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Economic Services

Our Mission: To consistently collect as much child support as possible for the benefit of North Carolina’s children.

Child Support Services Contact Information

Customer Service Center:

By Phone: Toll-free: 1-800-992-9457
Hours: 7:30am to 5:30pm

By Mail: Child Support Enforcement
PO Box 20800
Raleigh, NC 27619-0800

Make or Schedule a Payment Contact:

By Mail:
NCCSCCO
PO Box 900020
Raleigh, NC 27675-9020

By Phone: Toll-free 1-877-361-5437

Questions or Inquiries: Toll-free 1-877-351-5437

Anonymous Parent Tip Hotline

If you have any information regarding an individual who may owe child support please call the Tip Line: Toll-free 1-855-449-8741

Southwestern Child Development
Southwestern Child Development, a private non-profit agency, which has been in business since 1972, is dedicated to the provision of quality early care and education in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, and Swain counties.  SWCDC operates 4 and 5-star level and developmental day-certified child care facilities in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, and Jackson Counties of North Carolina and provides early care and education support services in other counties in Western North Carolina.

Southwestern also provides dedication to the early care and education field by providing or coordinating child care resource and referral services in 13 counties (Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, and Transylvania Counties), by providing technical assistance to other child care providers, by providing training for child care providers, by contracting to provide child care subsidy services, by providing direct one on one intervention for children with special needs, by operating a Family Resource Center in Jackson County and by sponsoring other child care facilities on the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

There is currently a need for supportive type services for victims of Domestic Violence in Swain County. Clients who are homeless and suffering from domestic abuse have multiple needs. Supportive Services may include but are not limited to: Outreach, Child Care, Job Training / Placement, Case Management, Health Care, Transportation, Employment Assistance, Education / Tuition, Vocational Opportunities, Life Skills, Counseling / Mental Health Care, Housing Assistance, Substance Abuse Treatment, rent deposits, first and last month’s rent, Work Supplies, Gas, Utilities, Insurance, Car Maintenance, Parenting Skills, Psychiatric Care, Home Furnishings, Budgeting, Food, Medical Costs, Dental Costs, medication expenses/supplies, resource/referral services, assistance with applying for and securing benefits, and court advocacy. etc.

The long-term goal of the program is to have each client obtain and remain in a safe permanent housing situation. We feel that our goal should be to enable clients to become and remain self-sufficient through supportive type services. The Case Manager will facilitate the involvement of local services, agencies, and community resources that will benefit the client. Participants will be assisted in increasing their incomes and living independently through a collaborative process. A plan based on individual client needs, goals, and objectives, training and mentoring is needed. Participants will be encouraged, through referral and support, to access the multitude of programs available in Swain County. They will also be assisted in the arrangement of transportation to needed programs and services. The goal of the program is to assist the clients in the adoption of living skills necessary to be successful in providing for themselves and their families.

Domestic Violence is a pattern of behaviors that reflects an abuser’s need for power and control. What starts as verbal or emotional abuse can change into physical abuse directed toward an intimate partner, children, pets or property. No one deserves to be abused. Nothing that is said or done justifies an abuser’s violence. Problems in a relationship are not solved by abuse. Ending or changing an abusive relationship is often a slow and painful process, but never as painful as letting it continue. Once the abuse begins, it usually continues and becomes more frequent and extreme.

It Includes: Pushing, Harassment, Unwanted sex, Constant put-downs, Slapping, Isolation, Strangling, Kicking, Threats and Punching.

For more information about Domestic Violence and its effect on children:

 

HEATING AND COOLING ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

Energy Programs Application

Swain County Department of Social Services offers several programs that assist with the high cost of heating or cooling your home. Everyone has the right to apply and all programs have eligibility requirements.

Low Income Energy Assistance

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is a Federally Funded Program that provides for a one-time vendor payment to help eligible households pay their heating bills. Only households containing an elderly person age 60 and above or disabled persons receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) are eligible to potentially receive benefits from December 1st through December 31st or until funds are exhausted. Any household can potentially receive benefits from January I through March 31 or until funds are exhausted.

A household that applies must:

  • Have at least one US. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility criteria
  • Meet an income test
  • Have reserves at or below $2,250
  • Be responsible for its heating bills

Crisis Intervention Program

The Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) is a Federally Funded program that provides assistance to eligible households that are in a heating or cooling related emergency. The goal of the CIP program is to help families stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. By doing so, this reduces the risk of health and safety problems such as illness, fire, or eviction. Benefits may vary based upon the amount needed to alleviate the crisis. An eligible household may receive assistance more than one time during the State Fiscal Year (July through June).

The maximum allowed benefit amount can be up to $600 per application, per crisis situation; however, benefits cannot exceed $600 per State fiscal year. All payments are made directly to the vendor.

A household that applies must:

  • Have at least one U.S. Citizen or a non-citizen who meets certain eligibility criteria
  • Meet an income test
  • Be in a heating or cooling related emergency

Duke Energy Assistance Programs

Duke Energy provides Swain County residents with several programs that help supplement the cost of electric bills during the summer and winter months. This funding is offered through various grants and customer donations and is used for heating and cooling emergencies. Please contact the Swain County Department of Social Services for more information.

Emergency Assistance

The Swain County Department of Social Services has developed a single portal of entry process that ensures an applicant will only have to tell their story one time. The Intake Caseworker will perform an overall needs assessment of each person. The goal is to establish what type of assistance will best suit the individual and will alleviate their crisis. The Caseworker will then determine eligibility for available agency resources. Swain County Department of Social Services oversees the distribution of Emergency Assistance funds as they become available to our community. These funds are for individuals and families in a short-term financial crisis due to unexpected circumstances.

Guidelines for Emergency Assistance:

  • Must be a Swain County resident
  • Must meet eligibility guidelines
  • Must be in crisis

 

Programs Provide Assistance for:

  • Electric Bills
  • Deposits
  • Fuel Oil
  • Kerosene
  • Propane
  • Firewood
  • Water
  • Heaters
  • Approved Prescription Medication

Local Food Resources

  • Swain County Family Resource Center (828)488-7505 distributes various food items weekly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays beginning at 10:30am. Please call for more information
  • MANNA Food Distribution through Victory Baptist Church (828)488-6717. Please call the church for more information
  • Cherokee Compassionate Ministries (828) 497-2819
  • Grace Christian Academy (828) 488-6717
  • Bryson City Presbyterian Church (828) 488-2480
  • Living Waters Food Pantry (916) 868-4372

The Food Assistance Program is designed to promote the general welfare and to safeguard the health and well-being of the nation’s population by raising the levels of nutrition among low-income households.

Applying for Food Assistance

COVID-19 Response Food Assistance

Anyone may apply for food assistance: eligibility information will be discussed during the interview process. Applications for Food Assistance are taken Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Department of Social Services located at 80 Academy Street, Bryson City, NC 28713. If you are disabled or elderly you may have someone you trust to apply on your behalf, or you may call our office at 828-488-6921 for a telephone interview. If you choose to ask someone to apply for you, you may complete the Designation of Authorized Representative form and have your representative bring it to the interview.

Authorized Representative Application.

Forms that are needed to begin the application process are:

Additional information may be needed and will be discussed during the interview.

The Food and Nutrition Services program provides assistance to those families whose financial condition falls within the United States poverty guidelines.

EPASS Online Application for Food Assistance

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has launched a new program to allow citizens to apply for Food Stamps (FNS) benefits online. The program is called ePASS (Electronic Pre-Assessment Screening Service). This program provides citizens the opportunity to create an online account and apply for FNS services and benefits 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This service will also allow applicants to determine their own potential eligibility for Food and Nutrition Services. ePass will allow any North Carolina resident to:

  1. Apply Online
  2. Sign and Submit an FNS application electronically
  3. Check Application Status
  4. Withdraw electronically submitted application using ePASS

The Fraud Program is committed to the elimination of fraud and abuse of the public assistance programs and to ensuring the quality and accuracy of the public assistance programs. Program Integrity ensures citizens receive benefits to which they are entitled and in the correct amount. It also prevents payments to families and detects and determines client misrepresentation. Program Integrity recovers all overpayments made in public assistance programs due to client error, client fraud or worker error. Recipient fraud can occur when a recipient makes a false statement or fails to report information to their county department of social services and receives public assistance benefits to which he or she is not entitled. The Swain County Department of Social Services Fraud Investigator is responsible for investigations, prosecution, and recovery of these overpayments. The Program is designed to:

  • Prevent fraud, misuse, or abuse of the public assistance programs so that benefits are available for the truly needy.
  • Identifying overpayments caused by error, abuse, or fraud in the public assistance programs
  • Assuring that recipient overpayments are recouped

When applying for assistance through a local county Department of Social Services it is very important that a person does not withhold important information.

Under North Carolina law, persons who do not give caseworkers necessary information to determine eligibility for programs such as Work First Family Assistance, Food Stamps, Medicaid, Energy Assistance, special and emergency assistance, and surplus commodities commit a crime.

The crime welfare fraud is committed when people receive or try to get help by giving false and inaccurate information or withhold information

What happens when a person is found guilty of committing welfare fraud?

A person who is found guilt of welfare fraud can be: fined, placed in jail or fined and placed in jail.

People guilty of welfare fraud may receive an even stiffer penalty. That penalty could include all of the following: a fine, jail sentence, and mandatory repayment of all benefits restored.

If you suspect fraudulent activity involving any public assistance recipients, please call the Fraud Hotline at 1-800-662-7030 or 828-488-7856. You may also email us at: welfarefraudreporting@swaincountync.gov.

All information you provide will be kept confidential.

Medicaid benefits and eligibility vary according to a person’s circumstances. It is important to remember that Division OF Medical Assistance policies and regulations must be followed for each application/redetermination. There are several different groups of individuals who may qualify for Medicaid benefits. All programs have income limits and some programs have resource/reserve limits. Individuals who are eligible for full Medicaid benefits receive a Medicaid card at approval and one time a year if their benefits continue. Medicaid may also be retroactive to cover medical bills from the 3 months prior to the month of application.

There are three ways to apply (one application works for Medicaid and Health Choice).

  1. Apply online
  2. Apply in person at your county Division of Social Services (DSS) office.
  3. Fill out a paper application and mail it to or drop it off at your county DSS office.

Call your county DSS office at (828) 488-6921 if one of these methods will not work for you.

Here is a list of programs offered under Medicaid:

Dental Providers

County
Phone & Hours
Address
Services Provided

Asheville Medicaid Dental Center
Buncombe
828-350-1076 – Mon-Fri
247 Biltmore Ave.
Asheville, NC
General dentistry, oral surgery Children’s Medicaid, Health Choice, Birth-20 yrs

Haywood Dental Clinic
Haywood
828-452-6701 – Mon-Thurs
Old Asheville Hwy.
Waynesville, NC 28786
General Dentistry Children, Medicaid, 2yr – 21yr

Mission Children’s Dental Clinic
Buncombe
1-800-793-3165 – Mon-Fri
50 Doctors Dr. Suite 203A
Asheville, NC 28801
General Dentistry, and Oral Surgery Children’s Medicaid

Buncombe County Health Dept.
Buncombe
828-250-5011
35 Woodfin St.
Asheville, NC
General Dentistry Children

Far West Dental Clinic
Cherokee
828-837-1397
145 Medical Park Lane #K
Hayesville, NC
General Dentistry Children

Dr. Orville Williams
Buncombe
828-252-8989
Bldg 4J2 Doctors Park
Asheville, 28801
Extractions, cleanings, fillings, and dentures

Dr. Hensley
McDowell
828-659-7323
Marion, NC
Adult Medicaid-pulls teeth, does cleaning and fillings

Dr. Cindy Crawley
Demorest, Georgia
706-894-1727
Friday 9am-5pm
45 minutes from Franklin, NC
Pulls teeth, cleaning, partials, and fillings

Dr.Napolitano
Buncombe
828-251-0300
Asheville
Must be referred by another Dentist and bring X-rays with you.  Root Canals, Extractions, Wisdom, Impacted

Individuals who qualify for certain cash assistance programs automatically qualify for Medicaid without a separate application. If cash assistance ends, the Medicaid may be continued if the individual meets the eligibility criteria for another type of Medicaid. The programs which include automatic Medicaid are:

  • Work First Family Assistance for families with children
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for elderly, blind and disabled individuals
  • State/County Special Assistance (SA) assistance for payment of rest home expenses for elderly, blind and disabled individuals
Individuals who have Medicare coverage may be eligible to have their Medicare premiums paid by Medicaid if their income is between 100% and 135% of the poverty level. There is a limit on resources.

Child and Family Medicaid

Family Medicaid allows eligible clients to receive physician services, as well as routine preventative care for children, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, and prescriptions.

The program also emphasizes prenatal care for pregnant women.

MPW (Medicaid for Pregnant Women) is services limited to those related to pregnancy including postpartum coverage or for conditions that the doctor believes will complicate the pregnancy

In addition, we encourage the pregnant woman to use a Pregnancy Medical Home, which can help to manage care during pregnancy.

Family Medicaid allows eligible clients to receive physician services, as well as routine preventative care for children and/or adults with children living in their home (parents with children, grandparents, and or legal guardians that meet the rules in policy) inpatient and outpatient hospital care, and prescriptions.
The income limit is equal to 100% of the poverty level. There is a limit on resources. This program assists low-income, disabled, and elderly persons with the ability to receive essential medical care. Medicaid is a significant source of funding for nursing home care, medical care and prescription drugs for elderly, disabled and blind citizens. It also helps provide home- and community-based services (CAP) to individuals who would otherwise require nursing facility care, allowing them to continue living in the community. Assistance with the cost of care is provided to adults living in nursing homes, rest homes, hospitals, or private homes. The patient’s income must be less than the cost of care in the facility at the Medicaid rate, and there is a limit on resources. If the patient or his representative gives away assets or sells them for less than market value, he may be ineligible for payment of the cost of care. The sanction period is based upon the value of the assets transferred away. Covered services include inpatient hospitalization, outpatient, dental, nursing home care, prescription drugs, vision, and primary care.

North Carolina Health Choice is a health insurance program that serves children from working families. It provides full medical insurance coverage to low-income children who are not eligible for Medicaid but whose family income is less than 200 % of the federal poverty standard but cannot afford private health insurance. These families earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but cannot afford private health insurance. The families must meet specific guidelines and the children must be under age 19. The program is free to most. Some families, with higher incomes, must pay an annual premium, which can never exceed $100 (regardless of the number of children enrolled from the family). There is no limit on resources. The coverage is similar to that of Medicaid. Eligible children receive a card which is valid for one year (unless they move out of state or become insured through another source). North Carolina has limited funds available for N.C. Health Choice. Because of the capped funding, a waiting list may be instituted at anytime when the program reaches or exceeds it s funding limits. During an enrollment freeze, families may still apply for assistance, however, children who are found eligible for NCHC are added to a list to await enrollment when funds become available.

NC Health Choice for Children provides health coverage for uninsured children (under 19 years old) whose families do not have health insurance benefits and who do not qualify for Medicaid. Income guidelines apply and there is an enrollment fee if countable income equals or exceeds set amounts. As shown in the table below, a family of four earning less than $3,067 gross per month can receive coverage which includes medical, dental, vision and hearing care as well as counseling, therapies and mental health. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of N.C. administers the program, and the cost is paid by federal and state funding.

The child must be 6 years of age or older and be ineligible for full Medicaid benefits under any category and not covered by comprehensive health insurance. In order to be eligible the insurance must be stopped. However, if an absent parent is court ordered to provide health insurance, this insurance cannot be dropped.

Income Guidelines
Family Size – Monthly Income – before taxes
2 – $2,020
3 – $2,544
4 – $3,067
5 – $3,590

note – effective 4/01/03 – 03/31/04

Step Parent/Grandparent Income is not counted.

Deductions from income:

  • daycare for a child or incapacitated adult
  • child support being paid for a child outside of the home
  • income of a step-parent is not counted.

You can download an NCHC application and find out more information about the plan at the NC Division of Medical Assistance website.

Health Choice Services Include:

  • doctor visits for sick children
  • well-child check-ups
  • eye exams and glasses
  • hearing exams and hearing aids
  • prescriptions
  • hospital coverage
  • dental care
  • mental health
  • counseling
  • and more

Appointment Procedure

Apply at DSS, use mail-in Medicaid/Health Choice Applications or applications can be mailed in.

You will need to bring income verification with you

Services are paid for through Federal and State funds.

Forms
NC Health Choice Applications

*You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the forms. You can download it below:

Work First is North Carolina’s plan to help families stay off welfare or move off welfare and into jobs. Work First is not just a cash assistance program, rather, it is built upon the belief that all people have a responsibility to their families and community to work and provide for their children. Through Work First, parents can get short-term training and families can get child care assistance and other services to help them become self-sufficient. Most families have two years to move off welfare. Work First emphasizes three strategies:

  1. Diversion: Keeping families off welfare by helping them cope with unexpected emergencies or setbacks. Under Work First, qualifying families can get up to three months’ worth of cash diversion assistance, child care, food stamp benefits, and Medicaid, if they stay off welfare.
  2. Work: Shortening the length of time that families are on welfare by making work mandatory and by limiting how long a family can receive cash assistance.
  3. Retention: Helping families that leave welfare to stay off with services such as transportation, encouraging them to save and by helping to make sure they really are better off working than on welfare.

Work First is North Carolina’s plan to help families stay off welfare or move off welfare and into jobs. Work First is not just a cash assistance program, rather, it is built upon the belief that all people have a responsibility to their families and community to work and provide for their children. Through Work First, parents can get short-term training and families can get child care assistance and other services to help them become self-sufficient. Most families have two years to move off welfare. Work First emphasizes three strategies:

  1. Diversion: Keeping families off welfare by helping them cope with unexpected emergencies or setbacks. Under Work First, qualifying families can get up to three months’ worth of cash diversion assistance, child care, food stamp benefits, and Medicaid, if they stay off welfare.
  2. Work: Shortening the length of time that families are on welfare by making work mandatory and by limiting how long a family can receive cash assistance.
  3. Retention: Helping families that leave welfare to stay off with services such as transportation, encouraging them to save and by helping to make sure they really are better off working than on welfare.

General Program Requirements

In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must be a resident of North Carolina and responsible for a child that is related to you and under 19 years of age, a US national, citizen, legal alien, or permanent resident, have low or very low income, and be either under-employed (working for very low wages), unemployed or about to become unemployed.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.

Application Process

To apply for this program, please contact the local administering agency near you:

Swain County Department of Social Services
80 Academy Street, Bryson City NC 28713
Phone (828) 488-6921

Program Contact Information
In the Raleigh area or outside of North Carolina, call:
919-855-4400

CARE-LINE Information and Referral Service: 800-662-7030

Workfirst Home Page

Hearing-impaired callers can dial the TTY line at 877-452-2514

Click here for a list of Work First Eligibility Requirements Benefit Details

Minimum Age Standards for Employment

The FLSA and the child labor regulations issued at 29 CFR, Part 570, and the WHA and the youth employment regulations establish both hours and occupational standards for youth. Children of any age are generally permitted to work for businesses entirely owned by their parents, except those under 16 may not be employed in mining or manufacturing, and no one under 18 may be employed in any occupation the Secretary of Labor has declared to be hazardous or the Commissioner of Labor has declared to be detrimental.

  • 18 – Once a youth reaches 18 years of age, he or she is no longer subject to the child labor/youth employment provisions. Youths under 18 years of age must obtain a youth employment certificate (work permit) when employed, even if they are employed by their parents. The certificate and the issuing instructions are obtained from the N.C. Department of Labor website.
  • 16 and 17 – The basic minimum age for employment. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds may be employed in any occupation other than those declared hazardous or detrimental. No youth under 18 years of age who is enrolled in school in grade 12 or lower may be employed between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. when there is a school for the youth the next day. Sixteen- and 17-year-old youths may get the hour restriction waived upon written permission from the parent/guardian and from the youth’s principal/designee.
  • 14 and 15 – Young persons 14 and 15 years of age may be employed outside school hours in a variety of non-manufacturing and non-hazardous/non-detrimental jobs for limited periods of time and under specified conditions.
  • Under 14 – Children under 14 years of age may not be employed in non-agricultural occupations. Permissible employment for such children is limited to work that is exempt from the FLSA and WHA (such as actors or performers in motion pictures, theatrical, radio, or television productions). Children may also perform work not covered by the FLSA or WHA such as completing minor chores around private homes or casual babysitting.

Error messages or questions should be addressed to a program assistant at (919) 807-2796 (Raleigh) or toll-free (N.C. only) 1-800-NC-LABOR (1-800-625-2267). Our call center is open Monday through Friday.

How to Handle Completed Certificates:

  • Completed and signed certificates must be given to the employer on or before the first day of work.
  • The employer must verify the youth’s age, proposed job duties, and any restrictions noted on the certificate.
  • The certificate must be maintained by the employer for two years after employment ends or until age 20, as appropriate.
Notice of Rights Under Hawkins v. Cohen
Spanish Version

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