State reducing General Assistance payments

A state welfare program providing cash for individuals with no income and little or no assets is “experiencing increasing enrollment.” The result? Reduced benefits for each person.

The program – the General Assistance program – currently serves 5,537 people, according to a press release. Each person receives $319 per month, an amount which is being reduced to $298 because of an additional 296 individuals.

According to the General Assistance website, the program “provides cash benefits for food, clothing, shelter, and other essentials to adults ages 18 through 64, without minor dependents, who are temporarily disabled and who do not qualify for Social Security.”

To be eligible, the adult must have little or no income, not qualify for a federal category of assistance, and be certified by a DHS medical board to be unable to engage in any substantial employment of at least thirty hours per week for a period of at least sixty days.

In addition, there are maximum asset requirements, which “may not exceed $2,000 for a single person and $3,000 for a couple to maintain eligibility.”

The timing of the release coincides with the opening of the 2013 state legislative session, so this is as much an informational release as an appeal for more funds. But it raises a real question: What can a person with no income, and virtually no assets, accomplish with $300?