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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 Services’ (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:

Income Rules:

 Adjusted income (gross minus certain exclusions and deductions) may not exceed $53 or $212 per month, depending upon the individual’s 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. Sponsor’s 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 for SAGA: 

The Department pays for funeral and burial expenses of SAGA recipients and indigent persons (other than TFA or State Supplement recipients) who die without sufficient estate or legally-liable relatives able to pay for the cost of a proper funeral and burial. The Department’s maximum payment is $1,400 This amount is reduced by any amount in the estate (including the face value of burial and insurance policies), the amount of actual or expected contributions from legally liable relatives, and the amount of all other contributions (regardless of source) that exceed $3,200.

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.