South Carolina Food Assistance
Food Stamps * Food Banks * Food Pantries * Soup Kitchens * WIC
School Meals * Special Milk * Summer Food * Senior Nutrition
In the State of South Carolina, there are many sources for help with food. The South Carolina Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens are all helping residents in need to cope with hunger and food insecurity.
ON THIS PAGE
Learn more about
SNAP benefits a.k.a. Food Stamps.
Who is eligible for SNAP benefits (Food Stamps) in South Carolina?
How to apply for South Carolina Food Assistance?
How does South Carolina Department of Social Services determine eligibility?
Approved! When and how do I get the Food Stamps benefits?
How much Food Stamps benefits do participants receive per month?
How and where to use Food Stamps benefits?
Food Stamp (SNAP benefits) 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 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.”
Approx. of the total South Carolina population received Food Stamp Benefits in 2018
Recipients in June, 2018 of Food Stamps (SNAP) Benefits in South Carolina
Recipients in June, 2017 of Food Stamp (SNAP) Benefits in South Carolina
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 a 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 the 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 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 others.
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 Carolina 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 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 Carolina that can make the final determination regarding your SNAP application in this State and grant you benefits.
To figure out, before applying, if you'd qualify for food stamps benefits in your state you have to consider the following:
- Your Household size: How many people you live and buy food with? Count:
- anyone you live with and buy and make food with
- children under 22 years old and,
- elderly 60+ and disabled that you make food for.
- Your Income: How much money does your household make? This includes both:
- earned income - the money you make from jobs and
- unearned income - cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, child support, etc.
Who counts as a member of the household for SNAP eligibility?
In general, anyone who lives with you and you buy food with counts a member of your household.
Your children under 22 of age count as household members, even if they buy and make their own food.
But your tenant, for example, or your adult children that are over 22 of age do not count. They are not counted in the household number for the purpose of food stamp benefits qualification.
The elderly age of 60+ and disabled people count as household members if you buy and make food for them, or you buy and make food together. If they live with you, but they buy and make food separately, they do not count as household members.
See the updated table below for this fiscal year's income limits and monthly benefits (allotments).
What is the gross and net income limit that qualifies you for food stamps?
SNAP Max Income for Food Stamps
Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020
(130% of poverty)
(100% of poverty)
|Each additional member||+$479||+$369||+$146|
Source: USDA, SNAP Income Eligibility Standards
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 their net income. USDA has maximum SNAP benefit limits per month per household size. Check the table column about Max Food Assistance Benefit per month in dollars for each size of the household.
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 of 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 the 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 the DSS office determine your eligibility.
Within 30 days of the interview, if eligible, you will receive a notice stating how much food assistance benefits 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 the 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 bills, 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 statements 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 the 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 a 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 farmworker. In order to get expedite assistance, if you qualify for it, provide all the required information and proof as soon as possible. Call 1-800-616-1309 for more information on South Carolina Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
South Carolina Food Assistance Program
Find more about the South Carolina Food Assistance Program
Search for Food Assistance by County and Town
Food Banks in South Carolina
South Carolina food banks play an important role in the overall South Carolina food assistance effort to end hunger and food insecurity throughout the State of South Carolina.
Their main objective is to collect food from various sources like wholesale organizations, grocery stores, and farms who have food in excess and are willing to donate.
Food banks then, sort, store, and distribute donated food to local soup kitchens, shelters, and food pantries.
The Food Bank Association of South Carolina is such a non-profit organization that works to alleviate hunger in South Carolina.
South Carolina Food Banks
Food Pantries in South Carolina
Food pantries offer food directly to people that need it and who have the means to cook it. They usually receive food from local food banks and in turn distribute it to low-income individuals and households at no cost.
Food pantries are typically located in facilities where received food can be stored and handled in a safe and sanitary manner.
Each food pantry serves a designated local area and most of them require prior registration and approval before food can be distributed to a particular individual or a family.
Soup Kitchens In South Carolina
Soup kitchens serve cooked meals on-site to needy people at no cost. Like food pantries, they normally receive their food from local food banks.
Soup kitchens take care mostly of homeless people and people who do not have the means to cook for themselves.
They require storage, cleaning, and cooking equipment as they have to do food preparation, serving, and cleaning after the meals.
Food pantries are typically located in facilities where received food can be stored and handled in a safe and sanitary manner.
WIC Program in South Carolina
South Carolina Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides healthy foods, breastfeeding support, nutrition education, health care referrals to South Carolina pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children during times of important growth.
School Meals in South Carolina
School meals in South Carolina are offered mainly through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.
The South Carolina school meals programs make nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free meals available to school children each school day in the year.
School meals nutritional standards are based on the recommendation from the Institute of Medicine and the U.S. Government and teachers have reported that students perform better in class if they get regular meals.
Children getting school breakfast also had significantly reduced absence and tardiness rates, according to a Tufts University study.
Special Milk Program in South Carolina
South Carolina Special Milk Program offers milk to children in schools, childcare institutions, and eligible camps. Any child in a school or institution that participates in the Special Milk Program can get milk.
Schools may elect to offer free milk to low-income children. In order to qualify for South Carolina Special Milk, the child must be a resident of the State of South Carolina.
Summer Food Program in South Carolina
Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is another South Carolina food assistance program that provides free meals and snacks to help low-income South Carolina children get nutritious meals in the summertime.
The Summer Food Service Program is a federal program that provides grants to local sponsors who want to combine a food service with a summer activity program.
The funding provided by SFSP ensures that South Carolina children in low-income areas continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations when they do not have access to school lunch or breakfast.
Senior Nutrition in South Carolina
South Carolina Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides low-income seniors with special checks to buy fresh, nutritious fruits, vegetables, and herbs from authorized farmers’ markets. To qualify for South Carolina senior nutrition special checks, the applicants must be 60 years of age or older and their gross household income must not exceed certain limits.
An application must be completed for each person in the household that wants to apply for the SFMNP benefits. Once approved, each beneficiary must reapply every year to continue participating in the South Carolina Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Learn more about how the senior nutrition program works.
Sources: State Agencies, FNS, USDA