Accessing Public Assistance Programs Online

The Virginia Department of Social Services’ CommonHelp website is a helpful guide for navigating and applying for assistance. Through the CommonHelp portal you can:

  • Screen to see if you may be eligible for benefits.
  • Apply for SNAP, Medicaid, TANF, Energy Assistance, and Child Care online.
  • Report changes to your worker online.
  • Complete your renewals online.
Accessing Public Assistance Programs by Telephone

Medicaid: If you are only interested in applying for Medical Assistance and your application includes a parent, child and/or pregnant woman, you can also apply by telephone by calling Cover Virginia at 1-855-242-8282.

SNAP-TANF-Energy- Medicaid: If you are interested in applying for additional programs call 1-855-635-4370.

Please note the following:

  • Interviews can often be completed by phone. We recommend that you call for an appointment, if you would like to apply in person at the office.
  • Walk-in interviews take place Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • Drop-off completed applications Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Most programs require an interview. Some interviews can be completed by telephone.
  • We screen daily for emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

You may come in and pick up an application and complete it in the office, or you may call (804) 785-5977 or (804) 769-5003 and request that an application be sent to you.

Descriptions of Benefit Programs Available

Read on to learn more about the different types of benefit programs available.

Energy Assistance

Energy assistance program offerings include:

  • Fuel Assistance: This primarily provides assistance with purchasing home heating fuel and paying primary heat utility bills.
  • Crisis Assistance: This is intended to meet a household’s emergency heating need. Assistance offered includes one-time only heat security deposit, portable heater for temporary use, purchase of home heating fuel, payment of heat utility bill, payment for emergency shelter, and/or heating equipment repair/purchase.
  • Cooling Assistance: This provides purchase or repair of cooling equipment and/or payment for electricity to operate cooling equipment.

Childcare Assistance

The childcare program provides a subsidy payment to a licensed childcare provider to assist parents with childcare expenses while they work.

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)

Provides time limited cash assistance to families in which a minor child is dependent because of lack of parental support due to death, disability, and absence from home or unemployment. The child must be under age 18 plus living with a parent or relative. Eligible persons receive Medicaid. Participants are subject to Employment Services Participation and there are income and resource limits.

Auxiliary Grant for Aged and/or Disabled

An Auxiliary Grant is a supplement to income for recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and certain other aged, blind, or disabled individuals residing in a licensed assisted living facility or an approved adult foster care home.

General Relief

Provides cash assistance to non-relative adults providing a stable home for a child. This is a temporary program.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program “SNAP”

The program has income and resource limits. Approved recipients are provided with an Electronic Benefit Transaction Card to purchase food.


Pays health and medical care costs for certain groups of people who have low income and limited resources.

For additional information on programs, please visit the website for the Virginia Department of Social Services at

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discrimination for race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form.

To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: This institution is an equal opportunity provider

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights. 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington D.C., 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.