Community Services General Assistance

Pottawattamie County General Assistance offers four key programs.

GA Brochure 2023

Please fill out our pre-screen form to learn more about General Assistance programs.

General Assistance provides assistance for:

  • Current rent
  • Current utility monthly usage: General Assistances, electric, water
  • Propane tank (up to minimum amount to deliver)

General Assistance provides medication assistance (if not on Iowa Health & Wellness/Medicaid) including: 

  • Medications (up to $200 in a one (1) month period)
  • One Co-pay per month at All Care Health Center (Interim Disability program only)

General Assistance provides Burial Assistance: 

  • $400.00 paid to Funeral Home

General Assistance does NOT provide assistance for the following items. The below referenced items are not an exhaustive list but have been areas in which assistance has been requested previously. 

  • Utility or rental deposits
  • Reconnect or disconnect charges
  • Hotel or motel
  • Telephone service
  • Cable television
  • Garbage
  • Mortgage payment
  • Insurance payment
  • Late payment fees
  • Past rent bills
  • Rent paid to relatives/friends
  • Storage units
  • Vehicles or vehicle repair; home appliances; misc. items
  • Over the counter medication without a prescription, smoking cessation, weight loss, narcotics, and other addictive medications (OxyContin, hydrocodone, etc.). 

Stipulations for ALL Pottawattamie County General Assistance Programs: 

All other community agencies have been accessed for assistance — General Assistance programs are to be last resort. Agencies they need to contact and receive a response include: 

  • Family Housing Advisory – 712-322-4436
  • Homeless Link | (712) 309-0016
  • Interfaith | (712) 322-0531
  • New Visions – 712-256-3940
  • Salvation Army | (712) 328-2088
  • Together Inc – 402-763-7531
  • If over the age of 60 — Connections | (712) 328-2540
  • For utilities, including propane, West Central Development | (712) 322-5966
    • Heat assistance program from October - April, which may include propane and utility bill that provides the heat for the home whether that be electric or General Assistances — West Central Development
  1. All persons in household must be lawful permanent residents or U.S. Citizens, 18 years & older to apply or legally emancipated adult.
  2. Must be a resident of Pottawattamie County.
  3. Sign a contract, which states that the recipient understands the requirement and expectation of the program, including repayment for any funding provided. The repayment would be based on their budget, whether it be $5-10 to begin a couple of months after the time of assistance. All adult persons in household must sign the reimbursement agreement form. If repayment or good faith effort to repay the assistance provided does not occur then no additional assistance may be considered. 
  4. Assistance can only be provided for the current month's rent. Any previous month's rent are not considered and must have proof that they are paid prior to General Assistance providing assistance for the current month's bill or a letter by the landlord stating that they are willing to work with them on the rent over General Assistance approval amount. 
  5. Pottawattamie County does not help establish residency, i.e. Does not pay for deposit nor first month's rent. The only exception is if it is a domestic violence situation and proof via police report or letter from a domestic violence agency must be provided. 
  6. Students are not eligible for General Assistance. This includes part time and full time. 
  7. Person who has quit or been fired from employment in the last 90 days. If the person quit or was fired due to medical reasons then the person has to provide medical verification.
  8. If applicant or household member is a Veteran and service connected, a denial letter from the VA office must be provided before being considered for assistance. 
  9. Applicant must apply for and comply with all Federal, State and Local programs that they are eligible for, (i.e. FIP, Social Security, unemployment, workman's comp, Iowa Health and Wellness, etc.). Noncompliance of any program is grounds for denial.                                         

Back-to-Work Program

Assistance for up to three (3) consecutive months not to exceed $500.00 for a one (1) month period. In addition, can get medication assistance up to $200 per month. 

Requirements of the Back-to-Work Program

  1. Apply for asisstance with employment through the Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation and/or Iowa Workforce Development Programs.
  2. No income in the household. The Back-to-Work program is not a supplement to household income. 
  3. Must actively seek employment by filling out at least eight (8) employment applications in one (1) month. 
  4. Attend the educational experience such as a financial/budgeting class, job-seeking class, job fair, etc. (once per month) — if applicable. 
  5. Must engage in forty (40) hours of community volunteer work in one (1) month. 
  6. Requirements must be completed prior to approval of assistance. 
  7. Comply with treatment recommended by either a physician or General Assistance specialist (i.e. AA meetings, mental health counseling, etc.). 

Please complete our pre-screen form to learn more about the Back-to-Work Program.

One-Time Needy Assistance Program

Applicant is only eligible for assistance once (1) within a Fiscal Year with the amount of assistance not to exceed $500.00. 

Requirements of the One-Time Needy Assistance Program:

  1. Household income must be at or below the 100% Federal Poverty guideline. 
  2. All Family members 18 years or older and who are not needed in the home to care for pre-school age children or a disabled person must be registered with Iowa Workforce Development. 
  3. Have a plan in place to ensure future bills will be paid by the applicant or another source. 
  4. If the need exceeds $400.00 then the applicant will need to provide verification that the remaining amount will be covered by another source or letter from the landlord stating that there is a payment plan arrangement on the amount owed over $500.00. 
  5. Pay stub from the last 30 days from everyone in the household. 
  6. If need is due to atypical expenses or situation (illness, accident, robbery) then proof will be required, i.e. doctor's note, police report. Need based on 'budgeting issues' is not approved or used funds for non-basic needs is not approved. General Assistance does not provide funding in situations when the applicant is not using income to cover their basic needs. 
  7. If providing utility assistance, the following options include:
    • Providing only current usage assistance then the past due amount needs to be paid by applicant or another source. 
    • If providing assistance for the total bill — a maximum of $500.00 — prior to approval, they must complete community volunteer hours. The number of hours is determined by the amount of assistance requested. Example: If the bill is $300 then the person has to complete 30 hours of community volunteer work. If the bill is over $400 then verification that any remaining portion has paid or put into payment plan with utility company. 

Please fill out our pre-screen form for more information about the One-Time Needy Assistance Program.

Interim Disability Program

  • Assistance up to $700 per month for a person who has no income or resources. Personal and household resources must be valued below guidelines. 
  • Apply for Social Security (as applicable — if a long term disability).
  • Inability to do any type of work as deemed by their doctor due to a mental or physical illness. A General Assistance Medical Report Form will be sent to the applicant's doctor for verification. The applicant's doctor also needs to indicate that the person is not currently using drugs/alcohol. 
  • If the person has gone through the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) stage in a previous claim for SSI/SSDI, they can not receive any further assistance unless they provide verification that they have a new or worsened condition. Items needed for this consideration include the ALJ denial letter, proof of new application for disability; disability info from medical provider to verify new/worsened condition. These cases need to be reviewed with the Community Services Director for consideration of approval. The Medical Report Form will then be sent to the applicant's doctor for verification of inability to work and no substance/alcohol issues. 
  • All persons in the household must meet the same guidelines for eligibility. 

Please complete our pre-screen form for details about the Interim Disability Program.

Burial Assistance Program:

  • Approved person must have been previously residing in Pottawattamie County but considered homeless i.e. indigent, transient. 
  • Payment provided to designated Funeral Home for a maximum of $400.00
  • If there is family that can pay for the cost, this resource must be utilized. 
  • Pauper's Cemetery must be utilized (unless taken by family) — bodies are typically cremated if their identity was known, otherwise buried. 

Please fill out our pre-screen form to learn more about the Burial Assistance Program.

Phone (712) 328-5645
Fax: (712) 328-5668
Hours 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
Monday - Friday
Location Pottawattamie County Courthouse
First Floor, Room 128
227 S 6th St
Council Bluffs, IA 51501
Mailing Address 227 S. 6th St, Ste 128
Council Bluffs, IA 51501