What is General Assistance

General Assistance is a state mandated, municipally administered financial assistance program. It is designed to be the program of "last resort" for members of the Minot community who are unable or have trouble providing for their basic needs. Basic needs are housing, electricity, heat, food, non-food (toiletries, hygiene), and some medical needs or prescriptions.General assistance (GA) is a confidential, financial program that assists eligible people who are in need and have nowhere else to turn. 

Please note: General Assistance does NOT provide housing. The program can assist in paying for a current housing unit or assist with paying for an available housing unit. It is the responsibility of the applicant to locate the housing.

All other available resources must be explored and used before receiving General Assistance. Eligibility is based on household income. Other conditions will be required in order to maintain eligibility. General Assistance is granted for a thirty day period and then requires a new application for any future assistance. Please note that General Assistance will not prepay bills. Assistance being applied for must already be due.

A standard condition of eligibility is that applicants must engage in an active job search. Job search efforts are reviewed and verified by the General Assistance staff. An exception to the job search requirement is for an applicant with a verified medical condition that prevents employment. A doctor will need to confirm the applicant is unable to work or has limitations.

Other conditions will include the following when applicable: 

  • Applying for SNAP (Food Stamps)
  • Applying for TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families)
  • Applying for Fuel Assistance (LIHEAP through Community Concepts)
  • Applying for subsidized housing
  • Applying for disability benefits
These are only some examples. Other conditions may be required as they relate to an applicant's specific situation.

 How can I apply?

You can apply at the Minot Town Office. Applications can be obtained online or from the office Monday-Wednesday 8:00am-4:00pm, Thursday 10:00am-6:00pm and Friday 8:00am-1:00pm. Though walk-ins can be accepted, it is best that you schedule an appointment and come with all materials required in order to make a determination. If you need to speak with the General Assistance Administrator, please call 207-345-3305 during normal business hours or 207-754-1297 if it is an emergency and outside of normal business hours.

 How long does it take to apply?

If all of your materials are in order, your application can take 30-45 minutes to review with you and a determination will be made within 24 hours of the application. 

 What information is needed when I apply?

Your General Assistance budget will be based on the 30-day period starting the day you apply. We will also look back over the past 30-days before you applied, to see what money was received, and how it was spent.

You will need to provide:

  • Identification for all adults and Social Security cards of all household members
  • Passport/Visa and Immigration paperwork (1-589, etc.)
  • DHHS benefit letter
  • Income and expenses
  • Receipts for the past 30 days (repeat applicants)
  • Current bank statements
  • Landlord verification

 Is the information I give you on my application confidential?

Yes. Your application and any case records pertaining to it are strictly confidential by law. You, the applicant, your attorney and certain government personnel may review your records. The Town will need to know who to pay your GA vouchers to, such as your landlord. We will also need you to give permission for us to contact people who can verify your income and other necessary information. The general public cannot review your records unless you have given your written permission.

 When will I receive assistance?

We will issue a written decision stating your eligibility within 24 hours after you apply. If approved for assistance we will promptly furnish any assistance for which you are determined eligible. However, please be aware that if you have not furnished sufficient information, including the verification required, we will be unable to determine eligibility; therefore we must consider your application incomplete and find you ineligible for any assistance until you reapply with adequate information.

 If I receive Food Stamps, TANF , Social Security, Veterans Benefits, Unemployment or Worker's Compensation am I still able to receive General Assistance?

Maybe. You would want to apply and if your income is less than your necessary expenses and the program's income maximum, your eligibility will be determined from there.

 If I am eligible, how much assistance can I receive?

The General Assistance Program is regulated by State Law, which has set an overall maximum amount of assistance that a household can receive. In addition, each municipality's GA guidelines contain maximum amounts of assistance allowable for each category of assistance including, rent, food, electricity, etc. We cannot exceed the established maximums even though household's expenses for various items may exceed these amounts. To be eligible, your income must fall below the overall maximum level of assistance for a household your size and your income must be less than the amount you need to pay for basic necessities using Town guidelines.

 If I am eligible, how will I receive funds?

General Assistance does not furnish money directly to the eligible person or household. All assistance is issued in the form of Town vouchers payable to the vendors who have provided your household with goods or services.

 How long can I continue to receive assistance?

When you receive your decision, the administrator will inform you of your responsibilities in order to be eligible for GA in the future. The period covered by your application and any assistance given under that application cannot exceed 30 days. However, there is no limitation on how many times a person can reapply and continue to be found eligible for assistance. The General Assistance program budgets your needs for a 30-day period, starting the day your application is received. When re-applying for General Assistance, you must provide documentation (receipts) of all spending over the past 30-days. The amount of income from all sources received by the household must also be provided. You must show that they have utilized all potential resources the administrator referred you to on their notice of eligibility, in order to receive continued General Assistance.

 What would cause me to be ineligible or disqualified for General Assistance?

This program encourages all applicants to strive for independence. You may be found ineligible for assistance if you:

  • misspend your money on non-essential items (if you question what is essential vs. nonessential please contact us),
  • forfeiting a benefit (GA cannot replace lost benefits)
  • if you quit or are fired from a job (this will result in a 120-day disqualification period),
  • if you make a false representation about anything relating to your application (this will result in a 120-day disqualification period and could result in repayment of any assistance received),
  • or if you fail to provide or permit the General Assistance office to gather necessary verification and documentation as deemed necessary by the administrator, among others.