Welfare Office


Federally funded and governed US welfare began in the 1930's during the Great Depression. The US government responded to the overwhelming number of families and individuals in need of aid by creating a welfare program that would give assistance to those who had little or no income.

The US welfare system stayed in the hands of the federal government for the next sixty-one years. Many Americans were unhappy with the welfare system, claiming that individuals were abusing the welfare program by not applying for jobs, having more children just to get more aid, and staying unmarried so as to qualify for greater benefits. Welfare system reform became a hot topic in the 1990's. Bill Clinton was elected as President with the intention of reforming the federally run US Welfare program. In 1996 the Republican Congress passed a reform law signed by President Clinton that gave the control of the welfare system back to the states.

NH State Law requires that the municipality provide for those who are unable to provide for themselves.


  • The Town of Rye provides welfare assistance through the Portsmouth Welfare Department.  
  • You must first call the Portsmouth Welfare Department to arrange for an interview:  610-7267
  • They will give you information on the documents you will need to provide and will set up a time for your interview.