Resources for People in Need of Public Assistance

Through The State of Delaware ( Click here):

Within the Department of Health and Social Services, the Division of Social Services (DSS) is directly responsible for administering these programs: Delaware’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Food benefits, Subsidized Child Care, General Assistance and Refugee Cash Assistance. When applying for public assistance from the state, people must present proof that they are an American citizen or legal immigrant and that they are currently residing in Delaware.

General Assistance:
General Assistance is a state-funded program designed to provide cash assistance to low-income people who do not qualify for federally funded programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Social Security benefits.

You may qualify if you meet one of the following criteria: You are age 18 to 54 and are too sick to work. You must have a form completed by a doctor. You have to stay at home to take care of a sick household member. You are age 55 or older with no other income. You are a high school student more than 18 and are expected to graduate within two years. There are also income and resource limits that apply to this program. A DSS Case Manager will talk to you about your situation to see if you are eligible. The monthly GA check for a single person is $79. (As of October 1, 2015)

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF):
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is Delaware’s main cash assistance program. It is administered through a joint effort of the Division of Social Services (DSS), Delaware Department of Labor, Delaware Department of Transportation and the Delaware Economic Development Office. The goal of TANF is to give people temporary help until they get a job. Within the program both the State and the TANF client have responsibilities. The State provides positive incentives for the family to become self-sufficient, and the family must accept responsibility to become self-sufficient and self-supporting. Time on TANF is limited for most people. You can get benefits for 36 months, but you must work or participate in work related activities for 30 hours a week to receive a TANF check.

You must have minor children or be taking care of minor children you are related to in order to qualify. Delaware extends eligibility to women in their ninth month of pregnancy and to 18-year-old high school students who will graduate before turning 19. Additionally, it must be determined that a family is financially eligible for assistance through consideration of all incomes and resources available to that family.

Food Stamps:
Food Supplement Program is a program that enables low-income families to buy a variety of food that is the basis for better nutrition. Benefits are issued electronically to the family’s Delaware Food First card each month. This is an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. The Food Supplement Program recipient uses this card at local grocery stores to access his/her food benefit. The United States Department of Agriculture, Food & Nutrition Service (FNS), is the federal agency responsible for overseeing the Food Supplement Program.

Eligibility for this service is based on factors such as who lives and eats together as well as relationships in the home and income. All children under the age of 22 years old who live with their parents must apply with their parents. You must be a U.S. Citizen or an eligible alien to qualify. Individuals who receive TANF, GA or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) do not need to meet an income test in order to receive Food benefits. The maximum gross monthly income limit for most other individuals is set at 130% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

Medicaid furnishes medical assistance to eligible low-income families and to eligible aged, blind and/or disabled people whose income is insufficient to meet the cost of necessary medical services. Medicaid pays for: doctor visits, hospital care, labs, prescription drugs, transportation, routine shots for children, mental health and substance abuse services.

You can have a car, bank account, and a home and still qualify for Medicaid. DSS does not look at any of your resources when determining your eligibility for Medicaid. You can work and still qualify for Medicaid. Some persons can have other insurance and still receive Medical Assistance. Low-income uninsured adults between the ages of 19 and 65 may qualify for Medicaid. Certain children living with stepparents, grandparents, or siblings with income may receive Medicaid. Needy families with children may be eligible for Medicaid if they are part of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. When a family getting a welfare check starts working and leaves welfare they still may receive Medicaid. Low-income pregnant women and children under age 19 may qualify for Medicaid. Most women of child bearing age may be eligible for birth control and family planning services for up to 24 months after their regular Medicaid stops. Most people receiving Medicaid are enrolled with one of the managed care plans under the Diamond State Health Plan.

State Service Centers Contacts:

Porter State Service Center
509 W 8th St

Northeast State Service Center
1624 Jessup St

DeLaWarr State Service Center
500 Rogers Rd

Claymont State Service Center
3301 Green St

Floyd Hudson Service Center
501 Ogletown Rd

DSS – Canby Park
1920 Maryland Ave

Robscott Service Center
152 E Chestnut Hill Rd, Newark DE

Getting Assistance through the Social Security Administration

Social Security Retirement:
If a person has worked for at least ten years and had social security taken out their paychecks throughout that time, they are probably entitled to a monthly social security check when they retire. The earliest age at which a person can collect Social Security is 63. If the person chooses to continue to work after they begin to collect a social security, there are income limits on how much they can earn each month without affecting their check. The longer one postpones beginning to collect their social security, the greater the size of their monthly checks when they do. To apply for Social Security, a person needs a certified copy of their birth certificate, their social security number and a valid state ID or driver’s license.

Social Security Disability (SSD):
If a person has worked for at least ten years and had social security taken out their paychecks and is now too disabled to work because of injury or illness, they may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability. A person should apply for disability benefits as soon as they become disabled. It can take a long time to process an application for disability benefits (three to five months). The amount that they receive through SSD is based on the amount of money that they have invested through their payroll deductions. To apply for disability benefits, one will need to complete an application for Social Security Benefits and the Disability Report. Information you may need:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your birth or baptismal certificate
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of the doctors, caseworkers, hospitals and clinics that took care
    of you and dates of your visits
  • Names and dosage of all the medicine you take
  • Medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics and caseworkers that you already have in your possession
  • Laboratory and test results
  • A summary of where you worked and the kind of work you did
  • A copy of your most recent W-2 Form (Wage and Tax Statement) or, if you are self-employed, your federal tax return for the past year.
    In addition to the basic application for disability benefits, there are other forms you will need to fill out. One form collects information about your medical condition and how it affects your ability to work. Other forms give doctors, hospitals and other health care professionals who have treated you permission to send us information about your medical condition.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. SSI benefits also are payable to people 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial limits. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes):
* It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income; and
* It provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

Medicare is health insurance for the following:

  • People 65 or older
  • People under 65 receiving SSI or SSD
  • People of any age with end stage renal disease

Medicare has four parts:

  1. Medicare Part A is hospitalization insurance. It helps to cover inpatient care in hospitals, nursing facilities and hospices.
  2. Medicare Part B is medical insurance. It helps to cover doctors’ and health care providers’ services, outpatient care, durable medical equipment and home health care.
  3. Medicare Part C (Also known as Medicare Advantage) offers health plan options by Medicare-approved private health insurance companies.
  4. Medicare Part D helps cover the cost of prescription drugs and are run by Medicare-approved private health insurance companies.

Social Security Administration
920 W Basin Rd

(Last Updated 11/25/2019)