Important: We updated this article in September 2023 to make sure all info below is both current and correct. Rhode Island disability applicants have three different programs to choose from when it comes to monthly benefits. We’ll explain how each program works, steps to apply, qualify, pay amounts and more for you below.
Does Rhode Island Pay State Disability Benefits?
Yes, it does. More than 80 years ago, Rhode Island launched the very first state disability program. This means if you become ill or injured and cannot work for several months, you can receive temporary disability payments.
Rhode Island residents who cannot work for more than a week, but less than one year may qualify for temporary disability in Rhode Island. As of July 1, 2023, Rhode Islanders who qualify for the state’s TDI program can receive up to $1,043 per week. Your payment amount depends on how much you earned while working over the five quarters prior to becoming disabled. However, $121 is the minimum weekly TDI benefit. You may also receive a dependency allowance up to $10 per eligible child for no more than five children.
Bonus Tip: Rhode Island also offers Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) benefits for up to 6 weeks each year. TCI payments can help when you care for a sick relative or need time off to bond with a newborn or adopted child. Learn more about how to qualify for Rhode Island TCI payments.
How Temporary Rhode Island Disability Benefits Work
You are eligible to apply for Rhode Island’s Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) benefit payments if:
- You have a medically certified non-work-related illness or injury that stops you from working for at least seven days in a row.
- Your employer has TDI coverage.
- You earned at least $15,600 working for a Rhode Island employer the year before becoming disabled.
- Your illness or injury is not work-related.
A Qualified Healthcare Provider (QHP) must certify that you cannot perform your usual work duties for health reasons. The provider needs to estimate how long your condition stops you from working. The state may also require an appointment with an impartial medical examiner to confirm your qualifying disability. If you don’t make or keep this scheduled appointment, you might lose your benefits.
Thankfully, you won’t owe income taxes on temporary disability benefits in Rhode Island. Also, you can receive regular work wages, sick leave, or vacation pay as well as these payments! You can also file a TDI claim for pregnancy or childbirth-related disabilities, but not maternity leave.
How to Apply for Rhode Island TDI Benefits
STEP ONE: Apply for temporary state disability benefits online by visiting the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training’s website. File your claim within 90 days of your first week unemployed due to illness or injury.
STEP TWO: Once you file your TDI application, you’ll receive a medical certification form in the mail. Give your healthcare provider this form to complete.
STEP THREE: Submit this form. It is 100% your responsibility to do so.
It takes between two and four weeks for Rhode Island state disability claim approval, on average. If approved, you can collect TDI for up to 30 weeks in any benefit year.
Important: You cannot receive state disability as well as unemployment benefits or workers’ compensation at the same time. However, you can work part-time or take paid maternity leave and still get TDI payments.
Long-Term Help Is Available to You in Rhode Island
If your non-work-related illness or injury lasts more than 12 months, two other disability programs may pay you benefits. Did you know the Social Security Administration pays disability benefits to more than eight million disabled workers and their families each year? Here are some quick Social Security disability facts:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is coverage you already earned. If you paid enough Social Security taxes through your work history, the SSDI program replaces some of your income if you’re disabled and cannot work.
- The Social Security Act has a strict definition of disability. This benefit is only available if you can’t work due to a serious or terminal medical condition lasting at least one year.
- Disability can happen to anyone at any age. One in four 20-year-olds will become disabled before retirement age. To qualify for SSDI, you must be at least 18 years old, but younger than 67. If you’re too young and haven’t earned 40 work credits, you might not qualify. Also, if you’re 67 or older, SSDI converts into regular Social Security.
- The average monthly Social Security disability benefit is $1,537 in 2024.
- Social Security works to prevent and prosecute fraud. The fraud incidence rate is a fraction of 1%.
- SSDI helps families. In addition to benefits for individuals, the program also makes payments to dependents who qualify.
How to Get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits in Rhode Island
Whether you apply online, by phone, or in person, the disability benefits application process works in this order:
- Gather information and documents you need to apply. Print and review the Adult Disability Checklist to learn what you’ll need to apply.
- Submit your application.
- The SSA reviews your application to make sure you meet some basic requirements to receive disability benefits. They’ll also check whether you worked enough years to qualify.
- The SSA evaluates your current work activities (if any).
- It processes your initial application, then forwards your case to the Disability Determination Services office in your state. Then, the DDS office decides whether or not you qualify for benefits.
Only one in five first-time claimants get Social Security disability benefits on their first try. In fact, just 35% eventually get SSDI. Therefore, your approval odds go way up if a Rhode Island disability lawyer helps you file. All Social Security lawyers work on contingency and charge $0 unless your claim is successful.
If your condition improves enough for you to start working again in less than 12 months, they’ll deny your claim. It is important to have copies of your full medical records from your doctor to submit with your SSDI application.
It takes the SSA approximately 3-5 months to review every SSDI claim. In addition, there’s a required five-month waiting period before you can start receiving disability benefits. The maximum SSDI payment amount for 2024 is $3,822 per month. The Social Security Administration (SSA) determines your benefit amount using your highest average wage earnings over a 35-year period.
Finally, SSDI is one of two disability programs that provides healthcare insurance. Rhode Island disability claimants will also qualify for Medicare coverage 24 months after SSDI payments begin.
Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits Are Your Third Option
This program provides payments to individuals, including children younger than 18, who have disabilities and limited income and resources. If you haven’t worked five in the last 10 years full-time or are 65 and older with few assets, you may qualify. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits max out at $943 per person, or $1,415 per couple.
SSI has the strictest eligibility requirements of the three disability programs. To qualify, you must not exceed income or asset limits. According to SSA.gov, “Income is money you receive, such as wages, Social Security retirement, and pensions. Income also includes things like food and shelter. The amount of income you can receive each month and still get SSI depends partly on where you live.”
Assets are things you own, including real estate, bank accounts, cash, stocks, or bonds.
You may be able to get SSI if your assets are worth $2,000 or less. A couple may be able to get SSI if they have assets worth $3,000 or less. If you own property that you wish to sell, you may be able to get SSI while trying to sell it.
Many applicants may not qualify for Rhode Island disability from the SSI program because their monthly income is too high. Your total income from all sources added together must be less than $1,600 per month in 2024 to qualify for SSI. This includes money you receive from sources like:
- Child support
- Free room and board, meals, or transportation from family and friends
- Your spouse, domestic partner, or roommate’s job income used for shared household expenses
After SSI approval, you’ll also receive Medicaid coverage the same month your Rhode Island disability payments begin. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will deposit your monthly payment directly into your bank account, minus your Medicaid deductible.
Who Can File Both SSDI and SSI Claims at Once With the Social Security Administration?
If you’re an adult intending to file for Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance, you can apply online for both benefits at the same time if you:
- Are between the ages of 18 and 65.
- Have never been married.
- Are a U.S. citizen residing in one of the 50 states, District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands.
- Haven’t applied for or received SSI in the past.
You can also visit your local Social Security office to apply for SSI or SSDI disability benefits in Rhode Island. Your disability application can take four or more hours to complete, so we strongly suggest making an appointment before you arrive!
How to Get Free Expert Help Qualifying for Rhode Island Disability
A Rhode Island disability lawyer makes you almost 3x more likely to get payments. All Rhode Island disability lawyers work on contingency. This means you’ll pay nothing for expert claim help. A qualified Social Security attorney charges $0 if you don’t win benefits. And if you’re successful, you’ll only pay one small fee after the Social Security Administration awards you monthly payments.
Rhode Island disability attorneys can also potentially help speed up the application process, get medical records from your healthcare providers, and appeal your claim’s denial, if needed.
Want free expert help getting disability in Rhode Island? Click the button below to start your free online benefits quiz now and see if you may qualify:
Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.