Financial Help for Single Moms (How to Get Assistance When You’re Broke)

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Financial Help for Single Moms Who Are Struggling

Being a single mom can mean that money is at the top of your “things to worry about” list.

Having been a single mom for many years now, I know what it feels like to stress over your budget and be behind on bills.

I’m grateful to be able to say now that my financial situation has improved. But if you’re still caught in the money struggle, you might be wondering what kind of financial assistance for single moms is out there to help.

The good news is, there are resources you can tap into when you’re having a hard time financially. So I’ve rounded up some of the best places to get financial help for single moms.

financial assistance for single moms

Housing and Rent Assistance for Single Moms

rent payment

Keeping a roof over your family’s head is probably your number one priority as a single mom. And not being able to pay the rent is a scary thing.

Luckily, you have options if you need rent assistance for single moms.

1. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

HUD offers rent assistance for single moms and families who need affordable housing. This government organization works with property owners to offer rentals at a reduced rate for low-income families.

Even though HUD is a federal agency, rent assistance programs and options are run at the state level. You can use this directory to see what’s available where you live.

2. Subsidized HUD Housing

One of the options for rent assistance through HUD is the subsidized housing program. This program allows single mothers to rent a place to live while paying a fractional of the regular rental rate. HUD pays the rest.

Qualifying for subsidized housing as a single mom means your income has to be within certain limits for your family size. HUD offers income table guidelines you can use to gauge whether you might be eligible.

3. Public Housing (aka Section 8)

Section 8 housing is a voucher program administered by HUD that allows single mothers and other needy individuals to get affordable housing.

Again, you have to be income-eligible to apply but if you’re seeking out financial assistance for single moms, that may not be an issue. If you’re interested in getting help with the rent, you can reach out to your state’s Public Housing Agency.

4. Family Unification Program

The Family Unification Program is a HUD program that provides housing vouchers to needy single moms in specific situations.

You may qualify if you lack adequate housing which results in:

  • The imminent placement of the family’s child or children in out-of-home care, or
  • The delay in the discharge of the child or children to the family from out-of-home care.

Learn more about the Family Unification Program here.

5. State-Sponsored Programs

In addition to programs through HUD, your state government may also offer rent assistance for single moms.

You can check with your state’s government website or housing agency to see what’s available. Your county department of social services may also be able to point you toward affordable housing options.

6. Salvation Army

The Salvation Army offers rent assistance to single moms and other individuals in emergencies.

If you’ve fallen behind on rent and are about to be evicted, for example, or you need to leave a domestic violence situation the Salvation Army can help with finding temporary housing. Aside from that, you can also get help with food and other bills.

Use the Salvation Army’s online locator tool to learn more about what’s available in your area.

7. CoAbode

CoAbode offers a different spin on financial assistance for single moms with its house-sharing program.

Here’s how it works.

You create a free profile and complete a questionnaire letting other single mom members know what you’re looking for in a roommate. From there, you can search for other single moms looking to share housing in your area.

CoAbode could be a great option if you need rent assistance and don’t mind living with another mama and her children.

8. Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities operates several programs to help people who are struggling, including a housing program that’s designed to prevent homelessness.

This nonprofit operates over 35,000 permanent housing units nationwide to help single moms and others who need temporary or long-term housing.

If you’re interested in connecting with Catholic Charities, you can use their online tool to find out what’s available in your state.

9. Local Charities and Nonprofits

Besides national organizations, you can also get financial help for single moms from local charities and nonprofits.

For example, we have a local nonprofit that helps domestic violence victims and other single moms with housing and clothes to wear to job interviews.

Churches can also be a source of financial assistance during hard times.

For example, a couple of years ago our church helped secure an apartment for a newly single mom and her two kids who were new to our congregation. They paid the first few months’ rent out the church fund to give her time to get on her feet and find a job after her marriage ended.

If you’re not sure where to look for financial assistance for single moms locally, you can try a search tool like Great Nonprofits.

Home-Buying Assistance for Single Moms

house and calculator

Buying a home as a single mom a few years ago felt like a huge accomplishment for me. And if you’re ready to trade renting for homeownership, there are mortgage programs that offer financial assistance for single moms.

10. FHA Mortgage Program

The Federal Housing Agency sponsors the FHA loan program which is aimed at moderate to low-income homebuyers with less than perfect credit.

This is the mortgage program I used to buy my first home as a single mom. The great thing about FHA loans is that you can qualify with a 580 credit score and a 3.5% down payment. Or if you can afford to put 10% down, you can get a loan with a credit score as low as 500.

FHA loans are government-backed so they can offer low interest rates, which is great for saving money on a mortgage.

11. USDA Mortgage Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers rural development loans to single moms and other qualified buyers living in approved rural areas.

USDA mortgages have higher minimum credit score requirements (640 or better) but you can buy a home with 0% down. That could be a huge upfront savings if you don’t have down payment cash on hand.

12. Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is a great homebuying option if you don’t mind investing a little sweat equity.

To qualify for a home, you have to need suitable housing, be able to put money down, have the capacity to make ongoing mortgage payments and be willing to partner with Habitat. That can mean helping to build your new home, attending financial management classes or learning the basics of home maintenance.

13. HUD Homes

Aside from offering rent assistance for single moms, HUD also maintains an inventory of homes you can buy.

The homes are foreclosures, meaning you may be purchasing a fixer-upper. But buying a HUD home could save you money since the program can help with closing costs and essential repairs.

You can use this tool to browse available properties online.

14. Down Payment Assistance Programs

Coming up with a down payment can be an obstacle to buying a home as a single mom. But that’s where down payment assistance programs can help.

Down payment assistance programs can be offered by state governments as well as nonprofits. Depending on the program, you may be able to get a grant to cover your down payment and closing costs, or the program might match what you save dollar for dollar.

This type of financial assistance for single moms varies from state to state. Here’s a listing of down payment assistance programs across the country.

Food Assistance for Single Moms

Feeding your family as a single mom is no small feat, considering how much growing kids can put away. If you need food assistance, these resources can help.

15. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Benefits (SNAP)

SNAP, also known as food stamps, can help you buy food for your family each month. Qualification depends on your family size and income but any benefits you receive can help with easing your monthly food budget.

This is a federal program that’s administered at the state level. You can apply online or drop off an application at your local social services department.

16. Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

WIC is another government program that offers financial help to single moms who have infants and children up to age 5.

With WIC, you can receive vouchers to buy certain food times. For example, when I had my daughter I used WIC vouchers to buy milk, baby formula and later on, baby cereal and fruits.

Again, your eligibility for WIC depends on your family size and income, as well as the age of your children. You can apply for WIC through your social services department.

17. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families doesn’t offer food benefits directly. But if you’re eligible, you can receive cash benefits that you can use to buy food.

TANF also funds programs at the state level designed to provide financial help to single moms. You can see what’s on tap in your state here.

18. Food Banks and Pantries

Food banks and food pantries are two other options you can turn to for food assistance as a single mom.

Having been to the food bank a time or two myself, there are a few things to know.

First, you’ll need to show proof of your financial situation to qualify for help. The good news is, some food banks don’t ask for pay stubs or tax forms; they’ll take you at your word.

Second, the number of visits you can make per month might be limited. So some food banks might allow you to come once a month while others only offer food once a month.

Third, for the most part, you’re going to be getting basic foods.

Think canned spaghetti sauce and noodles, peanut butter and dried beans. But if you can’t afford to buy even the cheapest foods, every little bit counts.

Daycare Assistance for Single Moms

kids at daycare

Daycare can easily eat a hole in your budget as a single mom. Qualifying for daycare assistance programs can make taking care of your kids so you can work much less stressful.

19. State Child Care Subsidies

Voucher programs run by the state offer financial help for single moms who are struggling to afford daycare.

Depending on the rules for your state, you may need to be attending school or working to be eligible and you may only be able to get vouchers for children under a certain age.

If you want to learn more about daycare assistance in your state, offers a helpful resource page.

20. Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start and Early Head Start are essentially like preschool for kids who aren’t yet old enough for kindergarten.

These programs operate similarly to regular school but they’re designed specifically for kids from low-income families. Kids get early learning help and programs can also offer other social services to families, like prenatal care if you’re pregnant.

You can learn more about Head Start and find your local program here.

21. Child Care Aware

Child Care Aware is an excellent resource for single moms who need financial help with daycare.

On the CCA website, you’ll find different options to get help paying for daycare depending on your situation.

For example, you can get information on child care providers that charge for services on a sliding scale and ones that offer sibling discounts if you have multiple kids. There are also calculators and budgeting tools to help you figure out what you can afford to pay for daycare.

22. State-funded Pre-K

State-funded pre-K programs can offer half- or full-day care for eligible kids who aren’t yet school age.

These programs are often free, though you might pay a fee if you need to drop your child off early or have them get afterschool care. You can learn more about state-funded pre-K through your local social services department.

23. Employer Childcare Benefits

If you work for a company that offers a benefits package, childcare assistance may be included.

For example, you might be able to get a discount by using a partner daycare provider or get reimbursement for childcare expenses. If you have a dependent Flexible Spending Account (FSA) through your work, you can also use that to set aside money for childcare on a tax-advantaged basis.

To learn more about what your employer offers for daycare assistance, get in touch with your human resources department.

Education Assistance for Single Moms

woman studying for college

Financial assistance for single moms is available to help you go back to school or get the training you need to advance your career. The key is making sure you’re looking into legit programs.

24. Scholarships for Single Moms

Scholarships can help you pay for school as a single mom and the best part is, they don’t need to be paid back. If you’re looking for single mom scholarships, here are some good options:

You can also use search tools like Career Onestop and Scholarship Search to scout out scholarships for single moms.

25. Grants for Single Mothers

Grants can also help you pay for school without requiring you to pay them back.

The Federal Pell Grant program is available to undergraduate students who have a demonstrated financial need. Federal Educational Supplement Opportunity Grants offer help to struggling single moms who are having a hard time covering basic expenses.

If you’re planning on pursuing a career in education, you may qualify for a TEACH Grant. The Health Resources and Services Administration offers grants to single moms and other individuals pursuing health care careers.

You can also look for grants for single mothers at the school you’re planning to attend, through state agencies and nonprofits.

26. Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If you already have a degree and you need relief from student loan debt, Public Service Loan Forgiveness is worth looking into.

PSLF is designed for student loan borrowers who are building a career in public service. You make payments on your loans for 10 years and anything left over can be forgiven.

Pro tip: If you’re considering PSLF, you may want to switch your loans to an income-driven repayment plan if you haven’t already. This can help you pay the least amount toward your loans while waiting for forgiveness.

Tax Breaks for Single Mothers

tax forms

Filing taxes can be a pain but there are plenty of tax credits and deductions that can help. Tax credits reduce what you owe, dollar for dollar, while deductions lower your taxable income for the year.

In plain speak what that means for you is a potentially smaller tax bill or a bigger refund check. If you’re looking for financial assistance for single moms at tax time, here are a few key tax breaks to know.

27. Head of Household Filing Status

Head of household filing status allows you to claim a bigger tax break than just filing single. To qualify, you need to:

  • Pay more than half of your household expenses for the year
  • Be considered unmarried for the year (FYI, you can be counted as unmarried if you’re legally separated)
  • Have one or more depending children

I claim head of household and it helps to cut down on what I owe to the IRS each year. TurboTax has a great guide to claiming head of household as a single mom.

28. Earned Income Tax Credit

Tax credits lower your tax liability, dollar for dollar. The Earned Income Tax Credit is available for low to moderate-income taxpayers, including single moms.

Filing status doesn’t matter unless you’re technically still married and filing separately. But you do need to have at least one qualifying depending and be within the income limits for your filing status to qualify.

29. Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit

The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit can help to offset some of the costs of paying for child care out of pocket.

You may be eligible for this credit if you’re paying care expenses for a child under age 13 or a disabled child who lived with you more than half the year and can be claimed as a dependent.

30. File Your Taxes with Free File

Since I’m self-employed, I use QuickBooks to file my taxes every year because it’s so easy to use.

But if you can’t afford tax filing software or paying someone to do your taxes, you can file them yourself using the IRS Free File tool.

You can complete your federal return and submit it electronically if your income is below certain limits. If your income is over the limit, you can download fillable forms and print them off to mail in.

Money-Saving Resources for Single Moms

Last but not least, here are some of my favorite money-saving resources for single moms:

Rakuten – Rakuten pays you cashback when you shop online or in-store. Sign up today and get $10 free when you make your first purchase!

Ibotta – Ibotta is another money-saving tool single moms should know about. You can use Ibotta to save money on groceries, plus get up to $20 in bonuses just for signing up!

Amazon Prime – Amazon Prime can save you money on shipping, plus you can ditch cable and stream your favorite shows instead. If you’re receiving government benefits, you can get Prime for half the regular price each month.

Swagbucks – Swagbucks is a great way to earn gift cards by doing the things you already do online, like taking surveys or watching videos. Sign up for Swagbucks and get a $5 bonus!

Survey Junkie – Survey Junkie is another one of my favorite survey sites for making extra money! Sign up now to start earning money with Survey Junkie from your phone!

Trim – Trim is a financial assistant that helps you save money. When you sign up for Trim, it automatically checks your spending to look for expenses you can cut, like bank fees and recurring subscriptions.

financial help for single moms

Do you have any recommended resources for financial assistance for single moms?

This list is designed to help you find the financial help you need when you need it. As a single mom, I know what it’s like to struggle so if you’re reading this, know that you’re not alone.

How to Get Financial Help for Single Moms

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