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General Assistance Program
The General Assistance (GA) Program serves as Minnesotaís primary safety net for single adults and childless married couples who are unable to work. The GA program provides monthly cash grants for people whose income and resources are less than program limits. GA participants are also eligible for help with medical costs through the Medical Assistance (MA) programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Program participants must fit at least one of the 14 categories of eligibility related to illness or injury as specified in state statutes. Most applicants and recipients are required to apply for benefits from federally funded programs for which they may qualify, such as Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. In addition, individuals or couples must have incomes and resources less than program limits. The resource limit for individuals or couples is $1,000. After subtracting certain income disregards, a single person must have net income less than $203 per month, and a couple must have net income less than $260 per month.
The maximum benefit for a single adult is $203 per month and for a couple is $260 per month. Special funding is available for emergency situations when a person or family member lacks basic need items, such as a lack of shelter or food, and that lack threatens the personís or familyís health or safety.
During state fiscal year 2011 (July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011), GA served an average of 20,860 people monthly. The total amount of GA benefits issued in fiscal year 2011 was approximately $48 million. Program costs are funded entirely with state funds.
Applying for GA
To apply for the GA program, contact your county human services agency. County contact information is available at the Minnesota.gov portal.
You may also download a Combined Application Form (CAF) (DHS-5223-ENG). Mail or bring the completed CAF to your local county human services agency. For security reasons, do not apply for assistance online.
Characteristics of GA households described in survey
The most recent snapshot (April 2012) of the household, demographic and economic characteristics of General Assistance (GA) active cases and eligible persons is provided in a brief annual report, December 2011 General Assistance Caseload. Previous reports are also available for 2010, 2009 and 2008.
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