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Cash assistance in South Carolina from TANF.

The South Carolina TANF program provides cash-based aid to very low-income families with children, whether they are married, or single moms or dads. The funds are used to pay for basic needs, critical bills, food, shelter costs, and job-related expenses. The cash assistance in South Carolina (find how to apply below) was formerly known as the Family Independence program, or FIP.

The Department of Social Services administers the welfare type program, also known as TANF, across the state. They process applications, determine who is eligible, and calculate the amount of monthly payment. The amount of free cash given out depends on family size as well as income, with the average payment in South Carolina being about $310 per month. But each family will receive their own amount of aid.

The funds from TANF can be used to pay bills for what is known as Basic Needs. This can really be any type of bill needed to keep the family safe, healthy, and functioning. What cash assistance in South Carolina may pay for includes, but is not limited to, the following.

  • Rent, mortgages, deposits, and shelter costs provided the home is safe and affordable.
  • Utility bills (electric, light, air conditioning, or heating).
  • Food, groceries and more. TANF can’t pay for hot meals.
  • Clothing and household supplies, including cleaning items.
  • Medical needs. South Carolina allows cash to pay for needed medications, equipment such as wheelchairs, crutches, or beds.
  • Job related costs, which are part of the work program. Cash can buy uniforms for a job, pay for mass transit or gasoline, and related working expenses.
  • Note childcare costs can be paid by the SC voucher program and working parents can apply.

The applicant needs to have a child under the age of 18. In addition, South Carolina Temporary Assistance for Needy Families will be limited to paying cash for at most 5 years (60 months) over the resident’s lifetime. Even if the person moves to another state, the welfare cap will “follow them”. In general, the income cut-off is 50% of the federal government poverty level.





Case managers from DSS will also give cash to those low-income families that are work eligible. This means the recipient of the money needs to get a job, attend training, or participate in some other form of work activity. The process includes screenings to identify barriers to employment as well as job readiness classes. After that DSS arranged free child care vouchers, work experience or community service placements, on-the-job training, and even grants for transportation assistance. Only then can they continue to get financial aid from the government TANF welfare program for paying their bills.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is only for those applicants who are either born in the US or who parents are citizens. Or there can be some various other criteria for this, but the bottom line is that the cash is not for illegal immigrants in South Carolina.

All of the funds will be provided to the recipient on the SC ePay card. The cash is “loaded” onto the debit card. The client can then use the card to pay their bills, cover their rent with the landlord, or use it similar to SNAP EBT cards for groceries. So, it is flexible in where the ePay card can be redeemed. While it is an electronic card, the transactions work the same as paying cash.

How to apply for South Carolina TANF cash assistance

To apply for the South Carolina cash TANF program (Family Independence), dial the Department of Social Services at (800) 616-1309. All applications are reviewed, approved, and/or denied with 30 days.


By Jon McNamara

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