Virginia Department of Social Services

Family support services in Virginia help those with a low income receive the nutrition resources and other benefits they need. Each family assistance program is administered by the Virginia Department of Social Services (DSS) in conjunction with other agencies in the state and the federal government. Programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Women Infants and Children (WIC), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and more. School lunch and breakfast programs in Virginia are also available for children. There is an income limit for food stamps, TANF, WIC and all of the other public assistance programs available from state agencies. To qualify for certain benefits, applicants may also need to verify their Virginia residency, meet employment requirements and ensure that their children are enrolled in school full-time. Learn more about the benefits of these programs and the eligibility criteria petitioners must meet before applying in our comprehensive VA social services guide.

Virginia Food Stamps

There are a number of family assistance programs in Virginia that help applicants access nutritious, affordable foods. The food stamps Virginia income eligibility criteria must be met for petitioners to receive food assistance from SNAP. Once an individual or family meets the food stamp qualifications and is accepted for the program, the state will establish an account for the household. Each month, funds are transferred to the account and beneficiaries can shop for nutritious food at stores participating in the program. Another family assistance plan in Virginia is the WIC program. WIC is specifically designed for pregnant women as well as infants and children younger than five years of age. Benefits for WIC are distributed into an account that women can use to purchase certain food items at participating retailers. Senior citizens can apply for food assistance in Virginia through the Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP). Unlike other support services for families, SFMNP was created so that older adults are able to purchase fresh produce directly from farmers. With this program, beneficiaries receive checks that can only be used at farmers’ markets during the growing season.

Whereas some family assistance plans in Virginia provide funds for families to buy food, there are other programs that distribute food to those in need. Family assistance services such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program both provide food to low-income people. These programs function by receiving donated foods, which are then made available to schools, food banks, soup kitchens, summer programs and many other entities. Similar to the income limits for food stamps, beneficiaries must have a low income to receive assistance from TEFAP and CSFP. Read More

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in Virginia

Another family support service in Virginia is TANF. What is TANF assistance and how can residents benefit? This family assistance program provides monthly funds to help beneficiaries pay for their basic needs. Although TANF is a federal program, it is administered on the state level, and the rules for the program can vary from one state to the next. VA residents should know what are the requirements for cash assistance before applying to the program. TANF requirements in Virginia state that a school-aged child must attend school regularly for the household to be eligible. Furthermore, an applicant must either be a U.S. citizen or an immigrant who meets eligibility criteria. TANF is designed to help beneficiaries acquire job skills so that they can become more independent and self-sufficient. Like income eligibility for food stamps, there are certain financial requirements petitioners must meet to get TANF. The TANF program is just one way for low-income families to receive financial assistance. Benefits are also available in the form of Auxiliary Grants, Energy Assistance and General Relief. Read More

Food and Nutrition for School Children in Virginia

While many family assistance plans in Virginia are intended to help individuals and families at home, some children need easier access to healthy food at school as well. Programs for school lunch and breakfast allow children from low-income families to receive free or reduced-cost meals during the day. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) are available at a variety of schools throughout the state. It is necessary for families to apply for food assistance to participate in the NSLP or SBP. Applications are usually submitted to the nutrition coordinator in a family’s school district. Similar to food stamp income limits, families need to have a limited income for their children to qualify for the NSLP or SBP. The earnings of a household will also determine if the child qualifies for the meal at a reduced price or free of charge. Find out about the requirements for each of these other programs by downloading our guide on social services.

In addition to school lunch and breakfast programs in Virginia, children can also receive free and low-cost meals over the summer in certain areas of the state. A family assistance plan called the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) allows eligible children to receive the nutrition benefits they need year-round. However, the process of receiving SFSP meals can vary depending on where the food is supplied. Read More