Social Services Block Grant Program

What is a Block Grant? A block grant is a noncompetitive, formula grant mandated by the U.S. Congress. Eligible entities must submit an annual application to demonstrate statutory and regulatory compliance in order to receive the formula-based funding.

The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) is a flexible funding source that allows States and Territories to tailor social service programming to their population’s needs. Through the SSBG States provide essential social services that help achieve a myriad of goals to reduce dependency and promote self-sufficiency; protect children and adults from neglect, abuse and exploitation; and help individuals who are unable to take care of themselves to stay in their homes or to find the best institutional arrangements.

About the Social Services Block Grant Program
The Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1981 [P.L. 97-35] amended title XX of the Social Security Act establishing the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG). Each year, the Federal Government allocates funds to States/Territories to support social services for vulnerable children, adults, and families through the SSBG. States have broad discretion in the specific services they support with SSBG funds and may tailor these funds over time to changes in the needs of their populations. In FY2016, SSBG allocations to States and Territories totaled more than $1.5 billion.

Federal Law establishes five broad goals for the SSBG. Social services funded by States/Territories must be linked to one or more of these statutory goals. [1]

  1. Achieve or maintain economic self-support to prevent, reduce, or eliminate dependency;
  2. Achieve or maintain self-sufficiency, including reduction or prevention of dependency;
  3. Prevent or remedy neglect, abuse, or exploitation of children and adults unable to protect their own interests or preserve, rehabilitate, or reunite families;
  4. Prevent or reduce inappropriate institutional care by providing for community-based care, home-based care, or other forms of less intensive care; and
  5. Secure referral or admission for institutional care when other forms of care are not appropriate, or providing services to individuals in institutions.


The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) does not provide direct grants to individuals; SSBG does not charge a fee for receiving a grant. If you receive a message offering you a SSBG grant or requesting a fee, please contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Fraud Hotline at 1-800-447-8477.

For more information, please visit the Grant Fraud and Scams Visit disclaimer page