Updates on cases, laws, and other topics of interest to local governments

Subscribe by Email

Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Subscribe in a Reader

Follow Municipal Minute on Twitter


Blog comments do not reflect the views or opinions of the Author or Ancel Glink. Some of the content may be considered attorney advertising material under the applicable rules of certain states. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Please read our full disclaimer

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Townships and General Assistance for Migrants

As migrants arrive in the Chicagoland area from the southern border, several questions have arisen regarding the legal authority for townships to provide financial aid through general assistance funds. While townships have the authority to provide financial assistance to migrants under the Public Aid Code, 305 ILCS 5/1-1 et seq., (Code), whether migrants are eligible for general assistance funds is a bit more complicated .

First, to receive general assistance under the Code, recipients must either be United States citizens or in a category of eligible non-citizens. The Code provides definitions of those categories, but a township may need to consult with an immigration attorney or legal non-profit for guidance on application of this provision of the Code to the migrants within their jurisdiction. 

Second, for migrants to receive general assistance, they must not be eligible under any other section of the Code. The Code allows the administration of funds for several programs that migrants may be eligible for depending on certain immigration classifications. Townships may need to seek expert guidance on the classification question as well.

Third, assuming those preliminary hurdles are cleared, townships have legal authority to administer general assistance to migrants. While general assistance is usually limited to residents of Illinois, an exception exists to provide non-state residents with general assistance for a temporary period when they will suffer “great hardship.” Migrants arriving in the Chicagoland area typically have no money, food, or shelter which would likely qualify as a great hardship under the Code.

General assistance is split into two categories: 1) transitional assistance; and 2) family and children assistance. The first category, transitional assistance, is for individuals 18 years or older who are “chronically needy” and townships have the power to expand categories of “chronically needy.” If a township wants to provide aid to migrants through transitional assistance, they have the power to do so. The second category, family and children assistance, is for families with children under 18 or pregnant women. There may also be other aid programs for needy families that migrants may be eligible for depending on immigration status. 

Finally, nothing in the Code should be construed to mean that townships are required to provide general assistance to migrants in their communities, but only that they appear to have the authority to do so, subject to certain status or classification issues. 

Post Authored by Daniel Lev, Ancel Glink


Post a Comment