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FY 13-14 Adopted Annual Budget »

Benefit Program Services

TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
TANF provides temporary financial assistance to eligible families with children. To be eligible, a family must be financially needy and must meet certain other requirements. An eligible child must be under age 18, or if 18, expected to graduate from high school before age 19; going to school regularly if s/he is between the ages of 5 and 18; living with a parent or other relative; and a citizen of the U.S. or an eligible immigrant.

An applicant must cooperate in naming the parents of all eligible children and must help establish paternity for each child. The Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) will send all support collected for this child directly to the family. A child will not be eligible if born to or adopted by a TANF recipient more than 10 months after an applicant begins receiving TANF.

The amount of the TANF payment is based on the size of the family. A family may still be eligible to receive TANF while receiving money from other sources. If you receive TANF, you may be required to participate in the Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare (VIEW) program. Families in the VIEW program may earn income and receive a TANF check. However, the total income cannot be more than the federal poverty level for the family size. A family with someone in VIEW may receive TANF for no longer than 24 months followed by a period of 24 months ineligibility. A family may receive TANF no more than a total of 60 months in a lifetime.

Individuals may be prosecuted for fraud, perjury or charged with an intentional program violation (IPV) if they purposefully make false statements, withhold information, name the wrong person as a parent, or fail to report a change on time in order to receive benefits or VIEW services. Additional information regarding the TANF program, application, forms and manual is available online at www.dss.virginia.gov.

Medical Assistance Programs-Medicaid, FAMIS Plus, and FAMIS (Family Access to Medical Insurance Security Plan)
Medicaid and the Family Access to Medical Insurance Security Plan (FAMIS) are Medical Assistance programs that make direct payments to health care service providers for eligible individuals and families who are unable to pay for needed medical services. Medicaid for children is called FAMIS Plus.

To be eligible for Medicaid, a person must have income and resources (assets) within specified limits and must be in one of the groups covered by Medicaid. Medicaid covered groups include children under age 19 years, pregnant women, parents with dependent children under age 18 years living in the home, adults age 65 years and older, blind individuals, and individuals who are disabled according to the standards adopted by the Social Security Administration.

FAMIS, and its program for pregnant women, FAMIS MOMS, covers uninsured children under age 19 years and pregnant women, with income that is too high for FAMIS Plus/Medicaid but is under the income limit for FAMIS/FAMIS MOMS.

Medicaid/FAMIS Plus and FAMIS have different income limits and nonfinancial requirements. When someone applies for Medical Assistance, the eligibility worker will determine if the person is eligible for either program. Medicaid and FAMIS pay for a variety of medical services, including prescription drugs, doctor visits, nursing facility care and hospital care.

Information about Medicaid/FAMIS Plus is available online from the Virginia Department of Social Services at www.dss.virginia.gov and from the Department of Medical Assistance Services at www.dmas.virginia.gov.

For more information about FAMIS, please contact the local department of social services at 861-4720, or call 1-866-87FAMIS. Information about FAMIS is also available online at www.famis.org.

Auxiliary Grants
Some people who live in an adult care residence or an adult family care home can receive money from the Auxiliary Grant Program. The money received, plus other income is used by the person to pay for the care provided by the home. Individuals who receive money from this program are also eligible for Medicaid. To be eligible, a person must:
  • Be 65 or older, blind, or disabled
  • Have countable resources of less than $2,000 for one person--$3,000 for a couple
  • Have countable income that is less than the approved rate for the home plus an allowance for personal items
  • File an application in the locality where the person lived prior to entering the adult care residence or adult family-care home
  • Have been assessed and determined to need care in an adult care residence or an adult family placement
    Additional information about the Auxiliary Grant Program can be found at www.dss.virginia.gov.


Energy Assistance Program
Energy Assistance consists of three components:
  • Fuel Assistance, which helps low-income eligible households by supplementing home energy costs. Applications are accepted the second Tuesday in October through the second Friday in November.
  • Crisis Assistance, which assists low-income households with energy related emergencies-repair or replacement of heating equipment, a one-time only security deposit, Applications are accepted November 1st through March 15th; and
  • Cooling Assistance, which assists households in acquiring or repairing cooling equipment and/or payment of electric bills to operate cooling equipment. To be eligible a household must be income eligible and contain at least one vulnerable individual who is age 60 or over, disabled, or under the age of 6. Applications are accepted June 15th through August 15th.


For more information and on-line services visit
The Virginia Dept of Social Services  »