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RI Extends Disability Insurance to Those Caring for Family Members

Posted on Jul 15, 2013

What do you do if your spouse, child, or parent is seriously ill and you need to take time off work for their care? Not only is it hard to leave a seriously ill child, but you have to decide between earning the money needed to support your family and giving your loved one the care they need. Rhode Island lawmakers have made this choice easier. They recently voted to extend the state’s temporary disability insurance program to cover workers caring for ill family members.

The Temporary Caregiver Insurance Bill (H.B. 5889, S.B. 231) was passed by the state Senate on Wednesday, July 3, 2012. The legislation sponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin, D-Providence, and Rep. Elaine Coderre, D-Pawtucket, will allow those caring for a seriously ill family member to take family leave off from work with partial pay. Benefits are available for care of a seriously ill child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law, or grandparent. Benefits are also available for new parents so they can bond with their infant.

The benefits will be funded solely through employee contributions. A worker earning $40,060 a year will contribute 64 cents a week to the program.

The bill must be signed by Governor Lincoln Chafee before it becomes law. Governor Chafee has already expressed his support for the legislation.

Rhode Island is the third state to pass legislation allowing partial wage replacement during family leave. Similar benefits are offered in New Jersey and California.

Temporary Disability Insurance benefits are temporary. If a disability or illness is causing long-term financial difficulties for your family, you may wish to talk to a Providence disability attorney about applying for Social Security benefits.

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John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law