South Carolina









South Carolina, like any other state in the country, is beleaguered by the lack of financial resources among children in single-parent families.

Owing to the series of recession experienced across the nation, even many average-income families have slid down the poverty threshold.

Not surprisingly, single mothers and their kids bear the brunt of economic hardship — more than 40% were counted as poor.

With an emphasis on financial self-sufficiency, the Palmetto State has several key programs that address the plight of its most vulnerable families.

$South Carolina Earned Income Tax Credit

South Carolina has just established a state’s non-refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to “piggyback” off the federal credit, which makes them the 27th state to do so.

The plan phases in the credit over the next six years through six equal installments of 0.2083% until eligible South Carolinians will receive a credit worth up to 125% of the federal EITC in 2023.1

The credit will provide a modest benefit to many low-wage South Carolinians and their families, but because it’s non-refundable, those who pay little to no state income tax get little to no benefit from the credit.

1South Carolina Family Independence

Family Independence (FI) is a time-limited program that assists low-income families with dependent children who could not afford even basic necessities.

The FI Program is designed to serve both single-parent and two-parent families, as well as households with disabled adults. More than two-thirds of TANF recipients are children under the age of 18.

The income threshold for TANF in South Carolina is approximately 50% of the federal poverty level — about $10,200 for a single mother of two.

South Carolina requires all FI applicants, as a condition of eligibility, to participate in two weeks of up-front job search, with the exception of those that are disabled or over 60 years old.

2South Carolina SNAP

In South Carolina over 100,000 households depend on SNAP each month to get the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. For South Carolinian, participation in SNAP can help stretch limited budgets, improve nutrition, and reduce the risk of diet-related health problems.

To apply for SNAP in South Carolina, you may apply online or print and fill out an application2 and return it to your DSS county office.

If you are accepted into the program, your SNAP benefits are automatically deposited to your South Carolina EBT Card on the same day of each month you are eligible.

3South Carolina Healthy Connections Choices

Healthy Connections Choices is free or low cost public health insurance for low-income South Carolinians who could not otherwise afford it — including children from low-income families and pregnant women.

As South Carolina is not expanding Medicaid coverage, most low-income adults without children and some parents may not be eligible — with an estimated 123,000 South Carolinians being denied basic access to health care.3

In South Carolina, eligibility for non-disabled adults is limited to parents with incomes below 62% of poverty, or about $12,660 a year for a single mother of two.

4South Carolina Healthy Connections Kids

Healthy Connections Kids is a health insurance program for children up to age 19 in South Carolina who are not eligible for Medicaid and who are uninsured.

It provides free health care to children in families with income below 208% of the poverty guidelines. The program does not provide any coverage for the adults.

5SC Voucher Program

Subsidized child care in South Carolina is provided through the SC Voucher Program that helps low income families afford quality child care. Families who have children with special needs may also apply.

Eligible families can choose their own child care provider. The program will reimburse child care providers up to a certain amount based on their quality level.

If you are already on welfare, otherwise known as the Family Independence in South Carolina, contact your local DSS office at 1-800-476-0199.

6South Carolina Special Milk Program

The Special Milk Program (SMP) encourages consumption of milk by children who do not participate in other child nutrition programs. It serves South Carolina’s children attending half-day pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs.

Any child from a family that meets income guidelines may buy milk or receive it free, depending on the school’s choice of program options.

7South Carolina Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)

South Carolina’s LIHEAP assists eligible low-income households in South Carolina in meeting the costs of home heating and cooling by making direct payments to their gas or electric utility companies.

Priority is given those who may be elderly, disabled, have families with children, and/or have the highest energy consumption. Seniors who qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is eligible for an additional 20% off their electric and/or gas bills. 4

LIHEAP assistance is not a monthly benefit. Depending on the availability of fund in your county, you may receive assistance once per year or up to three times a year – but not every month.

8South Carolina Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance benefits provide temporary financial assistance to eligible workers who lost their job through no fault of their own. In South Carolina, the average compensation is $239 weekly. The maximum is $326.

If you meet the eligibility requirements of the law, you’re entitled to jobless benefit while you are looking for a new job, up to a maximum of 20 weeks of unemployment.

9South Carolina Need-Based Grant

S.C. Need-based Grant provides financial aid to South Carolina’s neediest students. Eligible student may receive up to $2,500 annually if enrolled full-time or up to $1,250 annually if enrolled part-time.

In order to qualify for consideration for a South Carolina Need-based Grant, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form — preferably as early as January 1st of each academic year.

For more information about this grant, please contact:

Stephanie Charbonneau
Program Manager
(803) 737- 8348

  1. 2017-2018 Bill 3516: SC Infrastructure and Economic Development Reform Act
  2. Application form for Family Independence (FI), SNAP and Refugee Assistance (RA) Program
  3. Obamacare ‘coverage gap’ excludes 123,000 South Carolinians from health insurance.
  4. Special Reduced Residential Service Rate Program