Welfare programs in South Carolina are managed by the state's Department of Social Services. The DSS was created to provide assistance and protection to residents of the state who need these services. The mission of DSS is to assist those in need of food and temporary financial assistance while moving toward self-sufficiency.
There are several food assistance programs under the DSS umbrella, each with their own eligibility requirements. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program was formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. Its goal is to provide low-income residents access to nutritionally sound food. The program is open to all ages and does not exclude applicants who are working. Eligibility is determined by calculating the number of people in the household who buy food and prepare meals together, along with the total household income after designated expenses are subtracted. A person who is eligible for the federal government's Supplemental Security Income is automatically eligible for SNAP in South Carolina.
Summer Food Service Program
The Summer Food Service Program is available to all children ages 18 and younger. Its mission is to ensure low-income children access to nutritious meals during extended school breaks. Children can report to an approved site to receive meals. The meals provide by program sponsors include breakfast, lunch, supper and snack. They are served in a variety of locations, including playgrounds, parks, recreation and community centers, housing projects, and day camps. An applicant who is over the age of 18 but who is enrolled in a school program for persons with disabilities is also eligible for the meals.
The Family Independence Program assists families with dependent children when basic needs cannot be met without assistance. The program provides cash assistance, supportive services and job training. The program is time limited with a goal of helping applicants achieve self-sufficiency within 24 months. Low-income South Carolina residents are eligible for the program if they have dependent children and are willing to participate in the associated work program. Applicants also must exercise efforts to obtain child support from absent parents.
Refugee Resettlement Program
A refugee who flees his homeland because of persecution may be eligible for services in South Carolina. The program is funded by a federal agency but managed at the state level. Applicants must have been designated as a refugee by the Department of Homeland Security. The program offers cash assistance, medical assistance and social services to help with job training and employment.