General Public Assistance

The General Public Assistance (GPA) program provides time-limited cash assistance to adults 18 to 64 years of age who have very limited income and resources and an illness or medical condition that keeps them from working while awaiting SSI determination.

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Covered Benefits  

Bridge Fund (GPA-Bridge)

Many individuals that apply for federal SSI benefits have to wait three to four months before their application are approved. SSI Applicants may be eligible to receive cash payments of up to $200 per month through the GPA Bridge program while their application is pending. Once the SSI application is approved, the applicant will receive a retroactive payment from the Social Security Administration starting from the date of the application. When that happens, the total amount of bridge payments is refunded to the State from the retroactive SSI payment and the payment to the recipient is reduced accordingly.

Hardship Program (GPA-Hardship)

Each year's budget sets aside a portion of the overall GPA funding to be used as a “hardship contingency fund” under the sole discretion of the DHS Director. GPA Hardship payments are intended to be a benefit of last resort for Rhode Islanders who do not qualify for Rhode Island Works or SSI. Those determined to be eligible for hardship funds may receive up to $100 per month ($50 bi-weekly).

Funeral/Burial Payment Assistance (GPA-Burial)

The GPA program also funds funeral and burial services for GPA recipients and indigent individuals. The cost of burial services is limited to $900 and is reduced based on the income and resources of the deceased and any legally liable relatives.

Eligibility and How to Apply

For eligibility, how to apply and more benefit details, including helpful information about GPA-Burial for families and funeral homes, go here.