The Types of Assistance Available at Social Services
County Department of Social Services provides a wide variety of assistance
benefits to help eligible families and individuals maintain their quality of
life. Assistance may be short-term (until the recipient no longer needs
it), long-term (until the recipient becomes ineligible), or time-limited (for a
certain period of time). It should be noted that guidelines for
assistance programs are established by the State and Federal governments.
Local Departments of Social Services then utilize these guidelines to determine
Eligibility criteria differ for each assistance program and application procedures also vary from program to program (see below). Don't wait to apply as eligibility dates are considered the date DSS receives a signed application. A caseworker will evaluate each application and may request
additional information needed in order to process the
application. Review What to Bring to Apply for a list of basic information
a caseworker will need.
Food and Nutrition
Services (FNS), previously known as "food stamps", is DSS' largest assistance program. Families and individuals may be eligible for FNS benefits and while FNS benefits are not time-limited, eligibility must be reviewed periodically. FNS benefit amounts are based on several factors including household composition, income, and household rent/utility costs.
Medical Assistance programs, commonly known as Medicaid,
have guidelines and documentation requirements similar to FNS. A variety
of Medicaid programs can cover the lifespan of a person from pre-natal to
nursing home. Medicaid recipients may also eligible for transportation assistance to medical
appointments if needed.
Applying for Medical Assistance and
FNS - These cases are
managed by Income Maintenance Caseworkers and have the same application options. Applying online is now preferred and you can
apply for both programs at the same time. Another option is to apply in person at either DSS office (Lexington or
Thomasville). Mail-in applications are
also accepted; these can be obtained from a DSS office or printed from the
internet. Applicants may call or use the
program internet link above to request that a specific application be mailed to
them. Click here to Apply Online now.
Emergency Assistance may be available to
families/individuals during crisis situations primarily related to housing
(i.e. inability to pay rent/mortgage, utilities, and/or heating/cooling related
expenses). These benefits are typically time-limited and subject to
funding availability. Applicants for
this benefit must visit either the Lexington or Thomasville office; no other
application options are currently available.
The Low Income Energy
Assistance Program (LIEAP)
provides heating assistance. Payments are now sent directly to the heating source vendor (i.e.
gas/oil/electric company) rather than to the client. There will be
staggered application periods each winter between December and March. Click the
link above for more detailed information on application periods and eligibility
requirements; it is usually updated each year around November 1 after North
Carolina releases guidelines for the upcoming application period. As with Emergency Assistance, clients must
come to a Social Services office.
Day Care assistance so that children can
be cared for in a safe environment may be available if parents are working or
going to school to enhance their job skills. Parents are encouraged to
use the NC Child Care star rating system in order to choose a quality day care
setting for their children. Applications
for this program are only taken at the Lexington office.
The Work First Family Assistance program provides assistance to
families with dependent children. Assistance
provided to eligible families comes in the form of supportive services (i.e.
job skills training and employment assistance) as well as temporary financial
payments. In order to be eligible, families must meet State financial and
reserve requirements and the monthly payment amount is based on the number of
eligible family members in the home. As
with Day Care, applications are only taken at the Lexington DSS office.
FREE Income tax return
preparation is a community collaborative effort between DSS, Public Libraries, the IRS and other community organizations to provide free federal and state income tax return preparation and electronic filing for low to moderate income households. Volunteers play a critical role in providing this valuable community service - Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). Check the link above for site information or pick up a FREE Tax Help flyer at a DSS office.
The Piedmont Triad Regional
Council offers the Weatherization
Assistance Program to
low income, elderly or disabled residents, including renters, to help save
energy and reduce utility bills. Contact the Piedmont Triad Regional
Council at (336) 608-3578 for more information. No additional information on this program is
available at DSS.
Lastly, DSS assists
minors (under age 18) seeking employment by providing Youth Work Permits. Youth can electronically create
an employment certificate through the NC Department of Labor website or they can obtain a
certificate at the DSS location in Lexington (Governmental Center) during
regular business hours.
Davidson County Social Services does not discriminate in the provision of services to all qualified persons.