federal programs
  2. For residents who have a disability and filed a federal tax return in the prior year, that resident’s countable income must not be greater than 120% of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Area Median Income for Rhode Island.
  3. In order to qualify for the grant the retrofitting of an existing residential unitmust include at least one accessibility feature or sensory modifications as defined below.

a graphic of checkboxes being checked offWhat are Allowable Accessibility Modifications?

  1. Accessible route to a zero-step entrance into the residence
  2. Zero-step entrance into the residence
  3. Doors with at least 32 inches of clear width
  4. Hallways and passages with at least 36 inches of clear width
  5. Accessible light switches, electrical outlets and environmental controls
  6. Accessible bathroom
  7. Accessible and useable kitchen facilities

What are Allowable Sensory Modifications?

Alarms, appliances and controls designed to assist sensory disabled persons that are structurally integrated into the residential unit. Built-in appliances would meet this definition. Accommodations or features that can be removed and reinstalled in another residential unit and so reused at another location are not considered to be sensory modifications for the purposes of this tax credit program. Appliances or alarms that can be reinstalled in another residence would not meet this definition.

'find out more'Where Can I Get More Information?

Check out the RI Livable Home Modification Grant application for more details on eligibility, requirements, and process listed below or contact the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities at 401-462-0100.

the RI Developmental Disabilities Council logoInformation for this article provided by Sue Babin, RI Developmental Disabilities Council (RIDDC)

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Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) of 2017

February 6, 2018

Earned Income Tax Credit logoWhat is the Earned Income Tax Credit?

The Earned Income Tax Credit, EITC, is a tax benefit for working people with low to moderate income. It is the largest and most successful anti-poverty program in the country. EITC can reduce the amount of tax you owe and may even give you a refund!

This can potentially benefit people with disabilities as well as staff from various community agencies in RI who earn less than $55,000.00 annually.

'Do you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit? 1 in 5 who do don't claim it!'Do I Qualify for EITC?

To qualify for EITC you must have earned income from working or from running or owning a business or farm and meet some other basic rules. You must file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file. And you can go back 3 years and re-file your taxes if you did not claim this benefit!

Earned Income Tax Credit ad - 'put extra cash in your pocket'The IRS believes that many people who qualify for the EITC do NOT claim it, probably because they do not know about it. Don’t let that be YOU! You may be able to put more cash in your pocket!

The EITC is a credit for BOTH your Federal and State Income Tax. The STATE CREDIT FOR RI is 12.5%

What is Taxable Earned Income?

  • Wages, salaries, and tips
  • Union strike benefits
  • Long-term disability benefits received prior to minimum retirement age
  • Net earnings from self-employment
  • Gross income received as a statutory employee

Earned Income does not include:

  • Interest and dividends
  • Social security and railroad retirement benefits
  • Welfare or Veterans benefits
  • Pensions or annuities
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Alimony and Child Support
  • Foster Care payments
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Earnings for work performed while an inmate at a penal institution
  • Taxable scholarship or fellowship grants that are not reported on Form W-2

Where Can I Get More Information?

United Way of RI is responsible for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, with 23 FREE Tax Preparation Sites statewide throughout RI. Each site is staffed by IRS trained and certified volunteers who offer services in both English and Spanish. Sites opened the week of January 22, 2018.

VITA logoThe goal of VITA is to ensure that working Rhode Islanders who earn $55,000 or less annually and meet the eligibility requirements have access to FREE Tax Preparation Services to receive the money they are due in tax refunds and tax credits. free tax prep graphicVITA volunteers work to ensure that individuals who are eligible access important tax credits—such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC)— which reduce tax burden and often lead to a larger refund!

In 2017,

  • United Way of Rhode Island, in partnership with Citizens Bank, invested $210,000 to support VITA sites across the state.
  • This $210,000 investment enabled nearly 13,000 individuals and families to get free tax preparation services, returning over $23,000,000.00 directly into their pockets. $7.4 million of this was based on EITC credits.
  • Over 228 trained volunteers provided free tax preparation assistance at VITA sites across the state, volunteering over 14,747 hours.
  • The total amount saved on VITA tax preparation fees in 2017 was $4,329,000.00
Call 2-1-1 for information on the location and telephone number of the VITA Sites in RI and to make an appointment. You have nothing to lose!

the RI Developmental Disabilities Council logoArticle and information prepared by the RI Developmental Disabilities Council (RIDDC)

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Rhode Island Families Organized for Reform Change and Empowerment

January 2, 2018

“Here for each other
Here for our families”

“We are an independent family organization focused on innovation and success for people of all abilities.”


In August of 2017 RI FORCE started to get the word out about a Café Conversation to be held in the fall.

We encouraged families to be part of an opportunity for collective voices to be heard and recognized as we develop our strategic plan of action to address critical issues facing RI families.

We shared this information at the BHDDH Community Forum in Coventry and distributed over 50 flyers as well as continue to be on the agenda for updates at BHDDH Community Forum events.

Subsequently our announcement dates of the Café Conversations were disseminated to key stakeholder families, posted on BHDDH and DD NEWS blog. There were was also press coverage about the RI FORCE group in the Newport Daily News as well as on the DD NEWS blog.

Over 100 people either rsvp café conversation or mentioned interest in being notified about future RI FORCE meetings and events. Over 50 families participated in our Café Conversations events.

RI FORCE is now offering an opportunity for those family members who were not able to attend the Café Conversations through this Survey Monkey. Please take some time out of your busy days to fill this survey out so we can add your voice to a Key findings report RI FORCE will be publishing in February 2018.

Thank You!

RI FORCE Café Conversation survey:


please submit survey responses before 11:45 PM (EST) on 1/31/18.

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