welfare assistance

The Art of Welfare

New Hampshire law requires every town and city to have a welfare program to assist residents who are poor and in need of help.

Join Legal Services Counsel Stephen Buckley who will provide a basic overview of New Hampshire law governing local welfare administration, including why guidelines are important, how assistance is provided, and anticipated legislative changes. This session will also address fair hearings, suspension of assistance, and more.

Legal Q & A: Recovery of Welfare Assistance

The first duty of welfare officials is to provide financial assistance to anyone in town who "is poor and unable to support himself … whether or not he has a residence there." RSA 165:1. But an important secondary duty to the taxpayers of the town is, where practical, to recover money expended to assist eligible applicants. As recently as 1975, the New Hampshire Supreme Court cited the view that Old Age Assistance (OAA) "is in the nature of a loan to be allowed as a claim against the recipient's estate…." In re Estate of Harville, 115 N.H. 480, 482 (1975), quoting State v.

State Cuts Squeeze Local Welfare Budgets

The New Hampshire legislature made a substantial change in the eligibility requirements for APTD (Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled) cash benefits, the state disability assistance program, that may result in an influx of applicants for local welfare assistance over the next several months. Under RSA 167:27, no person who is receiving APTD cash assistance from the state is eligible to receive local assistance except medical and surgical assistance. (Receipt of APTD medical assistance only does not disqualify a person from local assistance. See Smith v.

Welfare Appeals: Fair Hearings

There may be times when even the most thorough and well thought out decision by a welfare administrator on a request for local assistance is met with less than enthusiastic agreement by the welfare applicant. In fact, the applicant may feel that the decision is completely wrong and that an injustice has occurred. When a decision is made by a local welfare administrator to grant assistance, to deny assistance, or to suspend assistance for non-compliance with guidelines, the applicant has a right to appeal that decision.

Work Programs as Part of a Local Welfare Program – Are They Worth the Work?

As the economy continues to struggle, more and more people are finding it necessary to apply for local welfare assistance. This means that local assistance budgets are straining under the ever increasing case load of eligible applicants. Work programs for those receiving town assistance may be an effective way to recoup some of the expenses of the welfare program and allow assisted persons to learn job skills that may help them return to an income status and provide for themselves. If administered carefully, a work program can be a win-win proposition for the town.

Dealing with Burial Costs: Understanding A Municipality's Obligation

Questions sometimes arise regarding a municipality's welfare obligations with respect to burials. Certainly, a municipality has a legal duty to provide assistance to the indigent. The application of this basic legal duty, however, can potentially cause uncertainty when dealing with the cost of burials. The following is a brief overview of a municipality's welfare burial obligations.

Q. By way of background, what is the legal basis for a municipality's general duty to provide welfare?

Local Welfare Budgets Hit Hard by State and National Economic Conditions

It is not news that the State of New Hampshire is experiencing a budget crisis that will affect all municipalities in a variety of ways. With this article, however, I want to focus on the impact that the State budget, and other national and state economic conditions, will have on local welfare (General Assistance) budgets.

Beyond RSA 91-A: How Public Is That Information?

By C. Christine Fillmore, Esq.

Welfare: Arrearages and Back Bills - To Pay or Not to Pay?

Applicants for local assistance often come to the welfare office because they are behind in rent and utility bills. They may have been served with an eviction notice or a disconnect notice. One of the many questions for the welfare administrator to answer in this case is whether the arrearages, or back bills, will be paid by the municipality as part of the welfare assistance rendered to the eligible applicant. This question may only be answered after a careful review of each applicant’s situation—it should not be resolved with a blanket “we never pay back bills" policy.

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