Catawba County Department of Social Services and government benefits.

Very low income families may receive help from Social Services in Catawba County North Carolina. Most of the programs administered are state or federal government funded resources, such as Medicaid or SNAP food stamps. However they do run a General Assistance Fund that can help qualified low income families and seniors deal with a crisis situation.

The main purpose of the Food Assistance Program is to promote and support the well-being and health of all citizens. It accomplishes this goal by providing low-income families, the working poor and individuals with increased access to affordable healthy, nutritious foods.

Government Food Assistance benefits are intended to supplement a household's available food budget, enabling them to obtain a variety of healthy foods. There may be help in acquiring grains (especially whole grains), dairy items, milk, vegetables, and fruits.

At the time of application and initial interview by a social worker, applicants are screened for eligibility for emergency benefits offered by Catawba County. If determined to be eligible for emergency assistance, households then receive the initial benefit amount within at most one week.

CCDSS General Assistance Fund, or GA, can provide cash assistance to Catawba County residents who are coping with a short term financial crisis. Case managers from the Department evaluate each family's or individual's circumstances to determine eligibility for public aid or government grants. Actual dollar amounts are limited, with an emphasis on avoiding genuine crisis, and may only be obtained one time within a twelve-month period.

Other conditions include if one family member has already received GA, the entire household is not eligible for twelve months. For families who are no longer together, those living separately from the original recipient can apply for and receive financial aid. The next step in the process is for the case manager to help you formulate a plan for keeping bills current each month, including paying timely rent and other expenses.

In the case of those that apply for rental assistance, the General Assistance Fund only covers a portion of a security deposit, with the recipient covering the remainder. Similarly, GA provides deposit payments for utilities, and the recipient provides the remainder. GA from Catawba County does not provide low income housing.




Instead clients can get referrals to an appropriate local shelter, such as the Family Guidance Center (for women in situations of domestic violence), Salvation Army transitional housing, or maybe the Family Care Center (families with children only). Lists of available low income apartments and housing in North Carolina are also available at the department.

Medicaid from CCDSS provides medical and health care assistance to eligible low-income North Carolina residents, according to a combination of federal government and state laws. It is funded with federal and state tax monies. The program is administered by the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance (DMA), in partnership with CCDSS social services and other agencies.

Job training is available as part of the Social Service Department. Considering that North Carolina is working to transform its welfare system, with a fresh emphasis on the importance of gaining employment and working toward self-sufficiency, rather than dependence on government assistance, this is a key resource.

The Work First Program is the foundation of that transformation. All clients are required to sign binding contracts indicating their commitment to responsibly support their families, as well as their intentions and plans in regard to ending their dependency on public benefits such as welfare. The Catawba County Department of Social Services administered program sets strict time limits on benefits and cash grants, with tough sanctions for those who refuse to make the effort to meet their responsibilities.





In order to qualify for cash benefits, there must be an eligible deprived child (under age 18) in the home, along with an individual who qualifies as a caretaker. Additionally, households must meet income and asset limits. Work First provides special work-related deductions on any income they earn as encouragement for recipients to maintain employment. Additional employment services focus on reducing long term dependence on welfare programs, increasing personal responsibility, and removing any other barriers to employment.

The counties Day Care Program is another resource emphasizing family independence and self-sufficiency. This Department of Social Services program ensures that working families with lower income have access to high quality, safe, and affordable day care.

This gives responsible adults the opportunity to both find and maintain employment, and assists them in meeting the basic needs of their children. Other benefits of the Day Care Program include direct financial aid for families in crisis. The ability to participate in job training or educational programs, and also supportive day care for children receiving protective services.

The location of Catawba County Department of Social Services is in Newton, NC 28658. Call them at 828-695-5603. They focus on directing clients to public aid.



By Jon McNamara

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