Social Services Update
Social Services Update

General Assistance Program Updated to Reflect Community Needs

Author: Social Services
Date: 12/11/2018 9:50:17 AM

Each year, the program helps an average of 650 community members meet basic needs while they pursue employment or long-term disability benefits. This is the first major update in 25 years.


On November 6, 2018, the Department of Social Services took a resolution to the Board of Supervisors to update guidelines for the County’s General Assistance program.

The General Assistance program is a program of last resort to support indigent County residents who have no other available means of support. This program was established in San Luis Obispo County in February 1993 and has not had any major program updates in the 25 years since it was established.

Since the program was first established, federal law has changed the requirements for other programs administered by the Department of Social Services and the Department worked with advocates to update General Assistance program requirements to be in line with federal guidelines and to reflect the needs of our community.

The major program changes are:

  • Applicants for General Assistance can begin the application process in any of the six regional offices. They must still attend their intake appointment at the main office in San Luis Obispo
  • Applicants who need to obtain a doctor’s note to verify disability will be provided additional time to obtain that verification
  • Housing costs are no longer considered as part of the grant calculation formula
  • Resource limits have been revised
  • Job search requirements have been revised and are in alignment with the CalFresh Employment and Training program requirements
  • Benefit payment eligibility time frames have been adjusted
  • Student eligibility has been updated
  • Drug felon eligibility has been updated

On average each year the General Assistance program serves 650 community members. These individuals are provided assistance to meet their basic needs while they are also supported in pursuing either employment or long-term disability benefits through other available programs.