General Assistance Banner

General Assistance

What Is General Assistance?

General Assistance (GA) provides short-term monetary help to Johnson County residents in extreme financial crisis.

GA offers a safety net for those not eligible for other government programs and promotes community strength by encouraging individual stability, self-sufficiency and responsibility.

GA promotes respect, compassion, and fairness in all of its interactions with persons seeking and receiving aid.

FY20 General Assistance Year-end Report
General Assistance Guidelines and Policy

What Help Is Available?

Financial assistance is available to address the following needs: rent, utilities, provisions, prescriptions and funeral expenses.

Short Term Program

The short term program may be used up to three (3) months in a twelve (12) month period, if the household reapplies and requalifies each time. The applying household’s income must be at or below the 50% Federal Poverty Guidelines, as well as meet the eligibility guidelines listed below.

One Time Program

The One Time Program may be used for one (1) month in a twelve (12) month period of a household’s eligibility. This program is used when a household’s income for the last 30 days falls between 51% and 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

For both the Short Term and One Time Programs:

Total monthly benefits for any one month period will not exceed:
$550 - 1 person household
$600 – 2 person household
$650 – 3 person household
$700 – 4 or more person household

The maximum amount of assistance for each specific category may vary.

*Please note, the maximum number of months of assistance for a household is three (3) in a twelve (12) month period.*

Interim Assistance Reimbursement (IAR) Program

The Interim Assistance Reimbursement (IAR) Program provides ongoing financial assistance for those applying for disability benefits through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) of the Social Security Administration. An eligible applicant may receive monthly assistance not to exceed the current General Assistance benefit per month for the duration of eligibility. The applicant must provide documentation from a medical professional that they are unable to work for twelve (12) months or longer. Eligibility continues as long as the consumer is meeting program requirements and until they are approved for SSI or a determination is made at the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) stage. If they are denied at the ALJ stage they are no longer eligible for the IAR Program. Upon approval of SSI benefits, the Social Security Administration will reimburse Johnson County the amount that the client received in benefits from the IAR program. The remainder of the SSI back pay will be provided directly to the client.

Informational Brochure

Burial Assistance

Maximum benefits are $2,100 for funeral service expenses. These expenses may include but are not limited to; funeral home services and memorials for burial or cremation, embalming, casket or urn, grave liner, transfer of deceased to funeral home and cemetery, and preparation and filing of the death certificate. In addition, GA may provide up to $900 for cemetery expenses including the opening and closing and purchase of a plot. The family will be financially responsible for any printed materials, clergy or music honorariums, flowers, limousines or family cars, death certificate, and luncheon or reception charges. The assistance is intended to cover the full cost of funeral home services associated with burial or cremation, as well as expenses related to the internment of remains. Payment for out-of-state funerals will not be provided. General Assistance will pay $250 for burial or cremation of those deceased persons deemed non-resident transients, as per Iowa Code 252.27. The deceased’s household income and available resources for the previous 30 days must be at or below the 100% Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Who Is Eligible?

To be eligible for General Assistance, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Speak with a General Assistance Assistant and complete an application.
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or have documented legal status. Households that include a combination of undocumented and documented individuals must report the income of all individuals in the household. Only household members with legal documented status will be counted when determining household size for eligibility purposes.
  • Be 18 years of age, married, or an emancipated minor.
  • Applicants must apply for and follow through with all other assistance programs for which they may be eligible such as, Veterans Affairs (VA), Family Investment Program (FIP), Food Assistance, Medicaid, Iowa Health and Wellness Plan, Housing Assistance, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security, and/or Unemployment, prior to receiving General Assistance. Applicants placed on a limited benefit plan (LBP) by the Department of Human Services will be deemed ineligible for assistance.
  • Persons must be working, or actively seeking employment.
  • Meet income eligibility requirements as established by the guidelines and verified by the GA Assistant.
  • Applicants who are eligible for and/or have received maximum assistance benefits from Johnson County Veteran’s Affairs are not eligible for General Assistance.
  • Households that are currently receiving cash assistance or a subsidy from local (VA, MHDS) federal (SSI, SSDI, Unemployment Assistance) and/or state (FIP) assistance programs are not eligible for General Assistance, unless the General Assistance worker determines the situation is exceptional in nature.
  • Rent Assistance will not be used to supplement Section 8 Housing Assistance or other federally subsidized units, unless the General Assistance worker determines the situation is exceptional in nature.
  • An applicant, or household member of an applicant, who is registered in post high school training or education is not eligible for assistance. This does not include applicants working towards their high school diploma, GED, or engaged in unpaid vocational training provided through their employer, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, or a transitional support services program.
  • An applicant, or household member of an applicant, who has voluntarily terminated employment or is terminated for poor work attendance (without sufficient explanation) shall not be eligible for General Assistance for a period of three (3) months after the termination. Ineligibility for assistance is waived if applicant obtains a new job and provides verification of hire.

Applying For General Assistance

If you are in need of financial assistance, please call 356-6090.

Contact Information

Phone: (319) 356-6090
[email protected]
Health & Human Services Building
855 S Dubuque Street
Suite 202B
Iowa City, IA 52240

Map It Bus Route
(Lakeside or Broadway bus routes)

Office Hours: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday

Sue Campney
Sue Campney
Jessica Beck
Jessica Beck