Grants for Seniors in South Carolina

Key Senior Statistics in South Carolina (60 and over)
Senior Population: 1,376,023 (26.0%) Senior Population: 1,376,023 (26.0%)
Male: 45.3% Male: 45.3%
Female: 54.7% Female: 54.7%
Median Age: 70 Median Age: 70
Disability: 30% Disability: 30%
With Social Security Income: 77% With Social Security Income: 77%
With Food Stamp/SNAP Benefits: 9% With Food Stamp/SNAP Benefits: 9%
Below 100% of the Poverty Level: 11% Below 100% of the Poverty Level: 11%
Data Source: Data Source:
Data is taken from American Community Survey 2022.

Help for Seniors in South Carolina – 35 Assistance Programs

South Carolina has been known for its natural beauty, growing economy, and perfect weather conditions. It is one of the most senior-friendly states considering the affordable cost of living, lower taxes, and low-cost housing expenses. Although this state has good living standards for the elderly, some of them may still need assistance to make a good living. Therefore, the federal divisions, the State of South Carolina, and local charity establishments present several programs and services for senior citizens.


State Assistance

South Carolina Department of Aging (SCDOA) is dedicated to improving the quality of life among seniors in the state and works with different organizations to develop services aimed at helping older adults remain independent in their homes. The Department spends $1,400 on average per client every year to keep seniors out of nursing homes which would cost a lot more. More information is available at https://aging.sc.gov/. SCDOA operates under the following programs and services:

Alzheimer’s Resource Coordination Center (ARCC): Located within SCDOA, the ARCC was established in 1994 by state legislation to support the needs of older adults suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and any other related dementias through services and information. About 86,000 South Carolinians are living with Alzheimer’s. This represents 11% of the senior population in the state, and the number is projected to increase to about 120,000 by 2025. ARCC offers grant funding every year, and applications are only accepted from respite care and educational programs supporting families and caregivers of seniors with dementia.

ARCC Advisory Council comprises Lt. Governor appointed members and people from organizations with special interests in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. The council works to:


  • Come up with systems for developing support programs and services to assist families and caregivers of seniors with these diseases.
  • Facilitate research coordination, development of programs, and planning of initiatives.
  • Identify seniors with any type of dementia and increase the availability of resources to help them.
  • Offers training, education, information, and referral services to people with dementia or families caring for seniors with such issues.
  • Influence the policy-making process in matters concerning Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

For more details about ARCC, please visit https://aging.sc.gov/programs-initiatives/alzheimers-resource-coordination-center-arcc.

ElderCare Trust Fund: ElderCare Trust Fund was created to assist programs that support seniors to remain in their homes and avoid living in long-term care institutions. The purpose of this fund is to assist the low-income elderly South Carolinians by offering grants that finance support programs. These programs in turn help seniors age in place, thereby reducing the cost of being institutionalized. The Fund was established in 1992 and has spent more than $400,000 in funding over 30 nonprofits throughout the state. The ElderCare Trust Fund finances these programs:

Anderson Interfaith Ministries: A program dedicated to creating safer and accessible homes for older adults. The program can provide home repair services by building ramps, grab bars, and banisters. The program’s service areas are Pickens, Anderson, Oconee, and Abbeville Counties.

The ARK of SC: A program dedicated to providing training to caregivers on how to take care of seniors living with Alzheimer’s diseases and related dementias. The program serves Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, and Colleton Counties.

Visit https://aging.sc.gov/programs-initiatives/eldercare-trust-fund for more information.

Evidence-Based Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (Title III-D): Evidence-Based programs (EBPs) are there to help reduce the impact of chronic infection, and related injuries, including falls, in seniors’ lives. These programs receive funding from Title III-D of the Older Americans Act, and financing is based on the number of older adults aged 60+. To qualify, the programs must be aimed at supporting healthy lifestyles and behaviors among senior South Carolinians. EBPs are designed to empower the elderly to maintain healthy lifestyles by helping them achieve self-sufficiency and self-management. Learn more about the program at https://aging.sc.gov/programs-initiatives/evidence-based-disease-prevention-and-health-promotion-title-iii-d.

Family Caregiver Support: There are more than 770,000 family caregivers offering more than 737 million hours of their time to care for their senior loved ones in South Carolina. The South Carolina Caregiver Support program is committed to assisting caregivers with the necessary training, support, and counseling to help them through their daily tasks and in accessing community resources. Qualifying caregivers also receive small grants to buy respite or supplemental services from the local providers. The Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs). The target populations include:

  • Unpaid adult caregivers looking after frail or disabled seniors aged 60+.
  • Unpaid adult caregivers taking care of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and the related dementias.
  • Older grandparents or relative caregivers aged 55+ and are caring for 18-year older kids or younger.
  • Grandparents 55+ looking after a disabled senior or an adult 19+

For more details, please visit https://aging.sc.gov/programs-initiatives/family-caregiver-support.

Geriatric Physician Loan Forgiveness: The senior population in South Carolina is huge, yet the state has only a handful of physicians specializing in geriatrics and geriatric psychology. Luckily, there is a Geriatric Physician Loan Forgiveness Program supporting Physicians in the field of geriatrics to practice in the state by helping them clear their medical school loans. So qualified doctors will receive up to $35,000 to repay their student loans in exchange they geriatric medicine in South Carolina. Ever since the program was established, it has given more than $600,00 to 22 geriatric physicians who have supported more than 10,000 senior South Carolinians. Read more about the program at https://aging.sc.gov/programs-initiatives/geriatric-physician-loan-forgiveness.

Financial Assistance

ElderCare Trust Fund was formed and has been managed by the South Carolina Department of Aging to provide grants for seniors living at their homes. This program is intended to strengthen seniors who are living at home instead of living in a nursing unit. The amount of this monetary aid can differ based on the current economic situation of the applicant. Further information can be accessed by clicking on the following link https://aging.sc.gov/programs-initiatives/eldercare-trust-fund or get in touch with 803 734 9903.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): TANF focuses on assisting low-income seniors struggling to meet their basic needs through grants and financial support, employment opportunities, job training, and other resources. The goal of the program is to enable the elderly South Carolinians to achieve self-sufficiency. Visit https://dss.sc.gov/assistance-programs/tanf/ for more information.

Housing and Rent Assistance

South Carolina Housing Choice Voucher Program-Section 8 was formed and has been financed by the federal authorities for low and moderate-income residents. Seniors who are having economic problems are one of the priority groups for this program. Eligible seniors will decide on the house, apartment, flat, or townhouse they want to live in. This house must be compatible with the rules and regulations of this program. Approximately 70 percent of the rent will be paid by this program. For further information and application, please visit https://www.hud.gov/states/south_carolina/renting or make a call to the toll-free 1 800 236 4009.

South Carolina Emergency Rental Assistance Program was established and has been sponsored by the South Carolina Housing and Finance Development Authority for citizens in need of emergency rental assistance. Older residents who are 55 years of age or older and facing economic challenges are eligible to apply for this program. It is vital to know that this program provides short-term emergency rental assistance. Receivers can get up to $1,500 but it may change based on the economic condition of the applicant. To learn more, please go to https://schousing.com/home/sc-stay or contact 833 985 2929.

Salvation Army of South Carolina is one of the charity organizations that has been serving lower and middle-income individuals throughout the state. This organization has various programs and services for seniors. Seniors who are about to lose their home because of rent problems can benefit from housing assistance or sheltering either for long or short-term periods. Find out more information at https://southernusa.salvationarmy.org/north-south-carolina/  or dial 704 522 4970. Apart from the Salvation Army, there are other senior charities in the United States that offer support to elderly individuals.

Furthermore, Home Repair Grants for Seniors are available to ensure that homes are well-maintained and safe for elderly adults.

Healthcare Assistance

The Alzheimer’s Resource Coordination Center was constituted and has been funded by the State of South Carolina for seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. Alzheimer can be very challenging both for the applicants and their family members. This center offers cash assistance for medical equipment and prescription bills. Those seniors who have dementia and are having a hard time affording their medical expenses are encouraged to consult this center. The link to their official website is as follows https://aging.sc.gov/programs-initiatives/alzheimers-resource-coordination-center-arcc or call 803 734 9900.

Evidence Based Disease Prevention and Health Promotion is a health assistance department that was constituted by the South Carolina Department on Aging. This benefit is specifically designed for seniors who are 60 years of age or older and have a chronic disease. This program aims to strengthen the well-being of the applicants. It promotes healthy behaviors and a healthier lifestyle. Eligible seniors can get involved in the training and courses of this program. To see more information, please go to https://aging.sc.gov/programs-initiatives/evidence-based-disease-prevention-and-health-promotion-title-iii-d or give a call to the toll-free number at 1 800 868 9095.

The South Carolina State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP): The purpose of SHIP is to offer free counseling services and assistance to Medicare program participants on the available Medicare plans and help them in making the right choice based on their individual needs and circumstances. SHIP has been sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Residents who are already receivers of the Medicare Program are automatically eligible for this program. The services of the program are available for applicants, their family members, and caregivers. Qualified people will be receiving free, detailed information and one-to-one insurance counseling. SHIP operates through certified counselors who answer any questions related to Medicare and support seniors in opting for the right Medicare Plan – Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage (Part C, and Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D). They also educate seniors and their caregivers on programs designed to help low-income elderly South Carolinians pay for their healthcare, including Medicaid, Medicare Savings Program, and the Low-Income SubsidyTo read more and apply, please click the link https://aging.sc.gov/programs-initiatives/medicare-and-medicare-fraud or dial 1 800 868 9095.

South Carolina Medicaid: South Carolina Medicaid for the elderly helps seniors 65+ pay their healthcare expenses through different insurance plans that they have to choose from depending on their needs and circumstances. Visit https://www.scdhhs.gov/site-page/medicaid for more information.

Several programs are dedicated to improving the oral health of seniors and offer dental grants or assistance to cover services like exams, cleanings, fillings, extractions, and other necessary treatments.

Utility Bills Assistance

South Carolina Duke Power is one of the largest local electricity companies within the borders of the state. This company has two programs which are Cooling Assistance and Share the Warmth. Both of these programs are designed to offer discounts and cash support for low and moderate-income citizens. Seniors who are having economic problems and cannot pay their utility bills are qualified for these programs. To see in detail and apply, please visit https://www.duke-energy.com/home or make a phone call to 1 800 943 6914.

Palmetto Electric Cooperative is a local electric firm that has an Operation Roundup Program for low and middle-income people. Older citizens who are searching for utility assistance may benefit from this company. It offers different amounts of discounts based on the financial condition of the applicant. For more information, click the link https://www.palmetto.coop/ or make contact with 1 866 445 5551.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): LIHEAP provides low-income senior homeowners with financial support through grants to pay their home energy bills; heating and cooling costs. The Emergency Assistance Program (ECAP) is for heating and cooling support. Through this program, seniors acquire a replacement or repair of defective heating or cooling equipment. Low-Income Weatherization Assistance (WAP) helps the elderly South Carolinians improve their home energy efficiency by making the necessary repairs and installing failed systems. To b eligible for LIHEAP, one must provide proof of financial assistance needed to pay for energy costs and meet South Carolina residency requirements. Participants of TANF, SSI, and SNAP automatically qualify for the assistance. For more details, please visit https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/1548.

Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP): LIHWAP offers financial assistance through grants to help seniors clear bills for safe drinking water and wastewater. It is important to note that the program does not offer direct grants to seniors and does not charge any fee to assist with water bills. LIHWAP distributes assistance funds to the local Community Action Agencies (CAAs) who then provide support to the eligible seniors. More information is available at https://oeo.sc.gov/managedsites/prd/oeo/lihwap.html.

Food Assistance

South Carolina Group Dining (Congregate Dining)/ Nutrition Sites were organized by the State of South Carolina across the state’s senior centers. Individuals who are 60 years of age or above regardless of their income level and need healthy meals are encouraged to look for these food sites. The senior centers do not only have hot meals but also have many activities including language classes, book clubs, dancing, games, wellness, and health activities. Hence this is not only food assistance but also social engagement. To see more information, please go to https://aging.sc.gov/nutrition or contact 803 868 9095.

South Carolina Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program was created by the federal government and has been run by the South Carolina Department of Social Services. Seniors who are not in a good healthy position to cook for themselves or are not able to purchase healthy food are qualified for this food support. Eligible seniors who are 60 years old or older will have an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that is allowed to be used at grocery stores in the state. To examine and apply, please follow the link https://dss.sc.gov/assistance-programs/snap/ or call 1 800 206 1957.

Home-Delivered Meals: The goal of this program is to offer nutritious meals and nutrition education to eligible home-bound seniors. Eligibility requirements include:

  • Home-bound seniors 60+ who can’t move around because of disability or certain illnesses.
  • People with disability living with a program participant.
  • Spouses and caregivers of the program participants.

Information is available at https://aging.sc.gov/nutrition.

Legal Assistance for Seniors

The Department of Aging provides legal support to senior South Carolinians through Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) who offer legal support through advisory services and advocacy. The agencies offer legal assistance to seniors aged 60+ who are in greater social or economic need. The focus is on seniors living in rural settings, who meet low-income limits and have limited English proficiency. The South Carolina Department of Aging collaborates with the Access to Justice Commission, SC Legal Services, and other organizations working to provide seniors with legal advocacy. Read more about the program at https://aging.sc.gov/programs-initiatives/legal-assistance-seniors.

Transportation Assistance

Medicaid Transportation South Carolina offers transportation assistance to Medicaid program beneficiaries to help them get doctors’ appointments, x-rays, dialysis, lab work, pick prescription drugs, and other medical appointments. Find out more at https://www.scdhhs.gov/site-page/transportation-beneficiary-information.

Senior Express Transportation Services offers personal driving services to senior South Carolinians regularly or as needed by the applicant to the grocery stores, shopping centers, medical appointments, dialysis treatment, and church functions, among others. Read more at https://www.getcaresc.com/provider/senior-express-transportation-services.

Assistance from Charities and Nonprofits

EnergyShare provides support to low-income seniors and disabled customers with natural gas and electric services. Dominion Energy South Carolina administers the program through the local Community Action Agencies. Read more about the program at https://www.dominionenergy.com/south-carolina/billing/billing-options-and-assistance.

Duke’s Fan-Heat Relief program provides support to eligible older adults at risk of developing infection due to too much heat. The program is only available in the summer. Visit https://www.duke-energy.com/community/customer-assistance-programs/fan-heat-relief for more details.

Central Carolina Community Foundation financial assistance to low-income older adults through grants. The organization’s service areas include Lee, Lexington, Richland, Clarendon, Saluda, Orangeburg, Newberry, Kershaw, Fairfield, Calhoun, and Sumter. The foundation does not offer direct grants to eligible seniors. The funds are directed to qualified organizations, who then distribute them to needy older adults. More information is available at https://www.yourfoundation.org/grants-scholarships/grant-opportunities/.

Assistance for Senior Veterans

South Carolina Veterans Benefits: The Veterans Administration Aid and Attendance Pension program helps senior veterans receive support with daily tasks. Eligible elderly veterans and their spouses can qualify for these services, including bathing, grooming, eating, transportation, and medication management, among others. Senior veterans may use the funds to settle expenses related to home care, nursing home care, and assisted living. More details are available at https://www.veteranaid.org/veterans-benefits-south-carolina/.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What financial assistance programs are available for seniors in South Carolina? South Carolina offers the Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program for vouchers redeemable at local farmers’ markets, the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) for utility bill aid, and the I-CARE program which provides Medicare and insurance counseling to help manage healthcare costs.

2. How can seniors apply for Medicaid in South Carolina? Seniors can apply for Medicaid through the South Carolina Healthy Connections website, by calling the customer service line, or by visiting local SCDHHS county offices. Documentation required typically includes proof of income, assets, South Carolina residency, and age.

3. What housing assistance is available for seniors in South Carolina? The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority (SC Housing) provides the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) for rental assistance, along with information on affordable housing options specifically for seniors.

4. Can seniors receive assistance with utility bills in South Carolina? Yes, the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps eligible seniors with their heating and cooling bills, ensuring their homes remain comfortable throughout the year.

5. How do seniors get help with prescription medications in South Carolina? The South Carolina Prescription Assistance Program assists qualifying seniors in obtaining prescription medications at reduced or no cost, supplementing Medicare Part D coverage.

6. Are there property tax relief programs for seniors in South Carolina? South Carolina provides a Homestead Exemption for seniors 65 and over, which exempts the first $50,000 of the fair market value of their primary residence from property taxes.

7. What in-home care services can seniors access in South Carolina? Through the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waivers, South Carolina offers in-home care services including personal care, homemaking, meal delivery, and respite care for eligible seniors, supporting independent living.

8. How can seniors access transportation services in South Carolina? Seniors can access transportation through services provided by local Area Agencies on Aging, offering rides for medical appointments, shopping, and other essential activities, often at reduced costs or for free.

9. What nutritional programs support seniors in South Carolina? The Elderly Nutrition Program provides meals to seniors at community and senior centers as well as home-delivered meals for those unable to leave their homes, ensuring access to nutritious food.

10. How can seniors in South Carolina receive legal assistance? Legal Services for South Carolina provides free legal aid to seniors, covering issues like healthcare, housing, consumer protection, and advance directives, ensuring their legal rights are protected.