Very low income families can turn to public assistance from Department of Social Services as a short term safety net. Any aid provided is combined with longer term support, such as referrals to One Stop job centers and educational support. However, qualified residents may be able to enroll into SNAP food stamps or maybe receive emergency utility bill assistance from LIHEAP.
The nation’s and counties main resources for rental assistance and subsidies is section 8. This is a form of homeless prevention, though there is a waiting list in Horry County and throughout South Carolina. While all funding is limited and the demand for a voucher is very high, the county will try to help in any way they can by referring clients to public housing authorities (PHA). This can even also include additional referrals to other local agencies that offer emergency rent help, or maybe funds from the ESG program.
Low cost health and dental care can be provided by Medicaid, or seniors in Horry County can apply for Medicare. These are both the main publicly funded medical assistance programs in the state. There is assistance in paying for expenses incurred on check ups, for prescription drugs, and other needs. They are also an option for the disabled or people with special conditions, such as blindness.
Some components of it include Medicaid for Pregnant Women, Families with Dependent Children, or Medicaid for children and infants. Another option is SC Health Choice for Children, which is for families with children that are threatened by poverty. They all come with certain terms and conditions.
Food stamps are for very low income individuals or families. There is also help from Department of Social Services in Horry County for residents that are faced with poverty, and they can also apply.
As part of SNAP, families and those that meet income conditions will receive help in buying their groceries and other nutritional items. Clients will be provided with an EBT type card which can be used at grocery stores across South Carolina and other towns.
There are some restrictions to SNAP, as set by the federal government. The program won’t pay for prepared meals, however the EBT card can be used to pay for vegetables, fruits and meats. There may also be other public benefits available for buying food, and this can include WIC, Summer Food Service and similar public benefits.
Cash assistance paid out as part of TANF, and these federal government funds can be used for a variety of bills. This is known as Family Independence in SC, and there may be assistance for housing (such as rent or a security deposit), clothing, medical bills (including medications) and much more. This is a time limited program and requires participants to enroll into job placement and various self-sufficiency resources.
Some non-profits in the area offer other types of so called general assistance. This can rely on government programs such as Emergency Food and Shelter as well as many others. The Department of DSS will often have referrals to this, however the allotments of money available for low income families can change monthly if not weekly. It can often be combined with zero percent interest loans, and these funds can be used to pay for everything from rent to food or overdue water bills.
Grants for paying utility bills are part of LIHEAP. This is for very low income families, with a priority on the disabled, seniors, and households with very high energy bills. There may be either credits placed on a utility account, or the by Horry County DSS will directly issue funds to the energy provider for the clients bills.
The LIHEAP Crisis or Emergency Assistance program is available in the county as well. This will help when someone has a shut off notice from their power company. The key benefit from this option is the application process is streamlined and accelerated, so government funds are issued by Social Services in less time.
Child care subsidies are sometimes available in the state of South Carolina as well as county of Horry. Parents with a low income, that are either working or in job training, can apply for these. They will offset a portion of the day care expenses due for the child, provided the parent continues to work or stay in their training.
This is also a time limited public assistance program that is always in high demand, therefore there is a waiting list in place. The Horry County Department of Social Services will usually log the applicant on it, and then they will be contacted if/when funds or additional vouchers become available.
For more information on any of these services, call the Fayetteville based DSS at (843) 915-4700.
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