Public assistance in Fairfax Virginia.

People who need assistance and who reside in Fairfax County Virginia can look into the public assistance programs below. The county works closely with the federal government, state of Virginia, and other agencies to offer qualified low income families free food, groceries, medical care, utility bill assistance, child care, and other forms of aid.

Children may be able to benefit from Head Start. Both pregnant women as well as children up to age 5 can get help in preparing for school from this federal government program. Services offered to families in Fairfax Virginia from Head State include early childhood education and special services for children with disabilities. The Head Start family services component can help parents find a job and access transportation and other family development services. Children and their parents can also benefit from health care and dental services, as well as healthy meals and snacks.

Low-Cost or Free Public Health Care for children is offered for income qualified families, and those who meet insurance requirements. Fairfax County can coordinate the following medical and public health care services. They also can assist individuals with applying for Medicaid.

  • Doctor visits including primary care and urgent care.
  • Non-emergency care such as vision services and dental needs.
  • Low cost or free prescriptions drugs.
  • Immunizations, shots, and basic illnesses.
  • Short-term physical therapy, including school and sports physicals.
  • X-rays, diagnostic services, and laboratory work.

Virginia Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food stamps can help people with zero income or who are low income. Benefits are provided to qualified Fairfax County residents on an electronic debit type card that is used like an ATM card. Most food stores, retailers, and supermarkets in the region participate in the food stamp program. In addition, the county can refer people to local Food Banks and Pantries as well as locations for Emergency Food. Dial 703-222-0880.





Financial assistance and grants for child care may be provided for children up to age 12. Aid is offered for low income families if they are working, or actively seeking employment or attending job training in Fairfax County Virginia. Public assistance is also offered with the cost of care for children with special needs through age 21.

Other programs for children include Head Start (for children up to age 5) or Early Head Start (for those who are even younger). These are national child development programs that serve working poor and low-income families across the country. Assistance is offered for infants, toddlers or preschoolers, as well as expectant parents or pregnant women with low incomes. See more information above.

The Fairfax County Cooling Assistance Program is funded by and is the local equivalent of LIHEAP. This resource can help qualified low-income households. The focus is on those residents with at least one person considered especially vulnerable to the hot Virginia summers, and can include families with a disabled individual, a child under age six, someone who lives in the home who is 60 years of age or older. Assistance for cooling and air conditioning bills can be used to help with paying for purchase of a whole-house fan, including ceiling or attic fans, payment of monthly electric bills to operate cooling and A/C equipment, repairs to cooling equipment, or deposits to reestablish your utility service.

Job Training Services and Employment Services are offered across northern Virginia and Fairfax County. Residents of all backgrounds can get access to a comprehensive system of government funded job training services and resources. All services are offered for free at employment resource centers, and the formal name of the centers and service is SkillSource. Read more on government job training programs.

Work with a case manager to access services including Job search and placement assistance, Career assessments, Job preparation workshops, and also get ongoing customer support.

The SkillSource centers allow people to meet with case managers, and use the centers for access to computers, phones, fax machines, copiers, and free advice from helpful professional staff. The locations and phone numbers are. Fairfax area (call 703-324-7280); South County area: 703-704-6286; Falls Church area: 703-533-5400; and North County area, phone 703-787-4974.





Utility bill, fuel, and crisis assistance – This program is also run by the Fairfax County Department of Family Services. For winter heating expenses and bills, the Fuel Assistance program helps qualified low-income households with paying for the costs of heating their homes. Another option is the Crisis Assistance program. When someone is faced with a disconnection, or has some type of emergency, this service can help those households in emergency situations. Crisis assistance can provide money for paying their heat security deposits and funding the repair or replacement of heating or even cooling equipment.

Nutritional Supplement Program and the Fairfax Area Meals on Wheels Program can help seniors and the elderly who live in the region. Older individuals can get access to free or low cost meals and groceries, with a focus on residents in Falls Church and Fairfax Virginia. Many items are delivered to people’s homes by volunteers.

Food and nutritional supplements provided include a cold meal and/or a hot lunch that includes a salad or sandwich (except for the ethnic meal programs), or an ethnic meals too. That can be ethnic Vietnamese, Korean and Middle Eastern meals in some areas of Fairfax County.

Cash and public financial assistance can be provided from the Virginia Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The main objective of this government funded program is to provide short term cash assistance to low income families in need of help. The funds can help people end the dependence on government benefits. The county will help people find work and access job preparation and training services as well. Parents who receive cash assistance from TANF, and who are also able to work, are required to participate in the VIEW job training program (see below).

Free fans and help during the hot summer months can be provided by the Fan Care Program. It is for elderly and senior Fairfax County residents, and it can help them stay safe and cool in the hot summer heat. This distribution program can provide free fans to older individuals, and sometimes free air conditioner may be provided too. The program is currently sponsored by Virginia Department for the Aging in close cooperation with Dominion Virginia Power.




An employment program known as VIEW, or Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare, is available for families who receive public assistance from TANF. Clients will work with a social worker to access services to address job-related challenges. This includes personal, medical and family challenges that address unemployment. What it does is the Fairfax County VIEW program offers qualified parents the resources and assistance people need to both find and keep a job, so they can gain self-sufficiency.

To apply for these or other government assistance programs, call the Fairfax County Human Services at 703-222-0880.


By Jon McNamara

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