Newport News Department of Social Services and public benefits.

Dozens of programs are administered by the Newport News Department of Social Services. The government entity focuses on the working poor, low income, and unemployed. Most of the resources available are the result of federal government or state of Virginia funding.

As a last resort to those in a crisis, the DSS General Relief Program is funded both through the state of Virginia and it also uses local resources. This government assistance program is intended for income qualified residents in need of financial assistance. Public benefits are used to assist people who can’t get help through any other means.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, provides short term monthly cash payments to Newport News families in financial need. To be eligible, applicants must meet income guidelines and certain other criteria. Additionally, most adults who apply for public TANF benefits are required to participate in job training as part of the Virginia Initiative for Employment Not Welfare Program (VIEW).

This employment resource provides adult family members with job search assistance, and, for those who qualify, childcare vouchers and even free transportation. TANF assistance continues for many months, even after the individual is employed.




The Virginia Initiative, or VIEW team, is made up of social workers or case managers who provide guidance to welfare recipients who are making the transition from welfare to full time employment, with the ultimate goal of becoming self-sufficient. The social workers ensure that each TANF client complies with all work requirements, while also providing supportive services, case management, and crisis intervention. They will assist clients in overcoming barriers to employment such as lack of transportation or childcare.

People that receive grants from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families who are coping with additional difficulties, like substance abuse, domestic violence, or mental health issues, are offered appropriate assessment and case supportive services.





SNAP Food Stamps can help low-income families meet their nutritional needs by providing financial support or debit cards for obtaining groceries. Eligibility requirements and dollar amounts vary according to income, family or household size, available resources, deductions, and so on. Find more details on the program, including emergency food stamp benefits.

DSS provides rent help from the federally funded Housing Choice Voucher Program. This can assist low-income families with obtaining safe, decent, and affordable rental housing. Each participating family of the program will be required to seek out their own apartments or homes (either in Virginia or elsewhere), and pay 30 percent of their total household income towards their rent and utilities. HCVP then pays the remaining amount directly to the landlord.

Assistance with paying for real estate tax is available to the elderly and disabled. It is offered as a deferral and runs from January 1 through August 31 each calendar year. For further information on property tax help, call 757-926-3535.

Newport News residents may also apply for Medicaid or health care assistance through the DSS office. Medicaid can sometimes be confused with Medicare, which is a federal government health insurance program administered by the Social Security Administration for people who are over the age of 65 or disabled.

Medicaid is a completely separate financial assistance program administered by Department of Social Services agencies. Benefits are provided in the form of direct payment for bills and the funds are made to medical providers on behalf of low-income families with children, the blind or disabled, the elderly and those in need of long-term care. Another option known as FAMIS is a health insurance program specifically for uninsured children who are under age nineteen. DSS of Newport News Virginia accepts applications for both Medicaid and FAMIS.

Utility bill assistance from Newport News DSS (dial 804-717-6825) operates year-round. The government programs are used to ensure that income-eligible households in Newport News stay warm in winter and cool in summer. Available public aid programs include the following:

  • The Crisis Assistance Program helps working poor and low-income families with emergency heating needs when all other avenues have been exhausted. Applications are accepted for replacement or repair of heating equipment, furnaces, assistance with paying a security deposit (one time only), and/or emergency shelter. Newport News Department of Social Services also accepts applications for payment of heating utility bills or for the purchase of heating fuel.
  • The federally funded Fuel Assistance program helps eligible households with paying for home heating costs on a non-emergency basis. Read more on Virginia fuel assistance.




  • Another option is the Cooling Assistance Program. This offers assistance with the purchase or repair of cooling equipment. There may also be cash grants to pay for the electricity needed to operate any equipment that is needed. To benefit from this service, households must meet income-eligibility requirements, and it is for seniors or the disabled or a household with a young child.

Day Care resources are available to eligible working families through publicly funded DSS programs. Families are required to meet income guidelines, document that they are gainfully employed, and otherwise prove that a need for day care actually exists.

For more information on these government benefits or other publicly funded programs, the Department of Social Services is located at City Of Newport News Ave., call 757-926-6300. Another option is the Denbigh Satellite Office, 368 Deshazor Dr., Newport Virginia 23608, dial 757-369-3160.

By Jon McNamara

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