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Where to Find Government Help for Single Mothers With No Income

Where to Find Government Help for Single Mothers With No Income

Have you found yourself wondering where to find government help for single mothers with no income? Being a single parent can be difficult, especially when it comes to finances, but Low Income Relief has compiled a list of government help for single mothers with no income. Read on for information about cash assistance, help with food, help with housing, and more. 


Cash Assistance: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

One of the most well known sources of government help for single mothers with no income is TANF, otherwise known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. In most states, TANF recipients receive cash benefits on an EBT card, which operates like a debit card. 

The amount of money families can receive through TANF varies widely by state. Some states’ maximum monthly payment is less than $300, while other states offer as much as $1,000/month. The only way to find out how much your family is eligible for is to apply. 

TANF is funded by grants from the federal government, and while there are basic eligibility requirements set by the federal government, the exact requirements vary by state. 

TANF is generally intended for:

  • Parents with children under the age of 18
  • Pregnant women
  • Children 18 and under who serve as heads of household

In every state, it is required for TANF recipients to be engaged in “work activities” for a certain number of hours per week, but that does not mean you need to earn an income. Activities like vocational training, job search and job readiness assistance, and community service usually count as well.

TANF recipients can continue to collect their benefit for up to two consecutive years. Families can spend up to five years on TANF, total, throughout their lifetime.

To apply for TANF, you must contact the TANF office in your state. A full listing of contact information for each U.S. state can be found on the Department of Health and Human Services website

Check out Low Income Relief’s Guide to TANF for more information. 

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Food Assistance: SNAP & WIC

Other sources of government help for single mothers with no income include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. 

SNAP provides a monthly payment on an EBT card, which can be used to purchase certain nutritious foods for all members of the household. The SNAP benefit amount that a family receives each month is dependent on their income and the number of people living in the household. As an example, the estimated average monthly SNAP benefit for a family of three is $586. 

Eligibility requirements vary somewhat depending on what state you live in, but generally, if the income you report to the IRS is less than 130% of the poverty line for your household size, you would be eligible for at least partial assistance. 


SNAP is administered on the state level, meaning that in order to find out if you qualify and apply, you will need to contact your state’s SNAP office. Each state’s contact information is available through this interactive map

WIC is specifically for pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to the age of 5 who have a low income. 

Like SNAP, you must apply for this program at the state level. Contact information for food programs in each state are available through this interactive map. Low Income Relief’s comprehensive guide to WIC is available here.  

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Housing Assistance: Section 8 and Public Housing

Government help for single mothers with no income also extends to housing assistance, including Section 8 and public housing. 

Section 8 allows recipients to rent, and sometimes buy, housing in the private market, as long as the rental unit meets the minimum health and safety standards set by the local Public Housing Agency (PHA). Not all houses and apartments are available to rent under Section 8, as landlords must agree to rent under the program. 

When an individual or family receives Section 8, they typically do not pay more than 40% of their income for rent, and the remainder is paid directly to the landlord by the local PHA. 


U.S. citizens and permanent residents with a low or no income are eligible to apply for Section 8. If you make 50% or less than the median income for your family size, in your area, you may be eligible for Section 8.

Those who are interested in applying for Section 8 should do so through their local PHA.

Public housing is also available to families with low or no income. This housing is made available by grants from the federal government to local Public Housing Agencies. As with Section 8, applications can be submitted to the local PHA.

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Other Assistance for Single Mothers

This is not an exhaustive list of government help for single mothers with no income. Low Income Relief has a wealth of resources on a wide variety of helpful topics, including:

How to Get Medicaid

How to Get Legal Help

How to Get Help with Transportation

…And more!

There are also many programs that are not funded through the government that can help single moms. One of the best ways to find programs for single mothers near you is by calling 211, or visiting the United Way website.

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