Assistance Programs in South Carolina
The state of Carolina has a population of over 4.8 million with a poverty rate of 18%. The poverty rate among children is even higher at a whopping 26.5%. There are over 800 000 single parents, families, and individuals living in state of poverty, struggling with bills and expenses. Fortunately, there are many assistance programs available throughout the state of South Carolina. This guide will list and explain all the assistance programs in the state of South Carolina.
Financial Assistance in South Carolina
Many single parents and families struggle with expenses and have a hard time proving everything their family needs to maintain a normal lifestyle. Fortunately there is some financial assistance available in South Carolina.
South Carolina Family Independence Program (FI)
The South Carolina FI program provides financial assistance to low income single parents and families to help pay for basic expenses. The FI program also assists parents in job training and helps parents seek better employment opportunities.
To be eligible for this program you must be of low income and have a child under the age of 18 living in your household. To learn more and to apply, you can visit the South Carolina Family Independence Program website.
South Carolina Unemployment Insurance (UI)
The South Carolina UI program provides financial relief to those who have lost their job through no fault of their own. You will receive weekly payments with the amount you will receive depending largely on the amount you made with your previous employer.
To learn more about UI and to apply check out the South Carolina UI webpage.
Food Assistance in South Carolina
Many single parents and families struggle to provide their families with adequate food to maintain a health lifestyle. If you struggle with food expenses there are assistance programs available.
South Carolina Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The South Carolina SNAP programs provides assistance with food costs for the low income people of South Carolina. There are over 500 000 households in South Carolina that depend on SNAP benefits. The benefits are received on a South Carolina Electronic Benefits Card which has funds loaded onto the card. The card functions similar to a debit card as you simply swipe it when you are ready to pay for your groceries.
South Carolina Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
The South Carolina WIC program provides free healthy food to pregnant mothers, and to women with children under 5 years of age. This program provides free food nutritional information, and even health care referrals.
To qualify for WIC, you must meet the low income requirements.To apply for WIC you must contact a WIC Office in your area of the state. You can do so using thisSouth Carolina WIC locator. To learn more about WIC, you can visit the South Carolina WIC webpage.
South Carolina School Breakfast and Lunch Program
The South Carolina School Breakfast and Lunch Program provides free or low costs breakfasts’ and lunches to under privileged school children. Your income in relations to household size will determine if the meals have a small cost or are free of charge.
To be eligible for this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To apply for this program you must directly contact the school that your child attends. To learn more about this program, you can visit the South Carolina Department of Education website.
South Carolina Food Banks
If you and your family are in serious need of food, there are several food banks located throughout South Carolina which offer free food. To find a food bank in your area, check out this list of South Carolina food banks.
Medical Assistance in South Carolina
Medical costs are very high making it difficult for the low income to afford healthcare without a health insurance plan. Fortunately South Carolina has Medicaid and CHIP available.
South Carolina Medicaid
South Carolina Medicaid provides free health care services to low income families across the state. It covers the cost of many health related services and expenses such as:
- doctor’s visits
- prescription drugs
- lab tests and X-rays ordered by doctors
- hospital care
- eye care
- dental care
Medicaid eligibility in South Carolina is based on your income in relation to the number of people living in your household. Depending on you and your family’s specific situation, not all services will always be covered, or some services might require you to pay a portion of the costs using co-pay. To learn more about Medicaid in South Carolina, and to apply check out the South Carolina Medicaid webpage.
South Carolina Partners for Healthy Children Program
The South Carolina Partners for Healthy Children Program provides health insurance to children who do not qualify under any other plan. All of the services covered under Medicaid are also covered under this program.
It is fairly easy to qualify for this program as the income levels required are a lot lower. To apply and learn more about this program, check out the South Carolina Partners for Healthy Children website.
Child Care Assistance
Child care costs are expensive making it difficult on low income single parents and families to work full time because they need to care for their child. Fortunately, there are some helpful child care assistance programs available.
South Carolina Voucher Program
The South Carolina Voucher Program will make a portion of your child care payments directly to your child care providers. The amount that will be paid towards you child care depends on your income in relation to family size. This program helps pay for over 10 000 children per month throughout South Carolina. To be eligible or this program you must be of low income, which is 150% of the Federal Poverty level. To learn more about this program and to apply check out the South Carolina Child Care Voucher Program website.
South Carolina Head Start Program
The South Carolina Head Start Program provides child care and assists young children from the ages of 0-5 to enhance the social and behavioural skills in preparation for school. In order to be eligible for this program you must be of low income. To take a look at the income guidelines please click here. Check out the South Carolina Head Start website to learn more and to apply.
Housing Assistance in South Carolina
Housing and rental expenses can make it difficult for the low income to keep up with their payments. There are numerous programs available that offer assistance in this area throughout South Carolina.
South Carolina Low Income Housing Program
The South Carolina Low Income Housing Program provides living arrangements in housing that is owned by the local Public Housing Agencies in your area of the state. Usually you will be placed in an apartment, however it can also be single houses or condos. The housing authorities receive funding from the state, who then use the funds to provide the low income with very low rent payments in safe and sanitary living conditions. To be eligible for this program you must be considered of very low income which is also based on family size.
To begin the application process, you must go through your local Housing Agency. This list of South Carolina Public Housing Agencies provides an in depth list of all the Housing Agencies located across South Carolina. Once you find the Housing Agency in your area, you can contact them to find out the specific income guidelines required, as well as any details or questions you might have about the program.
South Carolina Housing Choice Voucher Program
The Housing Choice Voucher Program is managed similar to the Low Income Housing Program as the Housing Agencies manage this program as well. Basically how it works is, instead of you staying in pre determined housing like in the Low Income Housing Program, this program allows you to search for your own apartments or condos. The Housing Agencies provide voucher to your landlord which covers a good portion of your rent payments. You will only pay a portion of your total rent payment, usually 30-40% of the total rent.
To be eligible for this program you must be of low income and meet the income requirements. Similar to the Public Housing Program, you must apply through your local South Carolina Housing Agency to get started.
South Carolina Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The South Carolina LIHEAP program provides assistance in the costs of energy bills. The costs of keeping homes cool in South Carolina is expensive because of the heat, and can be difficult for the low income, so this program will pay a portion of your bill, based on your income and household size.
To be eligible or this program you must be a legal resident of South Carolina and be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To learn more and to apply check out the South Carolina LIHEAP webpage.
South Carolina Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
The South Carolina WAP program improves the energy efficiency of homes which results in lower costs on utility and energy bills. The services will fix and replace air conditioning units, look for air leakages and more.
South Carolina First Time Home Buyer Programs
The state of South Carolina offers a variety of programs designed for those looking to purchase their first home. The programs offer down payment assistance, closing cost assistance, help with finding low interest rate mortgages, as well as ongoing tax credits. The down payment assistance programs are particularly useful your down payment required will be a lot lower with the help of the program.
To explore all the first time home buyers programs check out this database of South Carolina First Home Buyers Programs. You can also visit the South Carolina Housing website, which provides info and application instructions for the various programs.
Transportation Assistance in South Carolina
Transportation costs can be expensive for those who do not own a vehicle due to cab fares. There are some cheaper alternatives available. You can also receive free medical transportation.
South Carolina Medical Transportation
The state of South Carolina has a variety of free medical transportation programs available. The transportation services will drive you to any doctors appointments, tests and treatments you might have. These programs are available to those currently enrolled under Medicaid or the Healthy Children Program. To look at the medical transportation services available throughout South Carolina, check out this Medical Transportation resource.
Uber and Lyft are two driving services that work like a taxi service, however ordinary people drive you where you need to go in their own vehicles. The prices are cheaper than taking a cab, saving you good money over time. Both Uber and Lyft have apps making it easier to send a driver to your location. Check out uber.com and lyft.com.
Legal Assistance in South Carolina
Legal costs are very expensive making it difficult for the low income to receive the legal help they need. Fortunately you can find discounted and even free legal advice and service in South Carolina.
South Carolina Legal Organization
The South Carolina Legal Organization features several different areas of legal advice someone might need. It has a large database of where to find legal advice based on what your situation is. Many of the legal services provided helps with issues such as, domestic violence, immigration issues, employment issues, evictions, family law and more. To find a legal service that can be of help to you and to learn more, you can check out the South Carolina Legal Organization website.
South Carolina features many assistance programs to help those in many difficult financial situations. If you are of low income, it is quite easy to qualify for many of the programs in this guide.
Links and Resources
State Assistance Map
Click on any one of the states below to go to our assistance article for that state