Emergency Financial Assistance


Emergency Food Assistance Program

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) allows people in need to access food immediately through local food banks. Individuals or families with monthly income at or below 150% of the federal poverty level—see chart below—are eligible to get groceries through this program.

Emergency Food Assistance Program

Food Stamps/SNAP

The Food Stamp program provides funds to individuals and families to help with the cost of food. In South Carolina, Food Stamps are issued using Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT). Recipients are given a card that works like a debit card to use at the store. 

If a person is eligible and Food Stamps are needed right away, they will be issued within seven days. Otherwise, they will be issued within 30 days. Be sure to let the agency know at the time of application if there is a critical need to have the stamps right away.

The income limit for SNAP is approximately 130 percent of the federal poverty level—see chart below.

You may complete an application for Food Stamps at your local Department of Social Services (DSS) or you may use the application form on the DSS Web site and deliver, mail, or fax the application to your local DSS office.


Rental Assistance

To help reduce the risk of homelessness for older adults, the Lieutenant Governor's Office on Aging (LGOA) administers an emergency rental assistance program throughout South Carolina for persons age fifty-five (55) and older and who are at 150% of the federal poverty level or below.  This program can only provide assistance when funding is available to the LGOA.

These are emergency funds to be used for rent on a short term basis. The program cannot provide long-term housing assistance, but it can help seniors get through a “rough time” by providing rental assistance that will be sent directly to the landlord. The need for assistance must be due to an emergency situation that was unexpected, temporary and can be resolved. If you are concerned that you may not be able to pay your rent, please apply as soon as possible.

Who is qualified to receive assistance?

All applicants must be on the lease to apply for assistance. Applicants must be at 150% of the federal poverty level or below for household annual income.

2017 Federal Poverty Guidelines

Persons in Household 2017 Poverty Guideline 150% of Poverty Guideline
1 $12,060 $18,090
2 $16,240 $24,360
3 $20,420 $30,630
4 $24,600 $36,900
5 $28,780 $43,170
6 $32,960 $49,440
7 $37,140 $55,710
8 $41,320 $61,980

Funding for the emergency rental assistance program is limited. Assistance is given on a first-come, first-served basis. All applicants should complete all sections of the application and provide proper documentation and identification. Any application that is not completed in its entirety could delay funds. Once an applicant is deemed eligible, funds will be sent directly to the Property Manager/Landlord by the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging. 

Download the Application for Emergency Rental Assistance

Common Searches

Need help paying Medicare premiums?

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If you didn't find what you needed on this page, you can browse our services by category, or call your local Area Agency on Aging for more assistance—the phone number is in the sidebar of this page. 

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