How to apply and qualify for General Assistance?
An individual must apply in person unless an emergency exists. If an individual cannot come in to apply due to medical reasons, two options are available to them. One, they can send in an individual to apply for them or two, they can request a telephone interview.
Upon arrival, a caseworker will greet an applicant and then take a written application.
An applicant must provide verification about household income, expenses, and the number of people in the household. They must provide receipts that show how current income has been spent. Only receipts for basic necessities are considered allowable expenses. It is the applicant’s responsibility to plan and use their income wisely and within the General Assistance guidelines.
We also ask the applicant to bring the following information: a form of I.D., a doctor’s statement if an individual is ill, disabled, or unable to work, and financial statements from checking and savings accounts, and insurance policies.
We determine eligibility within 24 hours unless the caseworker is unable to complete the interview due to a lack of information. The individual applying for assistance has the responsibility to prove that they are eligible. If the documentation is incomplete, the caseworker may have to deny the request for assistance until the applicant provides all the necessary information.
An applicant is considered in need of General Assistance if their income or other resource is less than the applicable maximum level of assistance as established by State law. We call this difference between the applicant’s income and the overall maximum levels the applicant’s deficit.
What Happens when Assistance Is Granted?
Within twenty-four hours after you apply for General Assistance, the caseworker will give you a written decision explaining why you are or are not granted assistance. If you are eligible, you will receive both the decision and the assistance. When you are ineligible for assistance, you receive the decision and are informed that you can challenge the decision by requesting a fair hearing. The Fair Hearing Authority consists of three City Councilors who preside over hearings appealing the decisions of the department.
General Assistance is intended to help people who are in need and have nowhere else to turn. It is a program of last resort. The municipality has the responsibility to assist eligible people who are in need.