Lawsuit filed against Rhode Island budget cuts

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The Rhode Island Disability Law Center recently filed a lawsuit against the state for cuts to its Supplemental Security Income program, arguing that it will force individuals with disabilities to leave their assisted-living homes.

A map of Rhode Island

News of Rhode Island

The cuts, set to go into effect October 1, reduce the state’s SSI benefit from $538 to $332 a month, according to an article in the Providence Journal.

Being that most of this money goes to the individual’s rent, many of centers are likely to close. As a result, many of the residents will be forced into “homelessness, hospitalization and/or other institutionalization,” in violation of the state’s Civil Rights of People with Disabilities Act, which codifies aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Implementation of the reduction in the enhanced SSI rate for assisted-living residences … will place plaintiffs at imminent risk of unnecessary and unjustified confinement in hospitals, and/or other placements that are not the most integrated community placements appropriate for them, in violation of the ADA’s integration mandate,” according to the complaint, filed on behalf of seven people with mental disabilities living in assisted-living center.

The cuts could affect the living situations of more than 600 individuals statewide.

Rhode Island’s Social Security Income program is a separate benefit atop the $674 per month benefit these individuals receive through the federal Supplemental Security Income program, which is administered by the Social Security Administration.

The Rhode Island Disability Law Center is part of the federally funded protection and advocacy system and a member of the National Disability Rights Network.