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Help for living expenses from your town in New Hampshire

New Hampshire has a law that requires your town to provide you with financial help, if you meet certain conditions, such as a limited income. The regulation was set by Senate Bill One (law RSA 165), which was effective back in 1986. While each municipality is different, the point is there needs to be some form of support given.

It requires that every local town in the state of New Hampshire provide financial assistance or some form of cash aid to town residents who are not able to pay basic living expenses or bills on their own. It covers the poor or people in a crisis. In effect the law requires that each town and city in New Hampshire to have a local welfare program to help people who are poor and in need of assistance with living expenses.

What type of expenses can I get assistance for?

It varies greatly, but the coverage is fairly extensive. Cities and towns are required by the state law to provide financial assistance for basic necessities such as rent expenses, food, shelter, mortgage payments, utility bills, heat, lights, gas bills, water, necessary clothing, transportation and medical prescriptions. In addition, basic telephone service may be paid by the program as well if the service is necessary for health and safety reasons of the town resident.

What is not as well known is the fact that Senate Bill One requires that towns must also help with paying for so called "maintenance" items. This includes many goods such as paper products, diapers, household supplies, baby food, etc. Those goods are often not covered by SNAP food stamps, and they can be expesive to buy on a monthly basis.

Towns should also be responsible for paying security deposits, both on a home and utility service, if it is necessary to obtain housing. In addition, if someone has a necessary medical expense or cost, the town should also be obligated to pay that bill if there is no other way for the resident to obtain essential medical or health care services.





Mortgage help may also be provided by law RSA 165, or Senate Bill One. If the person or individuals lives in their own home and if they qualify for assistance from this program, then the town should help with paying a portion of the mortgage. The local government also will need to provide for other payments that may be necessary to stop a foreclosure of the home.

New Hampshire state law does allow the city or town to put a lien on your house and any land you own for the amount of mortgage or general housing assistance given to the homeowner. However, if the person later repay the town, officials will remove the lien from your home. In addition, the town can also refer you to other New Hampshire mortgage programs.

Are past bills paid?

Possibly. Usually your local town or city will pay back bills and expenses only if it is needed to maintain services. For example, the town you live in should pay electric, water, gas, oil or other fuel bills if these utilities are being shut off for nonpayment of the bill. Towns should also pay for back rent if necessary to prevent eviction from their home or apartment. So in some cases the New Hampshire government will cover arrears, but in other instances they will not.

What is not paid for?

It depends on where you live in New Hampshire. The town or city may decide that a certain expense, such as a car payment or insurance, is not necessary in order to survive so is not critical to be paid. Sometimes this may happen when a reasonable lower cost option is available to the resident, such as public transportation.




Some health care needs also may not be paid by a town in New Hampshire. If the family could qualify for free medical care from a clinic, or if they can get medications from a drug company, then the town will not assist. They will give referrals instead.

Contact your local town in New Hampshire and refer to Senate Bill One, law RSA 165 when asking for financial assistance.

By Jon McNamara

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