Assistance Programs, Local Agencies and Charities
Food Housing Cash Assistance Bills Health Education Employment
QUICK INFO BOX
Homeowners Assistance and Housing Programs
South Carolina – Making Home Affordable options
Making Home Affordable is a federal program designed to cover different homeowners’ hardships and financial situations. Under the program there are various options that can help South Carolina homeowners in hardship stay in their homes. Depending on the situation South Carolina homeowners in hardship can apply to lower their monthly payments, lower the interest rate on their home loan or even get principal reduction in some cases.
There are foreclosure alternatives and temporarily help for unemployed homeowners as well.
Here are some of the most used options under Making Home Affordable Program:
- Lower your monthly mortgage payments with Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)
- Lower your interest rate with Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)
- Check eligibility for principal reduction with Principal Reduction Alternative SM (PRA)
- Get help if currently unemployed with Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP)
- Reduce your 2nd mortgage monthly payments with Second Lien Modification Program (2MP)
- Explore your foreclosure alternatives with Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA)
- FHA Home Affordable Modification Program (FHA-HAMP)
HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) approved housing counselor can be reached at: 888-995-4673 (Hearing impaired: 877-304-9709 TTY) to help you understand your options, prepare your application, and work with your mortgage company.
Food Assistance Programs, Services, and Organizations in South Carolina
South Carolina Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the Food Stamps Program as it is known by the public, is a federal program that provides grants to the States for purpose of reducing the hunger and malnutrition in all eligible households across the nation. SNAP helps provide healthy food to qualifying low-income families with children, elderly or disabled in each State of the USA, including South Carolina. Learn more about SNAP.
It is important to know that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a federal entitlement program funded by U.S. Government grants. Any U.S. Citizen, even some legal alien residents, will get free food assistance as long as they meet the SNAP eligibility guidelines. In other words, there is enough Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for every American that qualifies.
In South Carolina, the SNAP is known as South Carolina Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and is administered by the Department of Social Services (DSS). The Federal Government pays 100% of South Carolina Food Stamp Benefits with federal grants appropriated for SNAP. The SNAP federal grants also pay a share of the South Carolina SNAP administrative cost.
According to the South Carolina Department of Social Services, “In South Carolina over 100,000 households depend on SNAP each month to get the food they need for good health.
For children, a better diet means better learning in school. For adults, it means better performance on the job or a better foundation for developing the job skill that can give them and their families independence. For seniors, it means access to a balanced diet vital to their nutritional well-being. For everyone, participation in SNAP can help stretch limited budgets, improve nutrition, and reduce the risk of diet-related health problems.”
Who is Eligible for SNAP (Food Stamps) in South Carolina?
The eligibility rules and benefit amounts in South Carolina, like in other States, are based on limited income, limited liquid resources, household size, and other requirements, some of them specific to each State. Most eligibility rules are determined by regulations issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service.
The federal law allows States some flexibility when implementing SNAP on a State level. State agencies can adapt some of the food assistance program rules in order to meet the needs of eligible, low‐income local population.
South Carolina Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is designed for individuals and families with limited income resources, who compose a household, and purchase and prepare their meals together for home consumption.
For the purpose of the South Carolina SNAP, certain people must be included in on household account even if they purchase and prepare meals separately. Husbands and wives of any household member, their children under age 22 when living together, plus children younger than 18 who are dependents of an adult household member are all considered as a part of one household formation.
In South Carolina anyone with limited income and resources may apply for food stamps but, in general, to qualify for South Carolina SNAP (Food Stamp) Benefits you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- South Carolina Resident – must be a U.S. Citizen or a legal resident with SNAP eligible non-citizen status;
- Work Requirement – unless exempted, each able-bodied household member who is 16 to 60 year old must be registered to work, and accept a suitable employment offer;
- Income Limits – Income limits eligibility depends on the household size and composition. Most South Carolina residents may be automatically or so called categorically eligible for Food Stamps if they already participate in, or getting any benefits from other means tested assistance programs. Getting any benefits (including brochure or pamphlet) from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) federal block grant or receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can make the applicant for SNAP Benefits categorically eligible, thus bypassing the standard SNAP income and asset eligibility rules. Under the federal SNAP regulations, States do have to assign a gross income limit of 200% of the federal poverty line (FPL) or less in order to use any TANF-funded benefit that can make Food Assistance applicants eligible. Gross income includes wages, salaries, commissions, dividends, child support, self-employment income, unemployment compensation, social security benefits and other.
See the table for Maximum Monthly Income Allowable for SNAP Benefits Eligibility in State of South Carolina as per household size:Oct. 1, 2015 through Sept. 30, 2016 USDA FNS SNAP Max Income
|Household Size||Gross Monthly Income Limits |
(130% of poverty)
|Net Monthly Income Limits
(100% of poverty)
|Each additional member||+$451||+$347|
Source: USDA, SNAP Income Eligibility Standards
Quick Eligibility Check
Use this Pre-Screening Tool to find out if you may be eligible to get South Carolina SNAP Benefits (Food Stamps).
The screening allows interested in getting South Calolina food stamps to provide some basic information and find out if they are potentially eligible for benefits.
If you use this Pre-Screening Tool you will be notified immediately on the screen if you qualify after completing the questionnaire. This is a pre-screening information, and you still have to make an application at your local South Carolina DSS office.
Even if you are unsure whether you would qualify you still may be eligible for SNAP Benefits and you should still apply. The Department of Social Services is the agency in South Carolilna that can make final determination regarding your SNAP application in this State and grant you benefits.
What are Maximum South Carolina SNAP (Food Stamps) Benefits?
If approved, the South Carolina SNAP benefit amounts depend on the household size and the amount of the their net income. USDA has maximum SNAP benefit limits per month per household size. Check below what are the maximum food stamp assistance monetary amounts a household can get. The dollar amounts of the food stamp benefits are called allotments.Oct. 1, 2015 - Sept. 30, 2016 USDA Max SNAP Allotments
|Household Size||Maximum Food Assistance Monthly Allotment
|Each additional member||$146|
Source: USDA, SNAP Maximum Allotments
How to Apply for SNAP Benefits (Food Stamps) in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, applicants for SNAP can start by downloading and printing the SNAP application from the DSS website. Fill in all the required information and answer the questions regarding SNAP.
If you do not have all the information that is needed to complete the SNAP application, provide as much as you can – but you must include your name, social security number, what you are applying for, and your signature.
The Department Social Services has to accept the application with the current date. You can provide the rest of the information later.
Answer as many questions as you can, sign, and turn your application into the local South Carolina DSS office where you live.
Follow this link to do local DSS office search or call: 1-800-616-1309
After the application is submitted you may be contacted to complete SNAP eligibility interview.
Before determining your SNAP eligibility the DSS will have to process the application and may interview you.
At the interview, you may need to provide some supporting documents that would help DSS office determine your eligibility.
Within 30 days of the interview, if eligible, you will receive a notice stating how much food assistance benefit and for how long your household is eligible for before a review of the case is due.
The SNAP benefit amount depends on the household size and its net income – that is all countable income minus all allowable deductions.
If South Carolina DSS finds you eligible for SNAP benefits, you will be eligible to receive food stamps from the date your signed application is received.
South Carolina SNAP applicants also have the option to apply for SNAP benefits online using SCMAPP – an online application for South Carolina residents to apply for health and human services programs including SNAP.
South Carolina SNAP Benefits Approval, Rules, Proofs Required
The DSS has to verify provided information and may interview you before determining if the household is eligible for SNAP Benefits.
The South Carolina DSS has a list of examples of documents and information that may be needed at the interview:
- Your identity and current residence address – Driver’s license, picture ID, birth certificate, or other proof of your identity and current address.
- Shelter and Utility Bills – If you own your home, bring proof of your mortgage, taxes and insurance. If you rent, bring a rent receipt or lease agreement. Electric bill, bills for heating and cooling expenses, garbage pickup, water, sewage and telephone bills are also considered in determining your utility expenses.
- Social Security Cards – For eligible household members, including children.
- Alien or Non-citizen Status – If you wish to receive SNAP benefits for non-citizens in your “household”, INS registration cards or other INS documents.
- Earned Income – Pay stubs or written statement from employers showing gross income (income before taxes or deductions) for the past four weeks.
- Unearned Income – Most recent copy of social security check or copy of award letter; proof of unemployment, worker’s compensation, pension, child support, and alimony received in the past four weeks.
- Child Care Expenses – Written statement from your child care provider, or a canceled check or money order paid to the child care provider.
- Self-Employment – Most recent federal tax return. (Schedule C Form).
- Medical Expenses – If you are age 60 or older or getting disability benefits, bring proof of out-of-pocket medical expenses or insurance premiums, or canceled checks showing payment to a medical vendor.
Additional information and proof may be required depending upon your situation. In case you are not able to provide all the information during the SNAP application interview, you will be given time to provide the required proof.
Applicants for SNAP benefits in South Carolina should get a response within 30 days from the date they submitted their application to the local DSS office. When start getting food stamps benefits, households must report any changes of their situation in a set period of time in order to assure their participation in the South Carolina Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
SNAP regulations require all non‐exempt household members to comply with work requirements. Work requirements include registering for work, not voluntarily quitting a job, and accepting a suitable employment offer. As per federal SNAP guidelines, individuals who fail to comply with SNAP work requirements without good cause are ineligible for program benefits and disqualified from SNAP for certain periods of time, depending on how many prior instances of non‐compliance there have been.
The law limits the SNAP benefits to 3 months in a 3-year period for all able-bodied adults between the ages of 18-49 without dependents, who are not working or participating in a work program for at least 20 hours each week.
As part of the SNAP federal grant assistance requirements, each State has to offer employment and training (E&T) program to its SNAP benefits recipients. Participants in such programs, where available, can get adult education, vocational training, job skills training for specific jobs, and work experience via short-term unpaid work assignments. The main goal of the work requirement is to help the food stamp recipients get jobs, reduce or eliminate their dependency on the government benefits.
SNAP2Work is an employment and training program for SNAP recipients in South Carolina, operated by the Department of Social Services (DSS). Call 1-800-616-1309 or visit SNAP2Work page to find more about the South Carolina Employment and Training Program.
Approved! When and How Do I Get the SNAP Benefits?
South Carolina Food Stamp Program provides the SNAP benefits via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The monetary benefits of the South Carolina SNAP benefits are transferred to the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through an South Carolina EBT card, which is issued to anyone approved for SNAP.
The South Carolina SNAP Benefits are deposited into the recipients accounts each month following the Benefit Issuance Schedule.
Benefits are made available from the 1st to the 10th of every month, based on the last digit of the SNAP case #:
FS case # ends in: 1 = benefits available on the 1st of the month
FS case # ends in: 2 = benefits available on the 2nd of the month
FS case # ends in: 3 = benefits available on the 3rd of the month
FS case # ends in: 4 = benefits available on the 4th of the month
FS case # ends in: 5 = benefits available on the 5th of the month
FS case # ends in: 6 = benefits available on the 6th of the month
FS case # ends in: 7 = benefits available on the 7th of the month
FS case # ends in: 8 = benefits available on the 8th of the month
FS case # ends in: 9 = benefits available on the 9th of the month
FS case # ends in: 0 = benefits available on the 10th of the month
If you have any question regarding your EBT Account or EBT Card call South Carolina EBT Customer Service: 1-800-554-5268
How and Where to Use the SNAP Benefits?
South Carolina SNAP benefits are provided via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The monetary benefits of the South Carolina SNAP are transferred into the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through South Carolina EBT Cards. Households and individuals can use their EBT cards and spend the benefits like cash at any South Carolina grocery stores and farmers’ markets that are authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to accept SNAP (food stamp) benefits.
Check this list of South Carolina SNAP participating stores that are authorized to take EBT cards for purchasing of SNAP eligible food items. Eligible food items are any food to be eaten at home by people, including baby food, non-alcoholic beverages, and seasonings. Seeds and plants to grow food for your own family’s consumption are also allowed to be purchased with food stamp benefits. You cannot buy non-grocery items with food stamp benefits, such as cleaning products, pet food, paper products, alcohol, or tobacco.
I Need Food Assistance Now. It is an Emergency!
Some households may get Expedited Services – that is getting Food Stamp Benefits within 7 calendar days if your household has less than $150 in monthly gross income and liquid resources (cash, checking or savings accounts) of $100 or less; or your rent/mortgage and utilities are more than your household’s combined monthly income and liquid resources; or a member of your household is a migrant or seasonal farm worker. In order to get expedite assistance, if you qualify for it, provide all required information and proof as soon as possible. Call 1-800-616-1309 for more information on South Carolina Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.