Government and public assistance programs from DES of Pinal County.

When seeking government or public benefits, DES of Pinal County is the main place to contact. The agency is involved in administering several different programs for very low income families in the region. Some of the resources are funded by federal government grants and others are paid for directly by the state of Arizona.

Utility bill assistance programs in Pinal County

There are a few different options for families. Grants can be issued from LIHEAP for paying electric and cooling bills, and there are also telephone discount programs available from Qwest, Arizona Public Service Company (APS) or other companies. The main services include the following.

LIHEAP - Low-Income Home Energy Assistance is a federal government funded program. It is run in partnership with community action agencies as well as DES of Pinal. The county subcontracts with the various non-profit community agencies to administer cash grants from LIHEAP and the county may also provide other forms of one-time cash assistance to low income households. All funds are strictly for meeting the costs of home energy bills, including both cooling and heating.

Qwest’s Lifeline Discount Program is for very low income families whose income is less than 150% of the federal government poverty guidelines. Or the recipient can be receiving other DES services or public aid.

The Telephone Program for the Medically Needy from Qwest pays for regular, basic telephone service. This is for individuals from Pinal County who have a medical need for a telephone in their home and whose income is at or below 150% of the federal government poverty level.

Another option is the Senior Telephone Discount. This is for residents who meet age requirements, and they can receive a discount on their basic telephone service.

DES cash and grant programs

Applications for Social Security Administration Disability Benefits are available at DES. This is a government grant type program that can help individuals with disabilities pay the bills in order to meet their basic financial needs. The Pinal County Disability Determination Service Administration works with DES and social security to determine medical eligibility. Residents can apply for one of two Social Security Administration disability programs, and they include SSI - Supplemental Security Income or the other component, which is SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance).




Temporary assistance is available as part of Cash Assistance. The most vulnerable in Pinal County can obtain very short term help, supportive services and other resources from CA. The public aid paid out can help qualified families meet their basic needs (such as for shelter, food, and medical care) and serves as their bridge back to self-sufficiency. Some clients may be issued a no interest rate loan as part of their government benefit package.

Similar to above is the Short Term Crisis Services. This program, known as STCS provides, offers clients with temporary assistance. It is for low income and working poor families that are experiencing an emergency. The issue they are facing cannot be met immediately by their own income. The applicant also needs to have a child, so this government benefit is not for singles.

Some of what may be paid for includes security deposits or utility bills. DES of Pinal County may also help pay a portion of rent or a mortgage payment for those families that are facing homelessness. There may also be grants available for employment needs, such as gasoline, clothing, or other work requirements.

Pinal County DES resources for children and seniors

Child Care vouchers can help qualified low income families with paying for a portion of day or child care costs. Clients need to be either working or participating in job training. The goal of DES is to help enable parents to participate in specific education, employment and/or job training activities.

Staff will also allow parents to choose from a variety of child care providers including DHS-certified child care group homes in Pinal County, Department of Health Services state licensed child care centers, DES-certified small family child care homes, or even non-certified relatives.





Caregiver assistance is part of FCSP. The regional program works in partnership with local faith- and community-service providers, agencies on aging and charities tribes to offer resources to help caregivers. Local tribes may also take part.

Staff that are affiliated with DES will arrange for counseling and caregiver training to assist them in solving problems relating to their roles. Respite care is available which can enable people to be temporarily relieved from their responsibilities. Caregivers can also get information about available services and referrals to both private and public resources. All of these programs also work in conjunction with other Community or State Based Services to provide a coordinated set of support.

Food and nutrition

The federal funded Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP, helps supplement the diets of low-income and working poor Arizona families. There is also assistance for elderly people. Pinal County DES will offer them free emergency groceries, food and nutrition assistance. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also works with the state of Arizona on TEFAP to make commodity foods available to local agencies.




The regional Pinal County DES Nutrition Assistance Program assists thousands of residents, including children and the elderly. Eligibility any free food or meal for benefits is based on household income, resources, asset level and other requirements. The county will also review residence, citizenship, employment status, and more.

For more information, the main office is at 55 N Arizona Blvd, Coolidge Arizona 85128. Telephone - 520-723-5351.


By Jon McNamara

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