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Delaware emergency financial assistance.

Find how to get emergency financial assistance for utilities, rent, food, housing, shelter, and more from the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS). Qualified low income families and individuals may be able to qualify for these programs to help them make it through a difficult period or financial hardship.

The main goal of the Emergency Assistance programs offered by the state of Delaware is to help people avoid, alleviate, or eliminate an emergency condition or unexpected financial hardship. The reason for it does not matter, and it can have been caused by an unforeseen circumstance or crisis, such as a job loss, reduction in work hours, or medical condition.

Funds and cash assistance can be used to pay bills. The money may be for utilities, rent, housing expenses and emergency shelter. Services are offered for eligible low-income persons in order to both help them prevent homelessness and to gain and maintain self-sufficiency over the long term. Specifically, the Delaware Division of Social Services offers the following:

  • Child Care - Vouchers may be offered to your child care provider.
  • Food Stamps - Get help in applying for government food assistance.
  • General Assistance - Emergency financial help for basic needs.
  • Healthy Children.
  • Housing - State of Delaware Emergency Housing Funds support contracts with emergency and transitional shelter agencies to provide rental assistance and/or temporary housing and shelter for those in need.
  • Medicaid - Federal government health insurance that is run in partnership with the state of Delaware.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families - Cash assistance for basic needs.
  • Food Closet - Receive free groceries, meals, and other nutritional support.
  • Utility Assistance - Grants and emergency assistance if faced with a shut off.

To be eligible for these social service programs, applicants need to meet a number of conditions, including, but not limited to, those below.

  • The funds are short term and meant to deal with a crisis, and an applying individual or family must be able to get back on track with paying their bills and maintain it after the crisis is alleviated.
  • The emergency can’t be caused by the applicant and it needs to have been the result of an unforeseen circumstance, such as medical condition. Or the hardship could be caused by a combination of circumstances that are beyond the recipients control, such as job loss or reduction in hours at their workplace.
  • Low income thresholds must be met.





Additional DHSS resources

Another service that is run in partnership with Social Services is the Delaware Energy Assistance Program (DEAP). This has a few different components, as indicated below.

-Crisis Assistance -  If a household is faced with a shut off, or they have run out of heating oil or fuel, this component may be able to help those households pay their energy bills. Funds and grants can help pay heating and fuel expenses during the winter. The applying household must show they are experiencing a crisis situation, such as they are out of fuel, have received a shut-off notice, or they have no money to pay for fuel.

-General heating and fuel assistance - Get help with paying energy bills during the cold winter months in Delaware. Grants can be provided to low income and senior eligible households to help them pay for home heating bills and debts, which can include propane, electricity, natural gas, coal, kerosene, wood, or other fuel sources.

-Delaware Summer Cooling Assistance Program (SCAP) - Funds can be used to pay summer cooling and air conditioning bills. Money will pay for electricity to cool homes with air conditioning during the summer months. If funding is available, money can be used to provide an air conditioner or tune up an existing one.

Phone number for applications

The various emergency financial assistance and social service programs are run from fifteen State of Delaware Service Center locations. Dial 1-866-843-7212 or (302) 577-2970 to speak to one of the main centers and to learn where one is nearest to you.


By Jon McNamara











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