Government Benefits for Single Mothers

Death, divorce and other circumstances can turn a two-parent family into a one-parent family. Single mothers must keep their children safe and healthy, and that can be a large financial burden on one person. The government provides financial assistance and benefits to help single mothers with these expenses. Explore your eligibility and apply for government benefits for single mothers at your local Department of Human Services office.


TANF stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. States administer this federal program, which gives cash assistance to families who struggle financially, including single mothers and their children. In some states, it's called the Reach Up program. TANF helps pay for basic necessities such as hygiene products, food, and clothes. While a single mother is receiving benefits, she is usually expected to work or train for a specific job at least 30 hours a week. She must also make sure her child or children attend school normally, and work with her local courts to iron out any child support issues.


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the successor to the food stamp program, helps single mothers who struggle to afford food. Enrolled families receive a debit card that can only be used for food items. The government puts a set amount on the card at the first of each month. Sometimes food stamps are grouped in with the TANF program.

Health Insurance

Government-funded health insurance is another benefit single mothers can take advantage of. Each state offers some version of the federal Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These insurance programs cater to families who are unable to afford insurance on their own, and cannot pay out-of-pocket for needed medical care or prescriptions. Normally, these insurance programs cover every medical need, along with dental and vision.


WIC stands for Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children 3. This government program can assist single mothers who find themselves financially strapped 1. This program delivers milk, juice, bread, beans, rice, cheese, cereal, and baby food right to the door, so it's a very convenient program for single mothers.

Free or Reduced Meals

The National School Lunch Program allows qualified children to receive their meals at school free of charge, or at a discounted price 2. Single mothers whose income falls below a certain level based on the size of the household may apply for this benefit, which provides nutritious meals for children.

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