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North Carolina emergency financial assistance.

The government of North Carolina, through its social services organization and other resources, can provide qualified low income individuals with Emergency Assistance. The programs are focused and helping families with children, seniors, and disabled who are experiencing a financial emergency or crisis. Depending on the circumstances of the applicant (see emergency application information below), funds can pay for housing costs, electric bills and utilities.

Housing costs in NC covered can range from emergency funds to pay rent to prevent an eviction or the state can try to arrange money to apply towards a partial mortgage payment. The goal is to really prevent homelessness across North Carolina, and by taking a proactive approach of paying for these housing costs both the state and the family benefit.

Emergency utility assistance is offered from crisis LIEAP for a number of bills, including electric, water, gas, heating, and more. Priority is given to applicants with a disconnection notice. Once again, this financial assistance is for qualified low income individuals who are faced with an unexpected emergency or hardship situation. More on LIEAP applications in North Carolina.

As with all programs that help the needy, various conditions will need to be met. Among them include the following. But other requirements may also need to be fulfilled. Families need to meet the one or more of the following criteria in order to be eligible for grants and Emergency Assistance from the state of North Carolina.

  • The family needs to have a limited income that is based on around 200% of the federal government poverty guidelines. These are strict guidelines and they are based on the household's total household income as well as the number of residents in the home.
  • The applying family’s statement needs to be considered to be acceptable for U.S. citizenship and identity unless it is questionable. If their citizenship is in doubt, the state may be able to request appropriate verification in order to proceed with an application.
  • The individual or family who needs emergency help must have a child who lives with them or a relative as defined by parameters set by the social services as well as the Work First Family Assistance. This ensures that any cash aid is paid out to the most vulnerable, which is a young child. In addition, individuals need to meet the age limit for Work First cash assistance.




It is important to note that individual counties and towns across North Carolina may set their own requirements before providing emergency housing or utilities assistance. These conditions may in fact be more restrictive than the ones set at the state level, but they can’t by law set requirements that are more lenient. The state works closely with each town and county across North Carolina to coordinate who received financial help and how much aid is provided.

Most of the North Carolina counties will provide emergency financial assistance for rent, housing and utilities and other bills. It will be targeted to families who meet the eligibility criteria as stated in the County plan. As indicated, each county may have their own variation of who is helped, and when they can receive aid.

In general, an emergency will be defined as an unexpected occurrence which may in fact prevent the applying family member from either obtaining or retaining a job. So this can include items like a medical crisis, senior citizen with an emergency, or family matter.

The state of North Carolina will only then provide short-term assistance or grants for these non-recurring emergencies that may be experienced. The goal of this particular resource is to not provide financial aid to residents that continue to be living in poverty. It is for one time challenges.

Emergency and long term help

At the end of the day, any emergency assistance provided by North Carolina must enable the family to move toward self-sufficiency over the mid to long term and support employment for the family. To qualify for housing or utility assistance, the family must have total household income under the federal 200% of the poverty guidelines. Each request sent to the state or your local county will be evaluated on an individual basis.





Work First cash assistance is a longer term benefit. Of course any emergency assistance provided for paying for housing (such as rent or a mortgage payment) or electric bill services will be dependent on available funds at the state government level. Only a limited number of applications can be fulfilled, but Work First cash assistance is more wide ranging. Additionally, please note that the menu of services may change due to changes in federal government, county, or state of North Carolina policies. More on North Carolina Work First.

Apply for emergency assistance in North Carolina from Social Services

To learn more or apply for emergency electric and housing expenses in North Carolina, call your local Social Services office. Or you can dial the NC DHHS- Division of Social Services at 919-733-3055 or 1-800-662-7030.


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