What is General Assistance and how can I apply if I am in need?
General Assistance is a locally administered welfare program which provides financial assistance to persons who are not eligible for any other state or federal assistance programs and who do not have income or resources to provide for their own basic needs. An application and needed verification must be completed before assistance may be considered. An application may be obtained by coming to the General Assistance office or by making an appointment.
How do I know if I qualify for General Assistance?
You must be at least eighteen years old and a resident of Oak Park. You must not be the custodial parent of a minor child. If you are unemployed, applicants are required to maintain current registration with the Illinois Job Service and must participate in a verifiable and active job search. If you voluntarily left your job without due cause or were terminated for misconduct, you must wait thirty days after termination to file an application. If you are a full or part time college student, you are not eligible. If you are not a United States citizen, you must be an alien admitted under color of law and reside in this country for five years to be eligible. If you live in a private or public institution, including psychiatric facilities, you are ineligible. All income and assets are included in determining your eligibility except the cash value of life insurance not exceeding $1,000, homestead property, and one automobile. Applicants who are unable to work and have filed for Supplemental Security Income must submit SSI paperwork with their current status as well as additional eligibility information on request.
What are my responsibilities while I am a General Assistance recipient?
You must give complete information regarding income, assets, and means of support at the time of application. All changes in circumstance must be reported in person, via letter, or phone call within five working days of the change or prior to the expenditure of the most recent check received, whichever comes first. Those changes include family size, location, or receipt of income or assets which might affect the applicant's assistance.
The applicant is also expected to keep appointments and cooperate on referrals. If you receive more aid than warranted because of failure to report a change in circumstances, you will be required to repay the entire amount of excess assistance provided by the township. Persons who fail to comply may be prosecuted for fraud. A person found guilty of fraud may be fined, imprisoned, or both. Anyone who encourages a person to misrepresent his or her case by any means is, by law, also guilty of fraud.
What if I am unhappy with the decisions made by Oak Park Township General Assistance?
You may appeal any decision by Oak Park General Assistance if you consider the decision unfair, you feel you have been unfairly forced to participate in a service program, or you feel you have been unfairly denied or excluded from a service program. Details of the appeal process are available upon request.