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.
TANF is a time-limited program that assists very low-income families with dependent children who could not afford even basic necessities.2 The income threshold for TANF in South Carolina is set at 50% of the federal poverty level.
While the program, formerly known as Family Independence, 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 were children under the age of 18.
South Carolina requires all TANF 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.
Most TANF benefits in South Carolina are limited to 24 months in a 10 year time period. The time limit may be extended due to hardship reasons, if specific criteria is met.
SNAP helps low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled with cash assistance to buy the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. Eligibility is based on 130% of the federal poverty guidelines.3
You can apply online for SNAP in South Carolina or you may print and fill out an application4 and return it to your DSS county office. For more information on how to apply, please call 1-800-616-1309.
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.
Healthy Connections 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, eligibility for non-disabled adults is limited to parents with incomes below 62% of poverty. Pregnant women are covered up to 194% of poverty.
South Carolinians can apply for Medicaid online, in person, or through the mail. Call (888) 549-0820 or visit apply.scdhhs.gov to submit your application online.
If you are a pregnant woman, you may be able to receive medical care while you wait for your application to be processed. Call (888) 549-0820 for more information.
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.
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.
Family co-payments are based on a sliding fee scale ranging from $6 to $20 per child per week depending on family size and income. These co-payments are among the lowest in the nation.
If you need help finding a child care provider, you may call 1‐800‐476‐0199 to request a listing of enrolled SC Voucher Program providers in your area.
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. 5
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.
Unemployment insurance provides 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 – up to a maximum of $326.6
As a condition of eligibility, you must actively search for work each week that you claim benefits. To remain eligible for benefits, you must conduct at least two (2) verifiable job searches per week.
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:
(803) 737- 8348
- 2017-2018 Bill 3516: SC Infrastructure and Economic Development Reform Act
- What is TANF in South Carolina?
- What are the income guidelines for food stamps in South Carolina?
- Application form for Family Independence (FI), SNAP and Refugee Assistance (RA) Program
- Special Reduced Residential Service Rate Program
- How much do you get for unemployment in South Carolina?
- How do I apply for unemployment in SC?