General Assistance (GA)

Eligibility and Application


GA is for people who fall into well-defined categories. If you fall into one of these categories, GA looks at how much money you have. If GA decides that you have enough money to pay for basic needs, you won’t get help from GA.

Eligibility Categories

In general, GA is for people who can’t work. You can get GA if you are:

  • Permanently ill or disabled
  • Temporarily ill or disabled
  • Taking care of someone with a disability or illness
  • In a mental, physical, or drug rehabilitation facility
  • Unemployable
  • Applying for SSDI or SSI
  • Waiting to hear back on an SSDI or SSI appeal
  • Over 55 and can’t work
  • A person with a learning disability
  • A person with a drug or alcohol addiction
  • A full time student and displaced homemaker
  • Doing court ordered services
  • A person attending high school and English isn’t your first language
  • Under 18 and not living with your parents

If you’re in one of those categories, GA then looks at your asset and income levels.


GA looks at how much you own. Things you own are called assets. If your assets are high enough, GA believes that you can use them to pay for basic needs.

Common examples of assets:
  • Checking accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Cars
  • Stocks
  • Bonds

GA Asset Limits

The GA asset limit is $10,000 for both individuals and married couples.

There are some things that GA realizes that you can’t use to pay for basic needs. GA doesn’t include these things when they count your assets.

Examples of assets GA doesn't count:
  • Real property, including the home you live in
  • Personal goods like pets, furniture, clothing, jewelry, appliances, and tools
  • The value of one car per family member who is 16 or older (If you have more cars than that, they will be counted as assets), and
  • Assets in an ABLE account: If you have a disability that began before you turned 26, you can open an ABLE account where you can save up to $18,000 each year and not have it counted by GA. Learn more about ABLE accounts.

Assets that GA doesn’t count are called exclusions. If your assets, after exclusions, are over the limit, you can’t get GA.


GA will look at money you get from work, benefits, or other sources. This money is called income. There’s a limit to how much income you can have.

GA Income Limits

The amount of income you can have depends on your living situation:

If you are…

The income limit is...

GA Income Limits

…an adult not living with a parent

$203 per month

…a married couple

$260 per month

…a minor not living with a parent $250 per month

How GA Counts Your Income

GA doesn’t count all of your income when they check to see if it’s over the limits. They’ll take your total income and subtract the income in certain categories that they don’t count. If your income, after these subtractions, is over the income limit, you can’t get GA.

Example of income that GA doesn’t count
  • GA doesn't count the first $65 that you get from working each month and just half of the remaining earned income you have. Example: If you earn $225 in a month, your GA benefits will only go down $80.
  • Starting January 1, 2024, tribal per capita income is not counted by GA.

The bottom line: You'll always be better off working, because your earnings will always go up more than your benefits go down.


Apply for GA online with MNbenefits. You can also fill out the Combined Application Form and turn it in to your county or tribal human services office. When you apply for GA, you must also apply for any other benefits you could be eligible for, including disability benefits, unemployment, workers’ compensation, retirement benefits, or other benefits.

After you submit your application, you’ll be interviewed. You should hear back within 30 days after you apply.

Rules for People with Disabilities

If you have a disability, when you apply for GA you also have to apply for SSI and SSDI. The Department of Human Services has people who can help with your application. You can’t be on both SSI and GA at the same time, but you can get GA while you’re waiting for SSI to decide on an application or appeal.

GA is meant to be temporary assistance

GA does not have a time limit, but is usually only an interim assistance program that helps you until your income goes up. That's why most people who get GA only get it for 12 months or less.

Once you start getting benefits like SSI or SSDI or have other income that you can live on, you will stop getting GA.

Learn more