20 Best Government Help For Single Mothers With No Income

Searching for government help for single mothers with no income? Then you are on the right page.

Even though there are millions of single mothers in the United States, their lives can still be hard. Single mothers often have trouble with money, don’t finish school, and work long hours.

There are, on the other hand, a number of state and federal programs that help to single mothers with money and other things.

You can make your life as a single mother much easier and more manageable by looking into and applying for these programs.

Remember that being single or a mother is not enough. You must be a single mother whose gross family income meets the Federal Poverty Guidelines to be eligible. Read on to find some of the government help for single mothers with no income.

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Does Government Help Single Mothers Through Grants?

Yes, WIC and TANF are two of the most well-known grants. Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Grants help single mothers pay for food, medical care, and schooling for their children.

Also, through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the U.S. government gives grants to single mothers who are in need.

Single mothers can also get private grants from groups like the American Legion, the National Association of Letter Carriers, and the National Council of Jewish Women.

The List of Government Help for Single Mothers With no Income

We made a list of ways that the government can help single mothers who have no income.

We’ve broken down the requirements to get help from each of these reputable government programs and give you links to apply.

  • Cash assistance

  • Food assistance

  • Housing assistance

  • Child care assistance

Cash Assistance Programs

  • TANF
  • Guaranteed income (or universal basic income)


Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which used to be called “welfare,” is now called “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.” Today, people who want to take part in the program have to work part-time or show that they are looking for work.

2. Guaranteed Income (or Universal Basic Income)

Universal Basic Income, or UBI, is becoming more and more popular as a way to fight poverty and make society better as a whole.

Studies show that the main idea behind these programs is that by giving people a set amount of money every month, instead of expensive, complicated, and inefficient programs, recipients are more likely to get the services or resources they need, and money flows more freely in local economies and society as a whole benefit from a sense that we look out for each other.

“I am now sure that the simplest approach will turn out to be the most effective.

The best way to end poverty is to get rid of it directly through a measure that is now being talked about a lot: the guaranteed income.” —The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The people who could use this help the most are single moms. From the news site for women, The 19th:

About 56% of poor people in the United States are women, and most of those women are women of color.

Women like Nichols who are not married and have children are most likely to live below the federal poverty line. That’s $30,680 for her family of five.

Here is a list of pilot UBI programs:
  • Mayors for Guaranteed Income
  • Magnolia Mother’s Trust
  • Los Angeles Economic Assistance Pilot
  • Jain Family Institute
  • Oakland Resilient Families
1. Mayors for Guaranteed Income

36 mayors from cities like Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Compton and Stockton, Calif, Gainesville, Fla., Wausau, Wisc., and Jackson, Miss., got together to test UBI programs in one‘s cities.

The CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, gave $15 million to the group.

2. Magnolia Mother’s Trust

Magnolia Mother’s Trust is a pilot program that started in 2018 to help low-income Black mothers in Jackson, Mississippi who live in affordable housing.

It gives each of them $1,000 a month for a year. The program started with 20 mothers and now helps 100 mothers each year.

Each mother also gets $1,000 for her child’s 529 college savings account.

3. Los Angeles Economic Assistance Pilot

The city of Los Angeles is starting what it calls “the largest guaranteed income economic assistance pilot program in our country’s history.”

The city will give $1,000 a month for a year to 3,000 low-income families.

There are no rules about how the money can be spent.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused financial or medical problems for applicants, and they must also have at least one child who depends on them or be pregnant.

4. Jain Family Institute

Since 2016, the Jain Family Institute has been building a global network of fellows, advisors, and partners.

This network gives a unique look at the many ways that money transfer programs can be set up and run.

Their whitepapers talk about how payments are made, how they work with other benefits, and the best way to design a guaranteed income.

5. Oakland Resilient Families

The program in Oakland, California, will give low-income families of color $500 per month. It has raised $6.75 million from private donors.

Food Assistance Programs

Food Finder will help you find a food pantry near you. It will connect you with local churches, community programs, and charities in all 50 states that give away free food.

Through the Feeding America website, you can find a food bank near you.

Call 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE to reach the USDA’s National Hunger Hotline (1-877-842-6273).

From 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM Eastern time, Monday through Friday. During the pandemic, government food assistance programs like SNAP, food stamps, and WIC are made better.

1. WIC

Families with kids younger than 5 can get food coupons through the Women, Infants, and Children program. These coupons can be used at grocery stores, markets, and bodegas to buy certain kinds of food. Find out if you can get WIC and how to sign up for it.


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program gives low-income people a debit card with money on it that they can use to buy food at their local grocery store or market. Find out how to get SNAP and apply for it online.

During the pandemic, the Biden administration extended SNAP benefits until September 30, 2021. Many states have decided to keep giving these benefits until 2022.

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

3. School Breakfast and Lunch Programs 

This national program helps families get food by giving free breakfasts and lunches to students in their schools and daycare centers.

As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act, emergency aid for SNAP was increased by an extra $1 billion per month for 25 million people as of April 2021.

  • Keeping the 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits, which adds more than $1.1 billion in benefits each month, until September 2021;

  • Child and Adult Care Food Program emergency shelters to pay for meals for young adults who are homeless;

  • Giving nearly $900 million to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

    This includes a temporary increase in fruit and vegetable vouchers to $35 per month.

4. Special Milk Program

If your school doesn’t have a free breakfast or lunch program, they may be eligible for the special milk program.

5. Summer Food Service Program

Families that depend on school breakfasts and lunches can get healthy food during the summer through the federal Summer Food Service programs.

Housing Assistance Programs

Even if you have a good income, you may be eligible for programs for first-time homeowners or rental help.

This post about free housing and rental assistance has more information about housing help.

1. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income families and individuals pay their energy bills, get help in an energy emergency, make their homes more energy efficient, and fix energy-related problems in their homes. Learn about your state here.

Child Care Assistance Programs

  • Public Assistance Day Care Programs
  • Head Start Day Care
  • State Child Care Assistance Subsidies for Single Moms
  • TANF Grants for Single Mothers

1. Public Assistance Day Care Programs

Depending on your need, income, and the programs available in your area, Health and Human Services in each state can help you find grants and money for low-cost or free daycare.

Visit the Office of Childcare website to find out what you can do.

2. Head Start Day Care

Head Start and Early Head Start are well-known federal programs that have been shown to help low-income children under age 5 from low-income families get ready for school. The goals of the program are to help all kids get ready for school and give parents affordable child care.

3. State Child Care Assistance Subsidies for Single Moms

There are programs in every state that can help you find and pay for good daycare centers.

Government Assistance Helped This Professional Single Mom Get On Her Feet

I often find it hard to use this platform, where I mostly talk to educated, professional single moms like me.

As women gain power in business and earning, more and more single mothers are well-off and educated.

But the fact is that about half of kids who were mostly raised by a single mom live in poverty (a figure plummets for kids raised by single dads).

I don’t pretend that what I write here applies to all 10 million single moms in the U.S., or that the financial problems I face as an educated white woman are the same as those of someone who grew up in a poor family.

But I often hear from women who are about to become single mothers and are in real, scary financial trouble, even though they seem to have had everything going for them. This adds to their shame and fear about their situation.

A few years ago, I was talking to Jennifer L.W. Fink, a single mother of four boys in Wisconsin, via Facebook instant message. She broke up with her husband five years ago and got a divorce two years ago.

Fink worked part-time as a freelance writer and taught her kids at home after she and her husband broke up. She asked for help from the government.

EJ: When I started this blog, I started looking into how single moms make money.

It made me sad for a few days. You already know that the numbers are bad. When I found out I would be a single mom, I just didn’t pay attention to the obstacles in my way and went for it. So far so good.

On Wealthy Single Mommy, that’s what I want to say.

Government Grants for Single Mother

  • HUD Grants for Single Mothers
  • NIH Grants for Single Mothers
  • WIA Grants for Single Mothers
  • WIC Grant

People and groups can get grants from the government for many different reasons.

Since many grants are paid for with US tax money, the government and government agencies are very careful about who gets what and how much.

The federal government’s Small Business Administration gives grants to organizations that help people or teach.

They don’t give them to small businesses because of this. But programs from the state and local governments can help small businesses in their area.

1. HUD Grants for Single Mothers

The U.S. government sometimes gives a block grant to a city or town. In 1974, the HUD started the CDBG program to help people with their needs for growth. However, there is a demand for initiatives such as these.

Eligibility Requirements

Everyone who wants to apply must have a low or moderate income for their area. Section 8 says that people with low to moderate incomes up to the limit for low incomes set by HUD.

People who get the grant must spend at least 70% of it on things that help people with low and moderate incomes.

Grant Amount

No set amount is given out. HUD looks at the needs of the community to decide how much each grant will be.

The requirements are based on the number of poor people, the number of people living in overcrowded homes, the age of the homes, the growth of the population, and how this area compares to other cities.

2. NIH Grants for Single Mothers

The NIH gives grants to help fund projects that improve health and lengthen people’s lives. People who want to do research have to pay a lot of the fees. Still, they pay for training, fellowships, conferences, and building projects.

Eligibility Requirements

Only very scientific projects that are important to public health are considered by the NIH. These projects fall under the NIH Institute and Center (IC). Whether or not you can get a grant depends on the program for which you are applying.

Still, most of them will take proposals from scientists, pre-doctoral students, and investigators. In order to sign up for many of the plans, you don’t have to be a U.S. citizen.

So, if you’re not an American, make sure the one you want to apply to lets people from other countries apply.

Grant Amount

The funds for each program are different, and they change every year. The NIH gets a budget from Congress every year. Working with scientists to figure out how much good research they can do in the next year led to this budget.

So, this information helps figure out how much it will cost. Then, they send the request to the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States for approval.

3. WIA Grants for Single Mothers

The Workforce Investment Act was put into place by the federal government (WIA). The goal of this act is to help develop the workforce at the state and local levels.

WIA’s programs help people get ready for jobs and find them by giving them classes, training, and tools for looking for work.

Eligibility Requirements

All people who want to use WIA’s services must be at least 18 years old. Unemployment benefits are for people who lost their jobs and won’t be able to go back to the same industry. They are also for people who were self-employed and lost their jobs.

Grant Amount

This grant goes to job centers all over the United States. How much each job center gets is based on what each community needs. So, the more people are looking for work, the more money they get to help them.

4. TANF Grants for Single Mothers

TANF helps families who are having trouble making ends meet become self-sufficient.

Each state gets a government block grant that it uses to help families who meet the requirements by giving them money and services.

Families can get help from TANF in the form of job training, counseling, education, and money for emergencies.

Eligibility Requirements

The requirements for each state are different. All states require applicants to have children who depend on them or to be in their last three months of pregnancy.

All applicants must also be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens who live in the state where they apply.

Grant Amount

Grant amounts vary from state to state as well.

The number of people who get TANF benefits depends on how much money the state has. This is why some people in the same US state get different benefits.

In 2011, the average amount of TANF help given each month was $694. But it was only $428 in D.C. Since benefits are based on financial need, there are also differences between people.

5. WIC Grant

WIC stands for Women, Infants, and Children Special Supplemental Nutrition Program.

In short, this federal program gives money to states so they can help women who are pregnant or have children.

In short, the goals are for them to buy healthy foods, find affordable health care, and go to classes about nutrition and breastfeeding.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) gives money from the federal government to the states so that they can buy extra food, refer people to health care, and teach people about nutrition.

They are for women with low incomes who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or not breastfeeding after giving birth, as well as infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk.

Eligibility Requirements

So, WIC can only help women and their children. Also, they must either have a child under 5 years old or be pregnant and at risk of not getting enough nutrients.

Their income must also be at or below 185 percent of the poverty line.

Women can get help during pregnancy and for the first six weeks after giving birth.

Six months after giving birth, women can also ask for help for their children.

Women who are breastfeeding can also get help until their child turns one.

Up until their first birthday, babies can get help. Also, kids can get it until they are five years old.

But in order to apply for financial help, everyone must live in a US state. There is no minimum amount of time you have to live in a state for before you can claim it as your own.

In short, all applicants must see a nurse, doctor, or nutritionist as part of the screening process to figure out their nutritional risk.

Grant Amount

So, there is no set amount of money given as a grant. Each year, each state gets a different grant amount based on what its community needs.

So, each person gets benefits based on how much money they need and how much nutritional risk they and their children face.

Apply for Single Moms Grants

To apply for grants, all you have to do is make sure you meet the requirements.

So, don’t fill out an application if you don’t meet every single eligibility requirement. In the same way, people who give out grants want to give money to certain people and rarely break the rules.

If you meet all of the requirements for eligibility, you can fill out the application and send them all of the information they ask for.

Also, you will probably need to write a letter asking for a grant. Once you’ve sent the grant package to be looked at, all you have to do is wait and send out more applications.

Rental Assistance for Single Mothers

  • HUD housing for low-income single moms
  • Housing Choice Voucher program, also known as Section 8 vouchers
  • Emergency Solutions Grants
  • Co-housing

1. HUD housing for low-income single moms

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) works with landlords to help low-income families, such as single moms, disabled people, and senior citizens, get rent that is affordable.

Find out how to get a HUD apartment and look for one on the website for the program.

HUD also runs a number of state-run housing programs all over the country. Find out about these state programs that help low-income moms get a place to live.

2. Housing Choice Voucher program, also known as Section 8 vouchers

HUD Section 8 vouchers are coupons that low-income renters get directly from HUD.

These coupons can be used to pay part of their rent to participate landlords.

3. Emergency Solutions Grants

The Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program has resources to help you find emergency housing, prevent homelessness, or leap to a safe place if you suddenly lose your home or are in a housing crisis.

Federal ESG funds are given to grantees like state and local governments, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, public house authorities, and Tribal entities.

Grantees help people in their area with current or back rent, security deposits, and utility payments. They also represent tenants in court when they have problems with their landlords.

Call your local HUD field office to get in touch with your local ESG grantee if you need fast help to find a home or stay in the one you have.

4. Co-housing

More and more single moms are finding that living with other single moms who have the same goals is a good way to give their kids better living conditions and more opportunities.

CoAbode is a national group that brings together single mothers who want to share a home. Participants pool their resources to make a safe, affordable, and supportive place for children to grow up.

When moms who use CoAbode combine their incomes, they are often able to move to neighborhoods with more resources, better schools, and new opportunities.

Sign up for free with CoAbode to take part. By answering the personal profile questions, you can search for single moms like you and be found by them. Sign up for a free CoAbode account to get started.

5. Search “United Way near me”

United Way is a non-profit group that helps families and individuals get the help they need, especially when times are tough. The United Way office near you can help you find: 

  • Rental assistance programs
  • Advice for homeowners and renters
  • Help with landlord problems from the law
  • Rent money in a pinch
  • Programs to make housing affordable

There are about 1,800 United Way locations in more than 40 counties. Some places are in more than one county or district.

Are there other government help for single mothers with no income you think should be on our list? Please share with our readers in the comment section.

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