Contact Info

Lisa Sprouse
For questions about your benefits, please call the main number and ask
to speak with a case worker.


Social Services Bldg.
PO Box 338
145 E. Court Street
Marion, NC 28752
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Monday - Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM



The mission of the McDowell County Department of Social Services is to respectfully assist families and individuals by helping them maintain, and/or enhance their quality of life; to prevent abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable people in the community.

The Department of Social Services is located on East Court Street in Marion. The Department is responsible for implementing Federal and State human services programs.

People Focused & Service Driven


Income Maintenance Programs

Among Social Services’ income maintenance programs are the work first program, food and nutrition program, low income energy assistance program, medicaid program and special assistance for adults.

Service Programs

Among the service programs, Social Services administers adoptions, adult care home case management, adult services, case management, child support, community alternatives program for disabled adults, adult rest homes, general assistance, guardianship, in-home aide, hospital social work, JOBS program, permanency planning, placement services for adults and children, protective services for adults and children, representative payee, services for the blind, medical transportation and clerical support.

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What's New

Medicaid Transformation
North Carolina will be transitioning to Medicaid Managed Care in 2021. Under this model, certain medicaid beneficiaries will be required to choose a health plan with one of the appointed plan providers. Beginning March 1st 2021, recipients will begin receiving enrollment packets with additional information about the new plans and how to contact the Enrollment Broker. Is it imperative that DSS has your most recent address to ensure delivery of all communication.

Open enrollment will begin March 15th 2021 through May 14th 2021. During this time, you will need to contact the Enrollment Broker (1-833-870-5500) to choose the preferred plan, mail the preference paperwork back to the Enrollment Broker, or visit If you are required to enroll in a plan and fail to do so by May 14th, you will be auto enrolled into a plan. If you have questions or need to change your plan, please contact the Enrollment Broker, as DSS can not make these changes. The new Medicaid Managed Care will go live July 1st 2021.

NC FAST ePASS Upgrade to Spanish
NC FAST's ePASS website has been upgraded to include a Spanish translation option, which provides access to information about NC Medicaid and Food & Nutrition Services in Spanish. It also enables the full application process to be completed online in Spanish-previously only possible using a paper form. The upgrade is a component of NCDHHS' COVID-19 shelter-at-home efforts to allow an expanded population to apply for needed services from the safety and security of their homes. The PDF of the application is generated in English for the worker in NC FAST.

COVID-19 Procedural Updates
Due to the guidance from the CDC and the federal government, our agency is trying to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Effective March 23rd in an effort to maintain 6 feet of separation between individuals, we will have tables set up in the lobby for clients to pick up applications and a drop box for clients to drop off information. Those wishing to apply for Food and Nutrition and Medicaid benefits can pick up an application in the lobby, complete, and drop in the drop box, or take the application with you to return at a later date. Please note your application date is the date we receive a completed application in the agency. This will affect your first month benefit amount so the sooner you return the application, the more benefits you will receive the first month. Please make sure you list a working phone number. You can also call the agency at 828-652-3355 and request an application be emailed, faxed, or mailed to you. We will continue to accept epass applications which can be found here.

Changes can be reported by completing a change report in the front lobby and dropped in the drop box, by phone call, or by emailing your caseworker. The drop box outside the agency will be checked multiple times a day versus once in the morning. Child protective service visits and contact with social workers will remain the same. Please inform the receiptionist if you are needing to see your CPS social worker or you have a scheduled visit. We appreciate your understanding and patience during this time.

Child support will not be conducting face to face interactions with clients until further notice. Please contact the office if you would like to speak with a child support caseworker.

Adult Protective Services is continuing business as usual. However we ask that you please maintain 6 feet from the person in front of you if you come into the office. If you have questions please contact the office.

Epass Tutorial

If you would like more information on epass and how to apply for medicaid or food and nutrition benefits, please click here.

Important Changes to Medicaid

North Carolina medicaid will be implementing new changes over the next year. The state will begin sending out information to all recipients so it is imperative that you keep your contact information up to date with your local DSS. If you have a change, please contact your caseworker, or come by the office and complete a change report.

As of July 1st 2018, McDowell County implemented  McDowell County Public Transportation

As of July 1st 2018, McDowell County implemented  a public transportation system. If you need transportation and would like additional information please call 828-559-0744. If you receive full medicaid and need to request a gas voucher or transportation, please call 828-659-0634. If you are needing to fax a referral for medicaid transportation, the number is 828-659-0734.

Community Resource Booklet

DSS has identified the need for McDowell County citizens to have access to a community resource booklet to learn more information about what the county has to offer. To view the booklet, please click here.

Children Protective Services
If you have ever wondered what constitutes a child protective services report but didn't know where to look, this information is available via the manual website. To view the CPS manual, please click here.

211 Introduced in McDowell County
McDowell County residents now have access to the United Way's information line, 211. This service is free, confidential, 24-7, and available in any language. 211 is your connection to food, clothing, shelter, child care services, consumer help, counseling, crisis intervention, health care, housing, senior services, support groups and volunteer opportunities. Just pick up your phone, dial 211, and be connected to a live operator that will assist you in finding resources within the community to help you or your family.

McDowell County and Project Lazarus
McDowell County has partnered with Project Lazarus to assist in the fight of drug overdose prevention. To learn more information about this project, please visit the Project Lazarus website.





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