Financial Help for Single Moms: Financial Assistance Programs and Borrowing Options Available

Financial Help for Single Moms: Financial Assistance Programs and Borrowing Options Available

Being a mom is not only a blessing but also hard work. More than that, when you have a child, every dollar counts. It’s great if you have a shoulder to lean on and hands that won’t let you fall down. But unfortunately, many moms are forced to raise their children alone. The latest study shows that there are 8,657,000 single-mother households in the US, which is 80% of all single parents.

Luckily, you can find many financial assistance programs designed specifically for single moms. To make things easier for needy families, we’ve prepared a cheat sheet on ways to get financial help for single moms. We’ve grouped the available options into different expense categories and created an ultimate guide for mother-only households in need of additional financial support.

Grants for Single Mothers

Grants are types of non-refundable financial assistance offered by the federal government. Low-income families that are headed by single mothers can count on the following government programs:

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers this type of financial assistance. TANF provides low-income families with kids with a variety of services, including monthly cash payments and work assistance. The amount you can qualify for will be determined based on your state of residence. TANF applications are collected by local Community Services Offices. But keep in mind that there are specific eligibility requirements that you must meet to qualify. Check them out before planning your visit.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)

The WIC program is one of the government programs that was launched by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). It provides food assistance for pregnant women and those with children under the age of 5, provided that they meet certain income guidelines. Your monthly income can’t be higher than $2,248.

Under the WIC program, women and their children can supplement their diets with specific nutrients they need to stay healthy. WIC food benefits include infant cereal, baby foods, milk, eggs, whole-wheat bread, canned fish, beans, peanut butter, fruit, and vegetables. The program also provides nutrition education. To become a participant, you need to contact your state WIC agency.

Housing Assistance

Paying rent or utility bills may be overwhelming for low-income single moms. If you face such difficulty, consider the following federal programs:

HUD Public Housing for Single Mothers

The HUD Public Housing program is a form of financial aid offered by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. It provides rental assistance for single parents. Under the HUD program, you can rent government-owned properties at pretty affordable rates. Your eligibility will be determined based on your income, family size, and state. Contact your local housing agency to learn more about how it works.

Section 8 Housing Program

This program is also called Housing Choice Vouchers. With its help, eligible moms can get coverage of a portion of their housing rent costs. Although this program is also funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, it differs from the HUD Public Housing program. The main difference is that Section 8’s properties are owned and managed by private landlords, not the government.

Families are responsible for finding a suitable house. There are no strict limits, so you can choose any that meets the program’s safety, sanitary, and affordability requirements. Then, a certain subsidy will be transferred directly to a landlord. The household will then pay the remaining sum out of pocket.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

If you find it challenging to pay bills associated with cooling and heating, this program can provide you with assistance. Additionally, you can get help with making your house energy-saving within the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). This way, it will stay cold in the summer and warm in the winter. To apply for the programs, contact your local LIHEAP or WAP offices.

Scholarships for Single Mothers

Single mothers may find it difficult to get a degree while raising a child or two. They have to spend most of their time and money on little ones and sacrifice their higher education. But getting a degree is often crucial for reaching a better financial future. Therefore, there are multiple programs that can help single moms cover a portion of their education-related costs:

The most popular scholarships include:

  • Raise the Nation;
  • Pell Grants;
  • PEO Program for Continuing Education;
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant;
  • American Association of University Women Career Development Grant;
  • National League of American Pen Women’s Shirley Holden Helberg Grant for the Mature Women.

Child Care Single Mother Programs

Low-income single mothers who need help with child care while they are at work or attend school can access a Child Care Assistance Program. This program provides coverage of the portion of child care costs while you will be asked to pay only a certain percentage. The exact coverage depends on your annual gross income and family size.

Also, there’s a program that provides educational assistance to low-income children from birth to the age of 5. This free program is called Early Head Start. Its purpose is to prepare children for school and promote family relationships and well-being.

Food Assistance

Both moms and children must get nutritious food to stay healthy. But what if a single mom can’t afford to pay off sky-high grocery bills? Luckily, there are several programs to help you bring some healthy food to the table:

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP is a USDA assistance program that helps low-income households get food stamps to pay for food. You will get an electronic card and use its balance to buy groceries in participating stores. There are many grocery stores that accept these cards across the US, so you can easily find the one that is convenient to visit. To be eligible, your family needs to make up to 130% of the poverty level. To apply, contact the nearest Department of Social Services.

TEFAP Grants for Single Moms

The Emergency Food Assistance Program offers free food assistance to low-income households, seniors, and single moms. To access the program, you need to qualify financially. Your eligibility is based on the federal poverty guidelines. To apply for TEFAP, follow the link, find your state, and check out the contact info.

National School Lunch Program

This program provides low-income children with lunches and breakfasts during school times. Additionally, low-income parents can access a Summer Food Service Program that will let a child continue getting nutritious meals even during the summer months. Depending on your household income, your child can get two free meals or a discount voucher on a daily basis.

Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP)

Those who are eligible for WIC can also access FMNP. Within the program, you can get vouchers that will be accepted on FMNP-authorized farmer’s markets. This will help you purchase fresh produce directly from local farmers without breaking the bank.

Health Insurance Programs

Need some additional medical assistance? Consider the programs below designed to help single mothers cover medical expenses:


Medicaid is a program that allows low-income mothers and their children to get low-cost or free medical insurance. This way, you will be able to get coverage for medical treatment, prenatal and childbirth costs (for pregnant women), drug prescriptions, inpatient hospital services, laboratory and x-ray services, and more.

To be eligible, you need to confirm your financial need. Maximum income requirements depend on your state. The highest limit for a single adult person in 2023 is $14,580 per year. Check out your eligibility on the Medicaid website.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Those whose annual income exceeds the maximum state limit for Medicaid can qualify for CHIP. This program is designed for children only, while Medicaid provides coverage for adults too. Although CHIP has more limited coverage options, it can still be a great support for children who can’t be insured through family plans.

Tax Benefits for Single Moms

Being a single parent comes with several tax benefits that can help you save money. Below are available options that you can access as a single mother with a “Head of the Household” filing status:

  • Child Tax Credit. This benefit is available to taxpayers with dependent children under the age of 17. If you and your child meet specific criteria, and your income doesn’t exceed the maximum requirement ($200,000 annually), the CTC is worth $2,000 per qualifying dependent child;
  • Earned Income Tax Credit. This tax break allows single mothers to get tax refunds when their Earned Income Tax Credit exceeds the amount of taxes owed. The current EITC is worth up to $6,935. If your tax liability falls under this sum, you can get a refund check on the remaining amount. If the sum you owe is higher, EITC will reduce it;
  • Child and Dependent Care Credit. If you pay a nanny, a local day center, or anyone else to look after your child while you are at work or looking for one, you may qualify for Child and Dependent Care Credit. In this case, you will be reimbursed for a portion of your childcare costs, typically up to $3,000 annually per qualified child or up to $6,000 per family. If you’re a Head of Household, this tax benefit can cut your taxes up to 50%.

Other Options for Financial
Assistance for Single Mothers

If you need emergency cash for unexpected expenses that can be covered by the programs or federal grants mentioned above, here are a few alternative options to consider. These emergency financial assistance programs will also help you get back on track quickly if you don’t have enough time to go through time-consuming application processes:

Loans for Single Moms

Getting a loan is one of the most common ways to finance a major purchase or overcome financial hardship. Loans for single moms are considered regular personal loans but with more relaxed eligibility criteria. This means that they can be obtained by low-income single parents, even if they have bad credit.

There are several types of loans available to low-income individuals who are raising their children alone:

  • Secured personal loans. These loans allow you to borrow money against some of your valuable property. They can help you access relatively high loan amounts at reasonable interest rates. However, they come with the risk of losing your collateral;
  • Credit card cash advances. Have a valid credit card? Use an ATM or visit an issuer branch to withdraw the needed amount from its balance. This way, you will borrow money against your credit limit. Try to turn it back as soon as possible, as an interest rate is often high and accrues at the moment of withdrawal;
  • Credit union loans. If you’re a credit union member, you can typically access a loan at more favorable terms compared to other conventional options. This is because credit unions are member-owned and nonprofit organizations. They also consider low-income single mothers and borrowers with less-than-perfect credit;
  • Payday loans. If you need a small amount to cover your temporary financial difficulties till the next regular fund receipt, getting a payday loan can be a tempting option. Such loans allow you to access up to $500 or $1,000, depending on the state. The repayment must be made in 2 to 4 weeks. Payday loans are available with any credit. More than that, you can get one even if you’re unemployed, provided that you receive other regular income. However, you need to thoroughly assess your ability to repay the funds taking into account high interest rates and short loan terms.

Debt Relief Programs for Single Moms

If you experience difficulties with repaying your current debt, contact your lender or credit card company and ask for debt relief programs available. Lenders are often willing to offer single mothers various payment plans that help reduce the amount of monthly payments or provide a temporary pause in payments. Some forms of debt, such as federal student loans, are also subject to forgiveness programs.

More Ways to Get Financial Support

Here are a few more options to consider if you’re looking for a way to overcome the financial crisis:

Unemployment Benefits

If you unexpectedly lose your job, you can get unemployment compensation. The sum is typically $300 per week but can vary depending on the state.

Disability Benefits

Single mothers can apply for disability compensation through Social Security if they become temporarily or permanently disabled due to a disease or accident. If your medical condition prevents you from working for at least a year, you may be eligible.

Charity Assistance

Charitable organizations are always ready to help single parents. Contact your neighborhood church or charity if you’re in need of free food, clothing, or a roof over your head.

Food Banks

Food banks are hunger-relief foundations. They help needy people get free food that was donated by grocery stores and restaurants. These nonprofit organizations distribute food through shelters, food pantries, and soup kitchens. You can find the nearest food bank or pantry on the Feeding America website.

Bottom Line

Even if you have to raise a child without a spouse, remember that you’re never alone. There are various organizations and government agencies that can help you go through rough times. Knowing your options will help you avoid stress if you suddenly face the need. We hope this guide will help you find the program that meets your current needs.

About the Author:

Financial Help for Single Moms: Financial Assistance Programs and Borrowing Options Available

Kerry Vetter is the financial writer and expert of 1F Cash Advance with solid expertise and a strong focus on goal-based wealth management. Her passion for helping people and extensive knowledge of lending and financial sectors makes her a credible authority that you can trust. Kerry has a Master of Science Degree in Finance and is dedicated to giving people useful and practical advice on how to reduce debt, manage money, improve credit scores, and increase wealth.

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