April 2, 2009

Economic assistance intended to be temporary aid


Economic assistance is a large part of the social service network that the Dakota Central Social Service’s four-county agency has available for children and families within its area. The agency also provides aging services and other services to families, especially those with small children. The four counties served are McLean, Mercer, Sheridan and Oliver. The economic assistance arm of the available services is intended to boost spending power, help purchase food, assist in paying for medical care, help with home heating bills, and assist in providing child care for working families. These programs are not all inclusive, with assorted nursing home care and basic care assistance programs also available, along with temporary financial assistance for needy families (the only cash grant program), it is now called TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) and was formerly referred to as AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children). Diana Shull, Economic Asst. Supervisor for the agency, stated the program for families are usually for one-parent homes, but not always. The rules are usually established by each state, but there are some rules set by the federal government. SNAP, Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program, (formerly Food Stamp Program) usually has the same rules across the nation with some state variances for how long they may be certified or for how often the client must report. The benefits may change but the dollar amounts are roughly the same with Alaska and Hawaii paying a higher allowance, due to the cost of food in those locations, Shull added.

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