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North Carolina public assistance.

Low income families can get help from public assistance in North Carolina. Several different government run services listed below and by county may be available for qualified state residents. Most of the resources focus on the working poor, unemployed, families with children, and seniors in North Carolina. Get more information on the various public assistance programs below.

At risk families can benefit from North Carolina Family Preservation Services (FPS). This public financial assistance program is aimed at families who are at high risk of placement out of their home. So resources to help ensure this does not occur are quite extensive. For example, qualified families can receive crisis intervention, emergency financial public assistance funds, individual and family therapy, mentoring, client advocacy, and case management. Services are offered to families for up to 6 months. Individuals can get access to staff and case management 24 hours per day, and they focus on offering the provision of services primarily in the child's home and are committed to maintaining a safe and intact family unit in the state.

Cash assistance can be provided by Work First. This is the name of North Carolina's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) federal government funded program. The state knows that parents have a responsibility to support their children and themselves, and sometimes they need a little help to deal with a hardship. Through the state’s Work First program, parents can get funds to pay bills in a crisis. More importantly they will receive help finding and preparing for a job. So parents can get short-term job training and other services to help people become employed and self-sufficient. Public assistance is only offered for up to two years. Find more details on North Carolina WorkFirst cash assistance.

Get help paying phone bills from the North Carolina Lifeline-Linkup program. It provides, among other things, a Discount Local Telephone Service. People who receive Section 8 Housing Assistance, SSI, Food and Nutrition Services, Work First Family Assistance, Medicaid, Energy Bill Assistance (LIHEAP) or other public benefits, and if the telephone service is in your name, these individuals will be automatically eligible for the program.





Individuals in North Carolina can receive local telephone service discounts through two programs called Lifeline as well as Link-Up. Lifeline provides a discount of up to $13.50 per month on the cost of local telephone service, including cell phones. Link-Up provides a 50 percent discount, up to $30, off the price of paying for deposits for the connection of local telephone service. There are also other government telephone assistance programs for the low income or elderly.

The Division of Social Services also offers Family Violence Prevention and Services (FVP). This is meant to prevent family violence, and runs many programs to meet this goal. FVP can provide immediate shelter, housing and related assistance (such as rent help) for victims of family domestic violence and their dependents.

In addition, the Federal Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF) dollars have been appropriated for paying the rent and bills and other expenses for victims of domestic violence since 1999. This is in addition to WorkFirst.

Emergency Financial Assistance can be provided by the North Carolina Division of Social Services for low income individuals and families that are experiencing a financial emergency. Applicants may be eligible for financial help and public cash grants to pay for housing, rent, medications and utility bills.

NC Food Assistance and Nutrition Services – This is the federal government food assistance program that helps senior, the unemployed, and low-income families. Qualified applicants will be given the Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, which are used across North Carolina to pay for food, groceries, and meals. The primary purpose of Food and Nutrition Services program is to improve nutrition and health, and importantly end hunger. The public food program helps eligible low-income households buy the food and groceries that they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. The NC Food and Nutrition Services is a federal government public entitlement program, and it tries to help as many as possible eligible individuals and households receive free food assistance. Government benefits may be used to purchase most foods at participating grocery stores across the state.

Federal government Energy Bill Assistance is offered by the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP). This government funded program can provide a one-time cash payment to help qualified low income and elderly households pay their summer cooling and winter heating bills. As with most public assistance programs, funding is limited so priority in eligibility is usually given to families with children, households in which all members are age 60 and older, or disabled persons receiving services through the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services.




The North Carolina Division of Social Services offers a number of Community Based Programs. These services work to enable struggling families to build on their own capacities and strengths to promote the healthy development of children. While these various assistance programs will come in different forms, each and every one has a common goal of reducing involvement in the child protective services and juvenile justice systems, and this is really accomplished by increasing the overall level of family functioning. The public programs that are embedded in their communities include Adoption Services; Child Support Enforcement; Interpreting Services; Independent Living Program for Foster Children (NC LINKS); Child Placement Services for Children; Licensing; and many others.

Another family building service is known as the Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS). The state of North Carolina IFPS model provides in-home crisis intervention resources and services that are designed to help low income and struggling families that are at imminent risk of having a child removed from their apartment or home. These various state of NC support services help prevent unnecessary separation of families and maintaining children safely in their homes. Public assistance offered can include assessment, advocacy, counseling, job skills training, referral, financial aid, case management and follow-up.

The Division of Child Development can help low income families pay for their day and child care costs. Public funding, including vouchers and subsidies, can be issued by the state to qualified low income and working poor parents. The client will be able to select their own child care provider to use so the program is very flexible. A number of conditions will also need to be met by applicants. Learn more.

North Carolina utility bill Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) is a Federal government funded assistance program that provides cash assistance and grants to qualified households that are in a cooling or heating bills related emergency. The primary goal of the Division of Social Services CIP energy assistance program is to help lower income and families with seniors stay cool in the summer and/or warm in the winter.

To learn more about or to apply for any of these public programs, call the North Carolina Division of Social Services at 919-733-3055. This government organization can help people apply, or direct them to other services that may be a better fit for them.





Public aid in North Carolina Cites and Counties

Buncombe County

Cabarrus County

Catawba County

Cumberland County

Durham County

Forsyth County

Guilford County

Mecklenburg County

New Hanover County

Pitt County

Union County

Wake County


By Jon McNamara

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