While we are not affiliated with the government in any way, our private company engaged writers to research the LIHEAP program and compiled a guide and the following answers to frequently asked questions. Our goal is to help you get the benefits that you need by providing useful information on the process.
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The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides financial assistance to low-income families. The goal of TANF is to help families become financially self-sufficient. States and U.S. Territories receive block grants from the federal government, which are used to fund each state and territory’s specific TANF program.
Learn more about the TANF program and its primary purposes here.
In South Carolina, the TANF program is known as Temporary Assistance for Needy in South Carolina (TANF). To learn more about TANF and the assistance benefits it provides, visit the South Carolina Department of Social Services website here.
Temporary Assistance for Families in South Carolina (TANF) provides temporary assistance to financially support families in need. The TANF program also provides eligible families with work preparation services to help them re-enter the workforce or find more stable employment.
For more information on the services the TANF program provides to participating families, review the South Carolina TANF FAQ page found here.
TANF and Food Assistance are both assistance programs administered by the South Carolina Department of Social Services. While Food Assistance benefits can only be used to purchase foods that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, TANF benefits are money that can be used however the participant sees fit, with some restrictions.
To learn more about the restrictions on TANF expenditures, visit the TANF FAQ page here.
Both TANF and Food Assistance benefits can be given to participants on an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. However, TANF benefits can be transferred directly into a participant’s bank account or withdrawn from an approved ATM. Food Assistance benefits cannot.
Many TANF participants also qualify for Food Assistance due to the low-income requirement of both programs. For more information about Food Assistance, click here.
To apply for Food Assistance and/or TANF, visit the DSS Benefits Portal here.
If you have questions about TANF or Food Assistance, call the Department of Social Services at (800) 616-1309.
The exact benefit amount a family will receive each month will depend on their household income, size and resources.
Eligible families can receive $207 per month on average. Families can receive these benefits for up to 24 months throughout their lifetime.
Learn more information about TANF and benefit amounts in South Carolina here.
To qualify for TANF in South Carolina, you must meet the following requirements:
Learn more about income requirements and work and training requirements here.
Caretakers of children who cannot be taken care of by their immediate family may also qualify for benefits under the Caretaker Relative Grant or Child-Only TANF Grant. This grant takes into consideration the situation of emergency caregivers and will only count the resources and the income of the child (if any) and not those of the caretaker.
To learn more about who can receive TANF benefits, click here.
Before you apply for Temporary Assistance for Families in South Carolina, complete the following three steps:
Learn about the TANF eligibility requirements here.
Find a list of what you need to apply on the top portion of the South Carolina Department of Social Services TANF application here.
To apply for TANF online, create an account on South Carolina’s Assistance Portal here and fill out the virtual application form.
To apply for TANF in person, click here to find the nearest South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) office location.
If you have any further questions about the application process, call the South Carolina Department of Social Services at (800) 616-1309.
If you need a TANF application in Spanish, click here.
Depending on your method of application, you can check your application status in the following ways:
Keep in mind that it typically takes 30 days for the DSS to process your application.
If you applied for TANF online, in person, by mail or by fax, you will receive a notice in the mail from the Department of Social Services within 30 days of receiving your application with your determination, your benefit amount and how you will be receiving the benefits, if you are eligible.
If you have a valid bank account listed on your application, your TANF benefits will be deposited within 14 days of when you receive your determination letter. Otherwise, you will receive an EBT card in the mail within 14 days.
Once you receive your benefits, you can use them to support your family as you see fit, while following the restrictions.
Note that if you receive an EBT card, you will only be allowed to purchase items at stores that display the Quest Logo, and you can only withdraw cash from ATMs that display the Quest Logo.
Learn more information about how to use your EBT card and how benefits will be distributed here.
If you require additional assistance or have questions about your determination call 1 (800) 616-1309.
If you do not agree with the benefit decision given to you by the South Carolina Department of Social Services, you can appeal your decision in person or by mail within 30 days of receiving your determination letter.
You can file an appeal and request a Fair Hearing online, by fax, by mail and by email.
To appeal online, visit the South Carolina appeal portal here.
To file an appeal by mail, by fax or by email you will need to write a letter that includes the following information:
You must also enclose a copy of your determination letter when filing an appeal by mail, fax or email so the office can reference your application.
After you have written your appeal request, you can use the following methods to send it to the South Carolina Division of Appeals and Hearings:
Division of Appeals and Hearings
PO Box 8206
Columbia, SC 29202
For more information on how to request a fair hearing, click here.
For help with obtaining Temporary Assistance for Families in South Carolina, or for any further questions about your application, call the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) at (800) 616-1309.
If you have inquiries from out of the state, please email CWSRecordsRequest@dss.sc.gov.
To send the South Carolina Department of Social Services information physically, you can mail your documents to the following address:
South Carolina Department of Social Services
P.O. Box 1520
Columbia, SC 29202-1520
You can also visit or call a local DSS Office for further assistance. Find your nearest location here.
Offices and services are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
While we are not affiliated with the government in any way, our private company engaged writers to research the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and compiled a guide and these answers to frequently asked questions. Our goal is to help you get the benefits that you need by providing useful information on the process.
Our free TANF Guide is filled with helpful information about how to apply, program eligibility requirements and how to get in touch with local offices. You can view or download our free guide here.