Parenting on your own is both demanding and rewarding. Keeping up with job obligations, home chores, and children’s needs is not an easy burden to take. Above all, you need emotional and financial support to stay on the right track.
Whether you’ve just set off on the parenting journey or you’ve been raising your child solo for some time, difficult times strike. When you need an extra shot of help and support, it’s essential to know where to turn for need-based financial aid. Here are several sources of assistance for single moms, including government help.
Table of Contents
- 1 Turn To Family And Friends
- 2 Community Organizations
- 3 Government Assistance Programs
- 3.1 Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF)
- 3.2 Women Infants Children (WIC)
- 3.3 Dial 2-1-1 For Essential Community Services
- 3.4 Head Start Programs
- 3.5 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- 3.6 Child Nutrition Programs
- 3.7 The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
- 3.8 HUD Public Housing Assistance Program
- 3.9 Medicaid
- 3.10 Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- 3.11 Free Legal Aid And Federal Government Pro Bono Program
- 3.12 Pell Grants For College Scholarships
- 4 Child Support
- 5 Mortgage Assistance Programs For Single Moms
- 6 Local Food Banks
- 7 Bottom Line
- 8 FAQ
Turn To Family And Friends
When you need urgent help, don’t overlook the people around you. You’re not almighty and shouldn’t act as if you were. Before seeking financial aid from external sources, try your closest family members first.
Your parents or close friends will probably be glad to help you get through a temporary financial crisis. Don’t avoid asking for support if you must pay for some unexpected car or home repairs. You may even get family help to cut back on child care while you’re working.
Those co-parenting with an ex-spouse or partner shouldn’t neglect the assistance on their side. Remember that your ex can also step in and care for the kids while you work overtime. Of course, your friends and family want to see you succeed and will offer to help in any way they can.
Single mothers can seek temporary aid from local churches, religious and community organizations. If they cannot assist you, these institutions may refer you to relevant services in your area.
Moreover, you can reach out to non-profits specializing in single mothers’ aid, such as Single Moms Planet. These initiatives help with finances, family bonding, mentorship, counseling, and entrepreneurial training.
Be sure to reach out to any local resource for single mother you may come across. Often, you don’t have to be a member of a particular organization to receive their support.
Government Assistance Programs
When finances become tight, the right Aid Programs can lend single mothers a helping hand. These organizations specialize in assisting low-income single-parent families when they most need it. Below, we listed some of the most beneficial programs provided by the US Government.
Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF)
The TANF program offers grant funds to states and provides families with financial help and support services. State-administered programs for single mothers entail childcare, job preparation, and work support.
Before, the program went under the name of “welfare.” Today, it’s one of the most common sources of government support for single mothers. Note that the Government altered the eligibility rules and now urges beneficiaries to work only part-time. Those who can show that they’re looking for a job get considered, too.
To be eligible for the benefits, applicants must live in the state in which they apply. They must also be a US citizen, legal alien, or qualified alien. Plus, applicants should be jobless or underemployed with low income. Bear in mind the following requirements:
- To have an underage child (18 or below), or
- To be pregnant, or
- To be 18 years or younger and the head of your household.
Those turned down for TANF before should apply again.
Women Infants Children (WIC)
When compared to other single mom government benefits, WIC is a pretty generous one. This supplemental nutrition program targets pregnant women. Single mothers who are nursing or raising children under five are also eligible.
The WIC initiative gives grants for healthcare referrals, supplemental foods, and nutrition education. To qualify for single mother help, you must fall under the low-income bracket. Plus, you must be pregnant or breastfeeding. The same applies to low-income moms raising infants to the age of five.
If you meet the underlying qualifications, give the WIC initiative a try. This way, you will also find out if you meet the program’s criteria for further reference.
To get considered for WIC, get in touch with the nearest agency offering WIC services. Once you contact your state or local agency, they will arrange an appointment for you. The WIC agent will inform you of the nearest location you can turn to and what documents to bring along. For detailed information, call the hotline on 1-800-522-5006 or visit their website.
Dial 2-1-1 For Essential Community Services
Besides wide-known programs for single mothers, there may be some other local sources you haven’t come across. To get familiar with these, it’s best to call your state’s local 211 hotlines. Inform the operator of the kind of help you need and whether you’re getting any aid right now.
The 211 service aims to point single mothers to available programs in their local area. In short, the operator will match your needs with the resources you’re eligible for. You may even get advice on how to get your water bills covered. The organization also provides referrals for places you can turn to for basic human needs and work support.
Moreover, you can get children, youth, and family support referrals. These include child care, homeschooling and after-school programs for low-income families. Even better, you can get access to summer camps and recreation programs, mentoring, and protective services.
There are numerous government programs and organizations that help single mothers make ends meet. No worries. You’re not alone!
Head Start Programs
The Head Start program prepares infants and toddlers from low-income families for school. Support services are available in many settings, including centers and family child care. The initiative also engages parents and family members to form positive relationships.
The program supports children’s growth in a healthy learning environment free of charge. In short, all pregnant women, infants, and toddlers can join the Early Head Start programs. Such help is available until the child turns three and can enroll in another pre-K program.
Early Head Start also provides prenatal support and follow-up. The support can get provided in the child’s home through weekly visits. Other Early Head Start programs occur in centers with part or full daycare and education. Also, most children get provided transportation. Note that children with disabilities and special needs can also take part in the Head Start services.
Typically, low-income families with kids below five qualify for the program. Homeless and foster care children are also categorically eligible regardless of income. Moreover, pregnant women may get accepted for Early Head Start aid. As the program offers services to families eligible under other criteria, contact your local office for guidance.
If you want to apply for any of these programs, get in touch with your local program that supports Head Start. To find a Head Start Locator Tool, go to their website. Or, call the Service Center on 1-886-763-6481 for further details.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP targets low-income families and single moms and provides food for their household. The initiative helps feed thousands of Americans and ensures they receive proper nutrition. This way, eligible beneficiaries get protected from hardship and hunger.
Before, program participants received coded coupons. Now, the assistance for single moms comes as a debit card, known as Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT). Every month, the card gets loaded with benefits and can get used for grocery purchases in participating stores.
To ensure you are eligible for financial aid, check the SNAP Eligibility Information. Then, go through the pre-screening procedure. As for applying, each state has individualized its SNAP application process. In most states, you will fill out an application and return it to the local SNAP office.
Your eligibility for SNAP will depend on family income and the composition of the household. If you meet the income criteria, the program will factor in your household size and gross income. For instance, a four-member family with a net monthly income of $1,100 can get $448 for a whole month.
Child Nutrition Programs
The US Department of Agriculture offers various programs to provide healthy meals to children in need. These child nutrition programs ensure that every child receives nutritious meals and snacks. Meals get supplied in schools, childcare centers and homes, after-school and summer programs.
The most popular programs include the National School Lunch, the School Breakfast, and the Special Milk Program.
Moreover, the CACFP service targets eligible children and adults enrolled for care at participating child care, daycare, and adult daycare centers. The SFSP program assists communities with food and special discounts in low-income areas.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
The US Department of Agriculture administers the TEFAP program. Its main target is to supplement the diets of low-income Americans. This Federal program offers free food help for single mothers with a low income.
Single mothers can get food from a local TEFAP organization in two ways. First, food is available at places like food pantries, and users can take it home. Second, there’s the opportunity to eat with a group of people at specific locations. Whether you are eligible to take TEFAP foods home depends on your household income level.
Yet, this income level can vary since each state defines its TEFAP income threshold. In some states, and depending on your income, you may get approved for TEFAP even if you receive other benefits. Note that there’s no specific income level for meals from local organizations prepared and served in a group setting.
To apply, contact your State Distributing Agency for further guidelines. Also, ensure you know the income requirements before you submit your application. For details, visit the TEFAP homepage or send an email to USDAFoods@fns.usda.gov.
HUD Public Housing Assistance Program
Public housing offers safe and decent rental housing for eligible low-income families. Eligible beneficiaries get selected based on annual gross income, family circumstances, and citizenship. With over 3,300 local housing agencies, all States and territories get served by HUD Public Housing.
HAs impose income limits developed by HUD. The lower income limit stands at 80%, and the very low-income limits cap at 50% of the median income for the state. Income limits vary across areas, and you may be eligible at one HA but not at another. Your local HA can provide you with the income levels for your location and family size.
If you want to apply for public housing, get in touch with the local HA. To find out more about eligibility and application requirements, you can call the Service Center at 1-800-955-2232. Also, you may visit the official HUD website for more information on single mother support.
Medicaid offers medical help for low-income single moms with insufficient medical insurance. The good news is that many single moms qualify for Medicaid’s affordable or free health insurance. Such health insurance gets provided by the state where you live.
Single mothers who earn enough money to qualify for Medicaid may also register their kids. Even pregnant women get insurance through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Medicaid eligibility differs across states, and hence, each state administers the selection process. Try to contact your local state Medicaid Office to find out if you qualify for Medicaid. General information about the program is available on the Medicaid website.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
LIHEAP assists low-income single moms, families, and individuals who cannot pay their home energy bills. Meaning, those who meet the program’s criteria get help with heating and cooling energy bills.
Beneficiaries must need financial support for home energy costs to qualify for the LIHEAP benefit program. Individuals or family members who receive other benefit programs, such as SNAP or TANF, may be automatically eligible. To get approved, your annual household income before taxes must be below the set threshold amounts.
For more information about LIHEAP, call the National Energy Assistance Referral project. NEAR is a free service offering information on where to apply for LIHEAP. Any single mom needing help can call the toll-free phone number at 1-866-674-6327 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact your State’s LIHEAP office for application criteria or your local LIHEAP help desk.
Free Legal Aid And Federal Government Pro Bono Program
Single mothers looking for free legal aid have many options available all over the US. Legal offices get funded federally or privately, and often there are restrictions on the type of cases they accept. Though free legal support is a popular way to get valuable advice, the waiting list is long, and you have to qualify.
The system of free legal aid targets individuals who earn less than 125% of the federal poverty guidelines. Hence, if you believe you may qualify, visit your local office and speak to a professional. The sooner your name is on the list, the better your chances of getting free legal assistance.
Those rejected for free Legal Aid who can’t afford a lawyer should apply for the pro bono services. Although most lawyers work for a fee, some can take on cases on a pro bono basis. There is a website that lists lawyers who take on issues of single mothers.
The Federal Government Pro Bono Program offers low-income single parents help. It also assists families in need with mentoring services. To find out more details or apply for free support, check the Federal Government Pro Bono Program website. There, you can search for pro bono programs by geographical area.
Pell Grants For College Scholarships
Federal Pell Grants get awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial needs. Also, eligible applicants should not have a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree. Another upside is that of this source of free money, unlike student loans, you don’t have to repay Federal Pell Grants.
The financial aid quest starts by submitting a FAFSA form. The process can go through online and requires tax returns and other paperwork. Once the FAFSA form gets reviewed, expect to get feedback on your Expected Family Contribution.
This calculation is the amount your family can contribute to your education. Along with this, you might receive information on your eligibility for PELL Grants. Note that the highest Pell Grant award for the 2021-2022 award year caps at $6,495, but the figure changes each year.
Grant help for single mothers depends on the following criteria:
- The expected family contribution,
- Your inherent needs,
- Part-time or full-time studies,
- Institutional participation,
- The actual cost of attending the college you selected,
- Your plans to attend school for a full academic year or less,
- Any other financial aid you receive.
To get the money, your school can credit the Pell Grant funds to your school account. Or it can pay you directly or combine both methods. Schools must tell single moms in writing how and when they’ll get paid, plus the amount they’ll receive in grant funding.
Child support is recurring financial support given by a parent without full custody of a minor child. Child support covers expenses related to child care and daycare, plus health insurance and medical care. Parents should make payments until the child reaches the age of majority.
The amount of child support depends on the state laws and the following criteria:
- The respective income of each parent,
- The number of kids you have together,
- Other dependents,
- Who the custodial parent is.
Most of you may not immediately think of public child support as a source of single parents help. The reason behind this is that the payments are inconsistent and sometimes don’t arrive at all. Yet, there’s something crucial you should consider if you opt for public aid.
File for child support before the Government considers your other sources of single moms assistance. We highlight this because the Government wants your ex to contribute before the state takes the burden.
Child support, mortgage assistance programs, and financial aid are some of the sources of support for single moms.
Mortgage Assistance Programs For Single Moms
Due to the increased unemployment rates and frequent economic drops, people have started losing their homes. As a result, many programs aim to assist single mothers who cannot provide a home for the family. Any single mom needing help should consider programs that help with mortgage payments.
The Home Affordable Modification Program is a viable solution for single mother homeowners. The initiative can offer help before their home goes into foreclosure. A family with a hard time paying bills can have their mortgage rates reduced to 31% of their income through the process. Often, mortgages can lower up to $1,000. If you have questions or dilemmas about the program, call (888) 995-4673.
Principal Reduction Alternative can help you reduce the unpaid principal balance on a home by dividing it into separate accounts. There is an interest-bearing principal account along with a non-interest account. Over three years, if the homeowner can carry out the payments, the non-interest account becomes reduced to zero. Discover more details by calling (888) 995-4673.
The Second Lien Modification Program (2MP) is for individuals who switched to the HAMP mortgage modification. As a result, they now have a second mortgage on that property. As a result, a reduction in principal on the second mortgage takes place. For more information on resource for single mother, call (888) 955-4673.
Last, the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) allows people whose homes have lost value to have their mortgage reevaluated. The interest rate can get reduced through the process, and payments can go lower. On top of that, single moms can get approved for a shorter-term loan. You can find more details via your current mortgage lender or any HARP lender.
Local Food Banks
Your local food pantry network can be another source of help. Such networks go by the name ‘food banks.’ Food banks provide groceries like vegetables, pasta, rice, and some toiletries. Often, food banks only supply non-perishable goods, but other times, you can get milk and eggs, too.
During the holidays, single parents in need may get frozen turkeys or hams. Food pantries are well-connected resources and may point you toward other local sources of single mother help. Don’t refrain from asking for help even if people say you ‘earn too much’ to qualify for government aid.
The day you become a parent, every dollar starts to count more than ever. Penny-pitching is particularly important when you’re a single mom and have to support your family on a single income source. Luckily, there’s lots of financial help for single mothers if you know where to look. All programs and grants described above can help you save money on everything from food to child care.
Do you receive any of the benefits above? Perhaps you get help from a service not included on our list. Share your experiences with our appreciated readers. Then, register for our newsletter to find other valuable articles.
What benefits can I claim as a single mother?
Most single mothers may not be aware of the various support they can get. WIC and TANF are some of the most popular benefits administered by the Government. Then, single moms can rely on the Head Start and Child Nutrition programs. Finally, don’t underestimate the help from TEFAP and LIHEAP.
What resources are there for single mothers?
First, address local non-profit agencies established to help single mothers in tough times. You may also seek help from local food banks. Community churches and religious organizations should be your next stop. These institutions often provide food, clothes, and housing. Last, apply for federal grants and assistance for single moms.
How can I afford rent as a single mom?
Paying the rent every month is not easy for most single mothers. Hence, consider contacting federal agencies and nonprofits to get rental support. Those in need of emergency shelter and rental aid can turn to Catholic Charities USA or Salvation Army Housing. Their anti-homelessness resources also offer long-term, affordable housing.
How do you help a struggling single mom?
Single moms deserve all our support and understanding. If you have one such friend or family member, ask her directly if she needs some help. You can assist by offering to take care of the child while she’s at work. Invite her over for dinner and provide emotional comfort, too.