Rhode Island considers $2,266 a month, or $27,192 a year, to be low income for seniors. This is 200% of the federal poverty level for a household of one person. It is also higher than the state’s low-income threshold for adults aged 64 and under.

Adjusted Poverty Numbers in Rhode Island

The federal government establishes a baseline amount for what it considers to be low income, which in 2022 is $14,580 a year for a single adult. States, such as Rhode Island, are free to set a higher limit to account for their higher cost of living. In Rhode Island, adults aged 64 and under must earn no more than 185% of the federal poverty line to qualify for benefits such as Medicaid and home heating assistance.

Seniors in Rhode Island have a higher limit for benefits eligibility. The state considers seniors aged 65 and over to be categorically eligible for benefits if their income is less than 200% of the federal limit or $27,192 a year in 2022. Below this level, nearly all means-tested benefits are available to seniors who need to enroll in them.

The Effect of Household Size

The low-income threshold goes up as household sizes increase. A senior married couple in Rhode Island may earn up to $3,709 a month, or $44,512 a year, and still qualify for low-income energy assistance. The same couple can earn up to $3,052 a month, or $36,624 a year, and get the maximum available SNAP benefit.

Rhode Island Medical Assistance, the state Medicaid program, sets an income threshold of 138% of the federal poverty line for income eligibility. That works out to $1,562 a month, or $18,754 a year, for a single adult. This rises to $24,353 a year for a family of two, $30,630 for three and an additional $6,277 a year for each additional household member.