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Public assistance in Delaware.

Get cash and public assistance in Delaware from the Division of Social Services and other state organizations. A number of services are focused on helping people provide for their basic needs and living expenses. The resources offered across the state area below.

Delaware General Assistance – A program that is funded by the state that was created in order to provide cash to low income families and individuals. It is a so called program of last resort, and can help people who do not qualify for any other federal government programs or public aid. For example, general assistance may be able to help if you do not qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or social security benefits, per below.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is one of Delaware’s main public assistance programs that provides cash, money, and longer term case management to families with children. While the program is funded by the federal government, it is managed locally by Delaware Department of Transportation, the Division of Social Services (DSS), Delaware Economic Development Office, as well as the Department of Labor. All of these government organizations partner together to help the low income. As a result of TANF in Delaware, the State will provide both cash as well as positive incentives for the family to become self-sufficient over the long term. So this can include job training, career counseling, and similar support.

Delaware Food Supplement Program – This resource will enable low-income families and individuals to buy a variety of groceries or food that can help keep them healthy over the long term and that is the basis for better nutrition. Free food and financial benefits are issued electronically to the family's Delaware Food First card (Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card) every month. The individual then needs to bring this EBT card to their local grocery store to purchase food.

Many food pantries administer the Community Food and Nutrition Program. This is other public resource that will distribute free food, groceries, and meals to households through mobile pantry programs as well as food banks across Delaware. In addition to your local pantry, all State Service Centers will be able to distribute emergency food to households and families in need of help.





Cash assistance for Child Care Expenses and services. If you have a young child and need help to pay for child care while you work or attend job training, the state may be able to help. This service provides financial support so that the child’s parent or caretaker can obtain training, hold a job, or meet the special needs of the child. If you are training for a job or are currently working, then the state of Delaware may be able to pay for a portion of your child care expenses. Only certain child care provided can be paid for, and individuals may get a list of Child Care and Day Care Centers and homes in your area from your DSS Case Manager. Read more.

Medical assistance may be offered in Delaware by Medicaid. This federal government program, which is run at the state level, provides medical bill assistance to eligible low-income families and to seniors, eligible aged, blind and/or disabled people. Of course the applicant’s income needs to be low enough and prevent them from paying their bills and meeting the cost of necessary medical services. Medicaid in Delaware pays for prescription drugs, doctor visits, hospital care, labs, transportation, substance abuse services, and routine shots for children, and mental health.

Delaware Healthy Children Program provides health insurance coverage to children. The amount of coverage and services provided by the Division of Social Services is comparable to what is offered from some of the best private health insurance carriers.

Prescription drug assistance program and medications are offered from the publicly funded Delaware Prescription Assistance Program (DPAP). A focus of this service is to help pay for medications for low income disabled and elderly individuals who cannot afford the full cost paying for their own medications. In addition, the program is also focused on helping individuals who have no prescription insurance other than Medicare Part D, and whose total household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), or whose prescription drug costs exceed 40% of their total household income.





Transportation can be provided for a doctor visit or people with a medical condition. Receive access to public transport, or maybe transportation from volunteers to health care and doctor appointments for persons 60 years of age or older.

The Delaware Energy Assistance Program (DEAP) is the states version of LIHEAP. It is a federally funded program for low-income families with children, seniors, and disabled that need help in paying for the costs of their home energy bills. The Division of State Service Centers (DSSC) administers this utility and electric bill program on a contractual basis with Catholic Charities, Inc. and community action agencies across Delaware. Three main parts of the program include:

  • Summer Cooling Bill Assistance Program runs from June to August in Delaware. It will help pay for the costs of air conditioning and cooling bills, and is intended to ensure people keep their power on during the hot summer months. In addition to receiving a cash grant to pay for their cooling bills and to offset the high costs of electricity to air condition a home, some low income people and seniors may even be eligible to receive a room sized air conditioning unit for free or low cost.
  • Winter and Fuel Assistance – Receive financial help with home energy and heating bills from the period of October 1 - March 31. This energy assistance program includes grants to income eligible households to help pay for propane, home heating, electricity bills, natural gas, kerosene, coal, or wood. Whether you rent or own a home, this public program may be able to help.
  • Emergency and crisis assistance:  If you are faced with a crisis, which includes receiving a shut-off notice, out of fuel, or no money to pay for oil, then this component helps lower income households in crisis during the winter months. Cash assistance may be paid out to Delaware families in the form of a supplemental grant to their regular monthly fuel assistance benefit.

Call the Delaware Division of Social Services at 1-800-464-4357 to apply for any of these or other public assistance programs.



By Jon McNamara














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