General Assistance Programs

Brief

General Assistance Programs

The State-Based Part of the Safety Net

General Assistance (GA) programs share two defining characteristics. They are funded and administered entirely by the state, county, and/or locality in which the program operates. And they provide benefits to low-income people who are not eligible for federal assistance. The Policy Brief provides an overview of the nation's GA programs. Although 42 states have GA programs in at least some localities, only 12 of these states provide GA to all low-income people who fall through the gaps in the federal safety net. In addition, GA coverage is more restricted and its benefit levels were almost universally lower than in 1992.

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