FY 2016 Appropriation

The General (GA) program provides time-limited services to single adults and married couples who have no dependent children residing with them 50% or more of the time and who have physical or mental health impairments that prevent basic work activities in any occupation. General Assistance provides minimal financial assistance to enable customers to meet some living expenses and may help with income requirements to qualify for some assisted housing programs. General Assistance is a state-funded program. For 2014, 2,210 individuals and 2,197 households were assisted by the GA program.

Funding History
Appropriation Overview

During the 2015 General Session, the Legislature appropriated for Fiscal Year 2016, $5,130,500 from all sources for General Assistance. This is a 5.6 percent increase from Fiscal Year 2015 revised estimated amounts from all sources. The total includes $4,880,500 from the General/Education Funds, an increase of 0.4 percent from revised Fiscal Year 2015 estimates.

Appropriation Adjustments

In addition to statewide compensation and internal service fund cost increases, the following appropriation adjustments were made during the 2015 General Session:

DescriptionOngoingOne-Time General Assistance Program Changes$250,000$0
OngoingOne-TimeFinancing Source
$250,000$0Dedicated Credits Revenue
This bill provides that a refund that offsets a benefit provided to a recipient of General Assistance shall be retained by the division and may be used by the division to provide General Assistance to other recipients, unless the refund is required to be credited to the federal government.
Transfer of Nonlapsing Balance from General Assistance to Pamela Atkinson Fund - Out$0 ($647,600)
OngoingOne-TimeFinancing Source
$0 ($647,600)Beginning Nonlapsing
Notwithstanding intent language passed in Item 11, Chapter 13 Laws of Utah 2014 (see http://le.utah.gov/~2014/bills/static/SB0008.html), for the Department of Workforce Services I propose transferring $647,600 beginning nonlapsing from the General Assistance line item to the General Fund Restricted - Pamela Atkinson Homeless Account in FY 2015 for use in FY 2016 and reduce the building block entitled "Case Managers for Chronically Homeless" (see #19 at http://le.utah.gov/interim/2015/pdf/00001655.pdf) by the same amount (reduce by $647,600 to $352,400).
Staff Analysis

Separate tables are shown under the tab labeled "Financials" in each COBI section. These tables provide information regarding: 1) funding sources (where the money comes from), 2) standardized state expenditure categories (where the money goes), and 3) agency sub-programs (when viewed at the line item level). For the most recent completed fiscal year, the following information represents the purposes for which the money was used:

General Assistance Detailed Purposes

Clients Served Monthly

Clients Served Monthly

Unearned and/or Earned Income at Closure as Compared to All Closures

Unearned and/or Earned Income at Closure as Compared to All Closures

Statute

UCA 35A-3-401 establishes the General Assistance program providing financial support to individuals not receiving cash assistance under the Family Employment Program or the Supplemental Security Income program and who are unemployable "according to standards established by the department."

Upon approval for assistance, GA customers are assigned to either a short-term track or a long-term track. This track assignment is based on the anticipated length of impairment reported on the medical form completed by the customer's health care provider. The following describes the two tracks:

  • GA customers with impairments that will last less than 6 months are assigned to the short-term track. The program provides resources and referrals to help the customer prepare to re-enter the labor market when they are able. No case management services are provided to customers on the short-term track.
  • GA customers with impairments that will last longer than 6 months are required to apply for and actively pursue long-term Social Security disability benefits. Customers on the long-term track are assigned to a case manager who has been trained to assist the customer with the SSI (Supplemental Security Income)/SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) application and appeal processes.

General Assistance benefits are time limited to a total of 12-months of benefits in a 60-month period. GA customers on the short-term track are limited to 6-months of benefits in a 12-month period.

Eligibility: Assistance is based on income, assets, and disability. GA customers must:

  • be at least age 18 or no longer being supported by parents;
  • provide "Verification of Impairment" that prevents basic work activities in any occupation
  • have a monthly gross income of $608 or less for a one-person household;
  • have a monthly gross income of $843 or less for a two-person household; and
  • have $2,000 or less in household assets.

Amounts/Restrictions:

  • $287 monthly cash assistance for a one-person household;
  • $398 monthly cash assistance for a two-person household; and
  • some participants are required to apply for long-term disability benefits.

Intent Language

HB0003: Item 85

Notwithstanding intent language passed in Item 11, Chapter 13 Laws of Utah 2014 for the Department of Workforce Servicesí General Assistance line item, the Legislature authorizes transferring $647,600 beginning nonlapsing balances from the General Assistance line item to the General Fund Restricted - Pamela Atkinson Homeless Account.


SB0007S01: Item 21

The Legislature intends that the Department of Workforce Services report on the following performance measures for the General Assistance line item: (1) Positive closure rate (SSI achievement or closed with earnings) (Target = 45%), (2) General Assistance customers served (Target = 835), and (3) Internal review compliance accuracy (Target = 80%) by January 1, 2016 to the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee.


For analysis of current budget requests and discussion of issues related to this budget click here.

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COBI contains unaudited data as presented to the Legislature by state agencies at the time of publication. For audited financial data see the State of Utah's Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports.