Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) | Family Independence | Refugee Assistance

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Program Information

For over 30 years, the Supplement Nutrition Assistance (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, has served as the foundation of America’s national nutrition safety net, working to end hunger and improve the health of low-income people by helping families buy the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. In South Carolina over 100,000 households depend on SNAP each month to get the food they need for good health.

For children, a better diet means better learning in school. For adults, it means better performance on the job or a better foundation for developing the job skill that can give them and their families independence. For seniors, it means access to a balanced diet vital to their nutritional well-being. For everyone, participation in SNAP can help stretch limited budgets, improve nutrition, and reduce the risk of diet-related health problems.

Families, people living alone, and people living with roommates use SNAP benefits. People who are homeless can get SNAP benefits, too.

People of all ages use SNAP benefits.

You do not need to be receiving Family Independence or to be out of work in order to get them.

People who are working or have regular income from other sources than work, such as Social Security or a retirement pension, disability benefits, child support, or unemployment, can often get SNAP benefits.

If you are applying for SNAP benefits, your benefit amount will depend upon the number of people in your food stamp “household”, your “household’s” total monthly income, and certain “household” monthly expenses.

You may complete an application form for SNAP benefits at your local Department of Social Services(DSS) or you may use the forms on this web-site (3800, 3800-a, 24216)  and deliver, mail or fax the application to your local DSS office.

SNAP benefits give a person or family more buying power at the grocery store. The benefits are not intended to cover all of a family’s food costs, but will lessen the amount of income that must be used toward groceries each month.

• The number of people who live in household and buy food and prepare meals together;

• How much money your family has left from its monthly income after certain household expenses is subtracted.

Once household eligibility is determined, your approved food stamp benefits will be deposited into an account each month. The account is accessed by using an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. The EBT card acts as a debit card. Each time you use your card, your account will be reduced by the cost of the groceries you buy.

For more information concerning the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, contact your  county DSS office.

Frequently Asked Questions

• Can I get SNAP Benefits?
• What can I Buy with SNAP Benefits?
• How do I Use My Benefits?
• What are My Rights?

More Information & Resources

• Benefits Integrity Manual
• SNAP Manual

Nondiscrimination Statement
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027), found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410
(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or
(3) email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

You may also file a complaint of discrimination by contacting DSS. Write DSS Office of Civil Rights, P.O. Box 1520, Columbia, S.C. 29202-1520; or call (800) 311-7220 or (803) 898-8080 or TTY: (800) 311-7219.

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Family Independence

What is the Family Independence program?

Family Independence (FI) is a time-limited program that assists families with dependent children when families cannot provide for their basic needs.

What is the purpose of this program?

The primary focus of the program is to assist low income families meet basic needs by providing cash assistance, supportive services, and training and employment opportunities. The FI program is designed to serve both single-parent and two-parent families, as well as households with disabled adults. In many instances these families would be eligible for SNAP benefits and Medicaid.

Who can receive these services?

Low income families with dependent children may be eligible for these services. Families must be residents of South Carolina and willing to participate in the Family Independence Work Program. Applicants must assist in pursuing child support from parents absent from the household.

How are the services provided?

After eligibility determination, a case manager works with the family to develop a plan to achieve self-sufficiency within 24 months. This involves evaluating the family through interviews, assessments and screening tools. The plan includes employment preparation through training, work experience, and job search. Families are provided with support services and a monthly stipend to support the plan.

What services are offered?

• Assessment
• Evaluations
• Screenings
• Employment planning and placement classes
• Monthly stipend
• Work experience
• Community service
• On-the-job training
• Limited vocational education
• Childcare and transportation for training and employment
• Limited transitional services with employment
• Earned income tax credit
• Relocation to obtain employment
• Child support services

Where can I use the e-pay card?

•The card can be used anywhere you see the Visa logo with the exception of:
     -Liquor stores – this means any establishment that primarily sells intoxicating liquor.
     -Casino, gambling casino, or gaming establishments.
     -Businesses that provide adult-oriented entertainment in which performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state for entertainment.

More Information and Resources

• South Carolina Family Independence Act of 1995
• Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996
• Deficit Reduction Act of 2005

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Refugee Assistance

What is the Refugee Resettlement Program?

The Refugee Resettlement Program is established to help newly arriving population of refugees become self-sufficient in the shortest timeframe following their arrival in the United States. Refugees are individuals fleeing from persecution in their homelands who have been designated for resettlement elsewhere in the world. The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) provides funds, policy and over-site; but services are administrated by the state.

What is the purpose of this service?

The primary focus of the Refugee Resettlement Program is to provide assistance and services through State-administered programs that enable refugees to become employed and economically self-sufficient as soon as possible.

Who can receive these services?

Specific categories of individuals that have been granted refugee status by the US Department of Homeland Security - Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) prior to entering the US. These are refugees, asylees, Cuban and Haitian entrants, certain Amerasians, unaccompanied alien children, certified victims of human trafficking, and survivors of torture.

What services are offered?

The Refugee Resettlement Program consists of the following services:

• Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) -  Refugee cash assistance allows refugees that do not meet Family Independence guidelines to receive financial assistance for up to eight months after arrival in the USA. The benefit amount is the same as the benefit level for FI. Eligibility criteria for this service parallel that state’s TANF (FI) programs.
• Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA) -  Refugee medical assistance provides a health screening within 90 days after arrival, as well as other medical assistance, for up to eight months after arrival in the US. Eligibility criteria for this service parallel the state’s Medicaid programs.
• Refugee Social Services (RSS) -  Refugee social services include employability services which include job preparation training, job seeking and keeping skills, vocational skills training, case management and other services such as English Language Training, translation and interpreter services, citizenship preparation and social adjustment services.

How are the services provided?

All services are coordinated through the Refugee Resettlement Services Unit at the State Office, as well as through private and non-profit services agencies under contract with the state to provide specialized services to refugees.

The application for RCA is submitted and eligibility determination made at the local DSS office. The completed application and other required documentation are sent to the Refugee Resettlement Service Unit at the State Office for payment processing.

The application for RMA is completed and eligibility determined at the local Medicaid office.

The application for RSS must be submitted directly to the Refugee Resettlement Services Unit at the State Office.

Contact Information

SC Refugee Resettlement Services Unit

More Information and Resources

• US Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Refugee Resettlement

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