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South Carolina Department of Social Services

V. Susan Alford, State Director  

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Skip Navigation LinksFamily Independence (TANF)

The Family Independence program is also known as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF)

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 do I apply?

Click here to apply online, or complete, sign and return an application to the local Department of Social Services in the county of residence. Applications can be obtained through any county Department of Social Services office.

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.

What services are offered?

  • Assessments, Evaluations, and Screenings
  • Employment planning and placement classes
  • Monthly stipend if approved for FI
  • Work experience, Community service, and On-the-job training
  • Limited vocational education; Child Support services
  • Childcare and transportation for training and employment
  • Limited transitional services with employment
  • Relocation assistance, if applicable, to obtain employment

What is the ePAY card?

The SC ePAY Debit Card is used to access monies deposited into an ePAY account by DSS. Benefits are deposited monthly into a debit account for eligible recipients. It can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted, including online and for bill payments. It can also be used for cash withdrawals at MasterCard Member Banks or Credit Union teller windows and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). ePAY accounts are governed by the FDIC banking regulations.

Where can I use the ePAY card?

The card can be used anywhere you see the MasterCard 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.

Using your ePAY card at any of the above locations is subject to South Carolina penalties. This includes Automated Teller Machine (ATM) withdrawals and Point-of-Sale (POS) purchase transactions.

More Information and Resources

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


  • To Report Child or Adult Abuse and Neglect call your local county office:
  • For information on SNAP benefits, contact DSS CONNECT at 1-800-616-1309 or any local DSS office during normal business hours.
  • To report Vendor/Retailer/DSS Employee Fraud
  • Report State Agency Fraud (Office of the Inspector General)