In response to Act 12 of 2019, which amended 62 P.S. § 403.2(a), the General Assistance program ended August 1, 2019. No General Assistance cash assistance will be dispersed after July 31, 2019. Current General Assistance recipients were notified of this change via mail. If you currently receive or think you qualify for General Assistance, you may still qualify for other benefits. Contact your local County Assistance Office or apply online via COMPASS at www.compass.state.pa.us. If you are currently receiving other benefits like Medical Assistance or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), those benefits will continue. The Department of Human Services (DHS) will contact you again before making changes to other benefits for any reason.
- For more information, please contact the DHS Helpline at 1-800-692-7462.
- TDD Services are available at 1-800-451-5886.
The Department of Human Services General Assistance program is state-funded and serves certain individuals who do not qualify for the federally- funded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefit, also known as TANF. These individuals must also meet specific criteria for General Assistance, for example, having a medically verified permanent or temporary disability.
How to apply:
You can apply for and renew your benefits from the comfort of your home
Online: Go to COMPASS, the online tool for cash assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), help with child care, health care coverage, school meals and women's health, and long-term living services.
In person: File an application at your local county assistance office
On paper: Download an application, print it, and return it to your local county assistance office:
If you need help completing the application form or need more information about benefits, please contact your local county assistance office. You will be scheduled for a face-to-face interview and your caseworker will tell you what items you need to verify. DHS will make a decision on your application within 30 days.
Are You Eligible?
For the county assistance office to consider you for GA benefits, you cannot be eligible for TANF benefits and you must be one of the following:
- A child under age 18
- Ages 18 to 20 attending a secondary school or a secondary-level vocational or technical school and expected to graduate before age 21
- Parents in a two-parent household with their child who is under age 13
- Parents in a two-parent household with their child who has a disability and is under age 21.
- An adult with a permanent or temporary physical or mental disability that prevents you from working
- A person undergoing active treatment in an approved drug or alcohol program, if the treatment program prevents you from having a job (You have a nine-month limit during your lifetime to receive GA benefits for this reason)
- A victim of domestic violence or another abusive living situation. (You have a nine-month limit during your lifetime to receive GA benefits for this reason)
- A pregnant woman (not eligible for TANF)
- An adult other than a relative who is caring for a child under age 13
- An adult who is caring for another person in the household who is sick or disabled, if no other adult in the household is capable of providing the care (NOTE: The county assistance office first must review the household for TANF eligibility).
General Assistance Frequently Asked Questions
How much money is in General Assistance?
The General Assistance amount varies from county to county, but people in most counties receive up to $205/month for one person and $316/month for two people. See here for the list of Family Size Allowances by county.
Does General Assistance have any income or resource limits?
Yes. The monthly income limit in each county is the same as the “Family Size Allowance” in that county.
In addition, individuals must have less than $250 in countable resources (or $1,000 if there is more than one person in the GA budget group). Your house and one car do not count as resources.
Can someone receive General Assistance if they receive Social Security or SSI?
No. People who receive Social Security or SSI receive too much income to qualify for GA. If these benefits stop, they can qualify.
Can someone receive General Assistance if they also receive SNAP (food stamps) or Medical Assistance?
Yes. If someone is already receiving SNAP or Medical Assistance (MA or Medicaid), they can now also apply for General Assistance.