Chatham County public assistance.

Thousands of low income families receive help from the public aid programs in Chatham County. The DFCS processes applications to state and federal government benefits. Any type of support is generally short term in nature as these programs are intended to satisfy a temporary need while helping the client gain long term self-sufficiency.

There are publicly funded resources that will help ensure families get the food they need to prevent hunger. Cash assistance from TANF is also available in Chatham County, and the main DFCS offices can also process applications for Medicaid or childcare vouchers. So there are a number of resources available in the community for those that are less fortunate.

The Chatham County SNAP - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is known as food stamps. This is for low income families in the city of Savannah and across the county. There is also a version of this dedicated to helping senior citizens in the community as well. Some of the other primary hunger prevention services include Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) as well as TEFAP - Emergency Food Assistance.

Each has their own application process and focus, as indicated below. Even if a resident is not qualified for one of these public aid programs, they can always apply for another.

Food stamps provides monthly benefits to low-income households in Chatham County. An EBT card can be used to help the family pay for their monthly groceries. The dollar amount available from DFCS is minimal, but it can help the family with some of their expenses. Aid is offered regardless of color, race, age, religion, disability, gender identity, reprisal, and political beliefs.

TEFAP - Emergency Food Assistance is also for the working poor. This not only can provide boxes of food or fresh fruits on a monthly basis, but education and nutrition information is also given out. This can help a family prepare a healthy meal, or show them how to budget more effectively.

Commodity Supplemental Food is a public assistance program for the elderly and young children. The social service program can be used to improve the diets of low income residents in Chatham County. There are income restrictions in place and which need to be met by the applicant. If qualified, the senior may be qualified to receive help.




The Chatham County EAP, or low income Energy Assistance Program, can provide a family with a grant. The public funds need to be used for paying either cooling bills during the summer or a heating bill during the winter months. DFCS partners with the Savannah community action agency on this service.

TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) is the available as the counties primary welfare program. It combines cash payments for bills along with Employment Services, which will be used to help the individual find a job. The public aid is for low-income families with children under the age 18. Or there can be some exceptions made for households with older children if they are in school full time.

One component of this will help Refugees. They can receive additional cash support from the county. Or another service known as Refugee Medical Assistance, or RMA, will try to arrange medical and dental care for immigrants and newcomers to the state.

Medicaid is used to provide health care to very low income households in the county. All Chatham County residents applying for this benefit need to meet citizenship, income, and other guidelines in place. If found qualified, then this public health care program can be used to help pay for a portion of their medical costs.

Government child care services in Chatham County

Low income parents can be issued vouchers for a portion of their child care bills from CAPS. This was created by social services and the state to help families pay for a portion of their child care costs. Any aid from Chatham County will only cover a portion of the bills that are due, and the amount will be determined based on a sliding fee scale.

Some criteria to note include there is normally a waiting list in place. Also, assistance is only for children under the age of 18, with exceptions made for the disabled. The Department Family and Children Services will allow the parent to select their own day care provider, as long as they have been approved by the county.




After school Care in Chatham County is available from non-profits that partner with DFCS. It will ensure that clients,including children in foster care, have access to development services such as help with homework, free snacks, summer type meals, and more.

To apply for public aid, call the Chatham County DFCS at the primary statewide intake number. This is  1-877-423-4746. More information can be provided.


By Jon McNamara

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