Social Services

Ravalli County departments of social services provide information on food stamps, public assistance, housing, healthcare, emergency assistance, and child services. Eligibility varies depending on the type of program and the local agency. Many programs are based on income and available only to households below a certain income threshold. Other programs may be targeted for specific groups, such as children, the elderly, or people with disabilities.



The Early Childhood Services Bureau offers Best Beginnings child care scholarships to qualified low-income families whose child receives care from a licensed child care center, registered group or family child care home, or legally certified child care provider. Each family participates in the cost of that care by making a copayment based on a sliding fee scale.

The program helps to pay for care when parents are not available to care for their children:

  • During working hours;
  • During school or training hours, if meeting work requirements;
  • If they are a teen parent attending high school; or
  • If they are a parent receiving TANF who is participating in family investment agreement activities.

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Big Sky Rx (BSRx) is dedicated to helping Medicare clients pay for Medicare approved prescription drug insurance premiums. It is administered by the State of Montana.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Montana is your primary state of residence
  • Must be a Medicare recipient
  • Income less than $24,280 (single person) Or $32,920 (two person household)

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The Community First Choice and Personal Assistance Services (PAS) Programs are entitlement programs designed to provide long term supportive care in the home setting. These programs enable thousands of elderly and disabled citizens to remain in their homes. The type of care authorized is tailored to each individual in a person centered manner and dependent upon their needs, living situation, and availability of caregivers.

Services available through the CFC/PAS Program include the Activities of Daily Living: bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, eating, medication assistance, ambulation and exercising. Medical escort is also available. Under the PAS program there is additional time for limited grocery shopping, housekeeping and laundry. Under the CFC program there is also additional time for community integration, yard hazard removal for the purpose of providing safe access and entry to the home, correspondence assistance and personal emergency response system.

The CFC/PAS Program does not pay for tasks such as yard work other than authorized task to assure health and safety, household repair or modifications, major cleaning, shopping for non-essential items, escort to non-medical services, pet care, or general transportation. Some of these tasks are allowed through the waiver program depending upon an individual’s needs and required level of care.

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Services provided to eligible persons through the Developmental Disabilities Program are available at no cost to individuals of any age. Many kinds of services are offered through providers in communities or self-directed options. This support is separate from other assistance that is provided through schools, Medicaid, private insurance, Social Security, and other sources.

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Healthy Montana Kids (HMK), Children's Health Insurance Plan is just one of many Montana Healthcare Programs offering a free or low-cost health insurance plan which provides coverage to eligible Montana children up to age 19. Medical benefits are administered through the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Montana Provider Network, except for Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rural Health Clinics and Community Based Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Support Services. Treatments and services must be medically necessary and the member must be enrolled at the time the service is delivered. Covered services include medical, dental, eyeglasses, and other related services.

Health Care Services Include:

  • Medical
  • Pharmacy
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Transportation

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The State of Montana, through the Department of Public Health and Human Services, offers two programs aimed at helping low-income individuals reduce their heating costs.

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) pays part of winter energy bills for eligible people. Most utilities offer LIEAP recipients discounts on their bills. The Weatherization Program helps participants to improve the heating efficiency of their homes and thus reduce their energy consumption.

Who Is Eligible

Eligibility for weatherization and fuel (energy) assistance is based on your income and resource limits. Both homeowners and renters may apply for these programs.

If your household receives benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, you may qualify automatically for weatherization or fuel assistance.

When and Where to Apply

The Low-Income Energy Assistance (LIEAP) application is available during the heating season, which is October 1 through April 30 of each year, you may apply for weatherization assistance or an emergency situation with a furnace or water heater at any time during the year by contacting the energy assistance LIEAP eligibility office or tribal LIHEAP office serving your community.

SAFE’s mission is to address the fundamental need in our community to decrease domestic and sexual violence and its impact in Ravalli County, Montana through the provision of direct services to survivors and their children and by working to minimize those conditions that support violence against women.

Important Phone Numbers

  • Ravalli County Twenty-Four Hour Crisis Hotline: (406) 363-4600
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1 (800) 799-SAFE, If you need help, have questions about violence and abuse or would like to know more about any SAFE service, this hotline is answered twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

SAFE Services and Programs

Emergency Shelter

SAFE offers emergency shelter to families and individuals who are being victimized by domestic or sexual violence. Emergency shelter offers a safe place to stay for a short period of time. While in the shelter, survivors meet regularly with an advocate and make plans for violence-free futures. For emergency assistance call: (406) 363-4600.

Outreach and Advocacy

SAFE’s outreach and advocacy program includes a 24-hour crisis hotline, available for survivors and other community members who wish to get more information about domestic violence and community resources, or for people who just want to talk about their situations. The outreach program also offers weekly domestic violence support groups where survivors can talk to others who are experiencing similar issues.

SAFE Kids Program

In SAFE’s Kids Program, the top priorities are safety and meeting the needs of children and parents. SAFE provides a safe place for children to develop their self-esteem, build confidence, learn about healthy relationships, and begin the process of healing from the effects of domestic violence. SAFE provides needed emotional support and parenting advice for adults who request it and we offer a fun and safe place for kids while parents who are using our services attend appointments.

Children’s Support Group meets weekly. SAFE explores topics such as safety planning, expressing feelings, self-esteem, healthy relationships, boundaries, and conflict resolution. SAFE utilizes an empowerment framework with art activities such as sculpting, drawing, painting, and writing designed by A Window Between Worlds as a means to heal from traumatic experiences.

SAFE Transitional Housing

The SAFE Transitional Housing Program is dedicated to providing safe, affordable housing to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. SAFE’s purpose is to advocate for violence-free relationships and safety by providing a safe, non-judgmental, supportive environment.

The SAFE Transitional Housing Program was created to provide survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking the opportunity to live in a violence-free community for up to two years while developing and working toward plans for safe, self-sufficient lives.

Ravalli County Coalition

The goal of the Ravalli County Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence is to create a coordinated community response to domestic and sexual violence in Ravalli County, Montana. Guided by the work of seven committees, the Coalition works to end intimate partner and sexual violence in our community through collaborative intervention, prevention and primary prevention projects. To learn more about the Coalition, click here.

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Healthcare for Montana's Veterans

On April 29, 2015, Governor Steve Bullock signed the bipartisan HELP Act into law, establishing the Montana Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership (HELP) Plan and expanding health coverage in Montana to thousands of low-income working Montanans. Coverage began January 1, 2016. The HELP Plan offers medical, behavioral health, dental, vision, and prescription drug benefits.

Now, more people are insured in Montana than ever before and our federal tax dollars are coming home to provide affordable healthcare to over 50,000 hardworking Montanans. But too many veterans still aren’t getting the services they need.

Montana has the highest percentage of uninsured veterans in the nation. Not all veterans are eligible to receive health care through the VA and those who are eligible don’t always have full coverage. Too many of Montana’s heroes still struggle with long wait times and lack of access to local care. The HELP Act provides another option for eligible veterans.

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Homeless Veteran (HUD-VASH)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) - Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) Program combines Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Montana Department of Commerce's Rental Assistance Bureau provides this rental assistance for eligible veterans across the state, except Billings.For more information, call (406) 841-2830 and ask for assistance with the VASH Program.

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Disabled Veteran Outreach Program (DVOP)

The Employment Specialists at Montana's Job Service offices can assist all Veterans in securing employment and training, as well as refer Veterans to other service providers in both public and private agencies and organizations. Below is a list of contact information for all of Montana's Job Service offices, with specific listings for the DVOP Specialist.

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The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services distributes Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly referred to as "Food Stamps" benefits and cash assistance from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program using an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) system.

Who is Eligible to Participate?

  • People who live together and buy food and prepare meals together are grouped as a “household” for SNAP. Husbands and wives, and children under age 22 living with their natural, adoptive or stepparents must be considered as one household.
  • Household members that wish to be included must be U.S. citizens or legal aliens.
  • Household members that wish to be included must furnish or apply for a social security number.
  • Income and resource guidelines listed in this overview must be met.
  • Able-bodied household members who are age 16 through 59 must register for work, and may be required to participate in a SNAP Employment and Training Program unless a specified exemption is met.

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TANF cash assistance is a program providing temporary financial assistance to needy families. The receipt of TANF cash assistance is limited to 60 months in an adult's lifetime. Temporary financial assistance may be provided to the following families and individuals:

  • Minor Children;
  • Specified relatives with whom the children are living;
  • The minor children's blood-related/adoptive siblings with whom the children are living;
  • Pregnant women in their last trimester who have no other eligible children; and
  • Refugees with minor dependent children.

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Sapphire Community Health WIC Services, a nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children, improves the health of pregnant women and their children.

WIC offers families:

  • Benefits to buy healthy foods
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Tips for eating well
  • Referrals for healthcare and to other community resources

WIC is available to:

  • Pregnant women
  • New moms, for up to six months after delivery
  • Breastfeeding moms, for up to one year after delivery
  • Infants
  • Children under the age of five

WIC is for all kinds of Montana families: married and single parents, working or not working. If you are a mother, father, grandparent, foster parent or legal guardian of a child under age five, you can apply for WIC.

WIC participants receive benefits that can be used to buy cereal, juice, milk, cheese, eggs, peanut butter, whole grain items including whole wheat pasta, dry or canned beans, yogurt, fresh fruits and vegetables, baby food, infant cereal and formula.

WIC contributes to healthy pregnancies, healthy babies and helps young children be ready to learn. To find out how to enroll in WIC, call (406) 375-6685.

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