Federal Programs for Single Mothers

Find Federally-Funded Programs That Support Single Mothers & Their Children

When you need help, it can be difficult to find reputable, legitimate programs for single mothers. While they may seen scarce, they do—in fact—exist. Here are 5 federally funded programs for single mothers in need:

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Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

Single mom holding her baby
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Women, Infants, and Children is a supplemental nutrition program administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Eligibility for this federal program for single mothers is limited to low-income woman and/or their children. To qualify, moms must be pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding; children are eligible up to age 5.

Applicants must also meet income eligibility guidelines and be at-risk for poor nutrition.

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Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is known as the 'new welfare.' 

It is a federally funded grant program that allows states to create and administer their own assistance programs for families in need, including low-income single moms. A key distinction between TANF and the old 'welfare' system in that recipients must participate in work activities in order to receive benefits. These activities include:

  • Full or part-time employment
  • On-the-job training
  • Active job searching (qualification is limited to no more than 4 weeks in a row or 6 weeks total)
  • Work experience
  • Participation in a community service program
  • Vocational education training (limited to 12 months)
  • Providing childcare for another TANF recipient engaged in community service
  • Job skills training and/or education related to your employment
  • Secondary schooling or participation in a GED program
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Federal Housing Programs for Single Mothers

The federal government offers several housing programs to assist low-income single moms, including subsidized housing through HUD—the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—and Section 8 Housing Vouchers. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and meet qualification guidelines.

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Supplemental Assistance for Needy Persons (SNAP Benefits)

The program known as 'SNAP' stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This debit-card based benefit replaces what used to be known as food stamps. 

Participants enrolled in the program receive a SNAP EBT card, which can be used to shop at grocery stores that accept SNAP payments. More discreet than food stamps, SNAP allows single moms in need to purchase items such as bread, fruit and vegetables, meats/poultry/fish, dairy products, and cereals.

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The National School Lunch Program

The National School Lunch Program provides free and reduce-cost lunches and breakfasts to children in need. While applications are typically handed out to every child at the beginning of the school year, parents in need can apply at any point in the year.