Salaam Bhatti, Esq.

Salaam Bhatti; Director, Virginia Hunger Solutions 

T (804) 351-5265  |   F (804) 649-0974   |   E

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Overview of Public Benefits

Public benefits are programs that are administered by the state and federal government that assist individuals with many of their basic needs. The terms public benefits and public assistance are both used to describe the same programs. A few of the main public benefits programs are: SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program), Social Security, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid and Unemployment Compensation.


VPLC provides nonpartisan information about matters affecting the poor and vulnerable in our society to legislators and government agencies. As advocates for many low-income families and children, we provide a voice on issues regarding public assistance such as TANF, SNAP and Unemployment Compensation.


We believe that many of the problems that recipients of public assistance have are a result of lack of information or misinformation. Due to this belief, VPLC works with numerous non-profit organizations and agencies providing services to low-income Virginians to provide information to current and future recipients. VPLC administers outreach efforts to inform the community of their rights and obligations in public assistance programs. If you are a member of a community organization that would like to have a presentation on public benefits for your members, please contact us.

We provide training to legal aid programs, private bar attorneys, government agencies, and community organizations on public assistance programs and its rules.


For assistance, call the local legal aid office that serves your area or call 1-866-534-5243 to be connected with your local legal aid office. As a statewide support organization for local legal aid programs and their staff, we do not generally handle individual cases except when asked to act as co-counsel with a legal aid attorney. On a case-by-case basis, however, VPLC may be available to provide direct legal representation in matters involving complicated or innovative legal issues.  If you just have questions that need to be answered about the various public assistance programs, then you can contact VPLC, but understand that this will not result in representation.

Public Benefits Law Resources