DSS: Financial Assistance

Financial Assistance

The financial assistance programs provide income support to individuals and families to meet their basic needs while encouraging their maximum degree of independence. The programs are:

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

State Supplement

State Administered General Assistance

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program was signed into law on August 22, 1996. This federal legislation provides block grants to states to fund programs that provide services and benefits to needy families. TANF was designed to give states flexibility to operate programs that serve one of the following purposes:
  • Provides assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives
  • Ends the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work and marriage
  • Prevents and reduces the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and establishes annual numerical goals for preventing and reducing the incidence of these pregnancies
  • Encourages the formation and maintenance of two parent families

In Connecticut, TANF funds the Temporary Family Assistance program, Safety Net, Employment Services and many other programs and services for needy families. For a description of all of the programs and services funded by TANF, please go to our TANF State Plan  .

Jobs First Temporary Family Assistance (TFA) provides cash assistance to families. For families with an employable adult, there is a 21-month lifetime limit for the receipt of TFA. Families in which there is no employable adult have no limit to the duration of the benefits. Eligibility is based on income being lower than a set standard and assets being below limits. Earned income of recipients of TFA that are working are not counted until they are equal to the federal poverty level. They are thus allowed to keep all earnings up to the federal poverty level as well as the cash assistance benefit. Families are allowed to have up to $3,000 in a bank account, and life insurance policies and pension plans are excluded. The equity value of an automobile in excess of $9,500 counts towards the asset limit. The amount of assistance varies depending on which of three regions of the state they live in. The assistance for a family of three in the most populous region is $500 per month if in subsidized housing, $543 if not. Adults in the family are subject to digital imaging of their fingerprints to prevent receipt of duplicate assistance.

Families subject to the time limit may qualify for six-month extensions to the limit if they have good cause for being unemployed or underemployed (earning less than the TFA benefit) at the end of the 21-month period, or any extension.

There is a family cap provision in which the increase in benefit for additional children conceived while the mother is on assistance is reduced by approximately one-half of what it otherwise would be. Minor parents are required to live with a parent, stepparent, or legal guardian. If there is good reason why the minor parent cannot live with one of these, then the minor must reside with an adult relative or in an adult-supervised living arrangement.

Jobs First Employment Services (ES) are designed to rapidly move recipients of TFA into employment and toward self-sufficiency. Priority is given to families subject to the 21-month time limit and all such families are required to participate in employment services. Jobs First uses a workforce attachment model, with employment being the immediate goal of the participant and job search is generally required before any other services are made available. Child care and transportation assistance is available for families participating in activities that will lead to employment.

Child care assistance is available to TFA recipients who need child care to accept or retain employment. Such assistance continues until the family's income reaches 75% of the state's median income level.

Families receiving TFA are eligible for medical assistance under Medicaid. Such assistance continues for at least two years following ineligibility for TFA if a member of the family was working at the time, or if a family member went to work within six months of ineligibility for TFA.

Because the Jobs First program is a research and demonstration program, there is an evaluation component that involves control groups in two areas of the state. The control groups continue to receive benefits under the rules of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TFA) program.

Numbers served: In January, 1998, 47,656 families were active.

Follow this link for more information on TFA.

How to Access Cash and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits.

Temporary Family Assistance (TFA) Fact Sheet 


State Supplement Cash Assistance

The State Supplement Cash Assistance program provides cash assistance to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled to supplement their income and maintain them at a standard of living established by the State Legislature. In order to receive benefits, individuals must have another source of income such as Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, or Veteransí benefits. To qualify as aged, and individual must be 65 years of age or older; to qualify as disabled, an individual must be between the ages of 18 and 65 and meet the disability criteria of the federal Social Security Disability Insurance program; and to qualify as blind, an individual must meet the criteria of the Social Security Disability program, or the State Board of Education and Services for the Blind.

The program is funded entirely by state funds, but operates under both state and federal law and regulation. Incentives are available to encourage recipients to become as self-supporting as their ages or abilities will allow. State Supplement program payments also promote a higher degree of self-sufficiency by enabling recipients to remain in non-institutional living arrangements. People eligible for State Supplement are automatically eligible for Medicaid.

Liquid assets cannot exceed $1,600 for a single person or $2,400 for a couple. If a recipient owns a home, a lien is placed upon it.

**New State Supplement Application Process For Rated Housing Providers at DSS**
To better serve our applicants and providers, effective August 1, 2015, DSS has realigned our three Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Application Centers.

The Bridgeport, New Haven and Waterbury LTSS Application Centers now process all applications for rated housing providers from specific cities and towns.  Please check this table for which of the three LTSS Application Centers to use regarding state supplement applications for rated housing providers, based on your city or town.    
Application packets with as much of the required documentation that is available at the time of submission should be mailed directly to the appropriate LTSS Application Processing Center, beginning August 1.


State Administered General Assistance (SAGA) Cash Assistance

Through the SAGA Cash Assistance program, the Department provides cash assistance to individuals who are unable to work for medical or other prescribed reasons, and to families that do not meet the blood-relationship requirements of the Temporary Family Assistance (TFA) program.

Employable individuals are not eligible for SAGA cash assistance.  However, employable individuals who have substance abuse problems may be eligible to receive treatment and some financial support through the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Servicesí (DMHAS) Basic Needs Program. You can get information about the Basic Needs Program by calling toll-free 1-800-658-4472.

General application for SAGA Cash Assistance services is made at a local office of the Department of Social Services.  For referral to the closest DSS office to you, visit the Regional Offices section of this website, call Infoline at 2-1-1, or look in the blue government pages of your phone book.

State Administered General Assistance (SAGA)_Cash Assistance Factsheet 

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Qualifying for SAGA cash assistance benefits:

In order to qualify for SAGA cash assistance benefits, individuals must meet the following requirements:

  • Categorical Eligibility: With limited exceptions related to abuse or neglect, unemancipated minors (under age 18) are not eligible for cash assistance. In addition, individuals must qualify as Unemployable, Short-Term Transitional or Long-Term Transitional.
Unemployable: Determined by the Departmentís disability examiners to have a physical and/or mental impairment (or combination or impairments) that will prevent employment for six months or more. The medical impairment criteria are identical to those used in the SSI and Medicaid programs, adjusted for duration and severity. Individuals may also qualify as unemployable for the following documentable non-medical reasons: under age 16; over age 65; over age 55 and no work history in the previous 5 years; full-time high school student; needed in the home to care for an incapacitated spouse or child; needed in the home to care for a child under age 2; or, pending receipt of a state or federal means-tested program, e.g., State Supplement or TFA.
Short-Term Transitional: Medical documentation of inability to work for 2 Ė 6 months. Must have a recent work history in order to qualify under this category (earned at least $500 in each of 3 of the last 5 calendar quarters, or was eligible to collect Unemployment Compensation during the previous six months).
  • Long-Term Transitional: Medical documentation of inability to work for six months or more. No work history required; however, all cases are referred to the Departmentís disability examiners for a review of unemployability.
Benefit Levels: Unemployables Ė up to $212 per month. Short-Term and Long-Term Transitionals Ė up to $212 per month if applicant has a rental obligation or $53 if living rent-free.
Income Rules: Adjusted income (gross minus certain exclusions and deductions) may not exceed $53 or $212 per month, depending upon the individualís Unemployable or Transitional status.

Asset Rules: The asset limit is $250 per person, or up to $1,000 for a family of four or more. The department does not count the equity of an automobile as long as it is no more than $4,500. The department counts any amount over $4,500 towards the asset limit.  Real property is subject to a lien or security mortgage.

Citizenship: Applicants must be citizens or qualified aliens. Rules are identical to those of the TFA program. Sponsorís income is deemed for entrants following December 1997.
Third Party Benefits: Applicants and recipients must pursue all third party benefits (including SSI and TFA) in order to qualify.

Substance Abuse: Active substance abusers (drug and/or alcohol) are required to participate in treatment.

Funeral Allowance: The Department pays for funeral and burial expenses of SAGA, TFA, State Supplement recipients and indigent persons who die without sufficient estate or legally-liable relatives able to pay for the cost of a proper funeral and burial. The Departmentís maximum payment is $1,200. This amount is reduced by any liquid assets in the estate (such as money in a bank account),  life insurance policies, the amount in any funeral fund, any prepaid funeral contract, and the amount of contributions (regardless of source) that exceed $3,400.
Application must be made within one year of the date of death and may be filed by the funeral director, a family member, or any individual who made the funeral arrangements. Payment for the funerals can only be made to the funeral director, cemetery or crematory. Family members and individuals cannot be reimbursed or receive payment from the Department.


Out-of-State Transportation

The department will provide transportation for individuals receiving public or general assistance to any other state or country if such individual has a relative who agrees to support the individual, or the individual has a job in the other state.

Content Last Modified on 8/2/2017 10:43:53 AM