PROVIDENCE (AP) — The Rhode Island Department of Human Services said that more than 1,000 people may lose their food assistance benefits because of falling unemployment rates.
Federal rules limit able-bodied adults without dependents to three months of food assistance in a three-year period, but the rules exempt people who live in communities whose unemployment rates are above the national average, the Providence Journal reported.
The DHS said that all of Rhode Island’s communities fell under the exemption for many years, but the exemption will be lifted for 12 communities Sept. 1. The towns are Barrington, Cumberland, Exeter, Glocester, Jamestown, Lincoln, Little Compton, Narragansett, Newport, North Kingstown, North Smithfield, and Warwich. Richmond’s exemption ended in 2017. About 1,242 people will be affected.
DHS spokeswoman Alisha Pina said that unemployment in those communities fell below 6 percent between February 2015 and January 2017. Pina said that the department is reaching out to give those people advance notice.