Single fathers often need more financial help than their female counterparts because men typically must fund alimony and child support in addition to their everyday living expenses.
Unfortunately, some non-government organizations are more sympathetic to the plight of women facing similar circumstances. But men can still find dedicated resources or programs that ignore gender.
Fortunately, government programs do not consider gender when determining eligibility and have the most money to hand out. The primary qualifying criterion is your household position relative to the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
Find a potpourri of government resources to help single dads deal with the financial stress of funding two households.
Government Assistance Single Fathers
The secret to finding government financial assistance for single fathers is investigating the many programs for low-income families instead. Various programs set eligibility around the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and do not consider gender.
- Government Grants
- Government Benefits
Government grant money does not flow directly to single fathers or any individual. Instead, federal agencies send the funding to universities, state departments, and non-profit organizations.
Emergency grants for single parents from the government go together like a fish and a bicycle. Public agencies are notoriously slow and inefficient.
Getting emergency cash from private lenders is a more realistic approach. Complete a loan request, and if approved, the finance company can deposit money into your bank account within days.
Dads with the best borrowing credentials are most likely to be approved: good credit score, sufficient income, and solid work history with verification.
Free Grant Money
Free grant money for bills and personal use is not realistic when defined in this manner. However, single dads often qualify for government help with typical household and education expenses when they meet the low-income criteria for specific programs.
- Free Down Payment Assistance
- Free IRS Money
- Earned Income Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- American Opportunity Tax Credit
- Premium Tax Credit
- Free Department of Education Money
- Pell Grants
- Work-Study Programs
- Individual Development Accounts
Free government hardship grants do not exist because no federal or state agency sends money directly to individuals. However, single dads facing a financial crisis can often obtain assistance from another set of programs.
- Debt relief
- Unsecured loans
- Student loans
- Mortgage loans
- Income Support
- Unemployment benefits
- Disability benefits
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Government transportation grants do not go directly to individuals needing to drive to work, school, grocery shopping, medical appointments, or to pick up the kids for a weekend stay with dad. However, single fathers can find help with car, bus, and train rides through other programs.
- Commuting to Work
- Section 132
- Medical Appointments
- IRS Deductions
Single fathers can take advantage of government benefits when they meet the low-income criteria for the various programs, as gender and marital status are irrelevant. Two critical components of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) determine eligibility.
- Income: includes alimony paid for divorces finalized after 2018 and excludes maintenance paid by fathers with earlier divorce decrees.
- Household size: includes all children listed on your tax return as eligible dependents, not whether dad is the custodial parent.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provides many single fathers with the medical benefits needed to stay healthy to provide for their children. Eligibility for three programs hinges on their FPL percentage.
- Children’s Health Insurance Program
- Subsidies for private health insurance
Apply for health insurance premium support via healthcare.gov. All single dads can begin coverage in January, while others can immediately start if they have a qualifying life event or meet the Medicaid criteria in their state.
Many state governments offer dental benefits to single fathers to keep their teeth and gums healthy enough to kiss their children goodnight on weekends. Eligibility hinges on their percentage of PFL and their region’s oral care rules.
Dental services for adults covered by Medicaid vary by state, as do the income-based eligibility criteria. However, single dads who qualify can get help with oral care for their children nationwide.
Home Improvement Benefits
The Department of Energy funds the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which can help single fathers with various home upgrades. They must meet the FPL percentage criteria, and the improvements must reduce energy usage.
Free WAP home improvements might include the following.
- Replacement HVAC equipment
- Energy-efficient windows and doors
- Roof repairs and replacements
- Home appliances (refrigerator, washer, dryer)
The Department of Health and Human Services runs the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP seeks to lower home heating and cooling costs through bill payment help and energy-saving home repairs.
To qualify for LIHEAP, your annual income before taxes must be below specific limits based on the number of dependent children.
Find a local LIHEAP provider by starting at this DHHS webpage.
Two federal departments offer childcare programs that might help single fathers lower costs daycare costs while they work to support two households simultaneously.
- The Administration for Children and Families
- Childcare Subsidies or Vouchers
- Early Head Start
- State-funded Prekindergarten
- Military fee assistance
- The Internal Revenue Service
- Childcare Tax Credit
- Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account
The Department of Housing and Urban Development runs several initiatives that might help single fathers find an affordable place to live for themselves and their children – even if they stay over once every other weekend.
Housing assistance for single parents bases eligibility on familiar criteria, the household percentage of FPL. The programs do not consider gender or marital status. You might qualify for help with emergency shelter, transitional lodging, or a rental apartment.
Organizations That Help Single Fathers
Many non-government organizations and resources provide financial assistance to single fathers. However, the benefits are less robust when non-profit entities rely on donor generosity rather than the power to tax neighbors or print money.
Private for-profit lending organizations offer single fathers the financial resources to deal with inevitable cash shortages. Of course, you will have to repay the money with interest, but the emergency funding could help avoid costly late fees and other negative consequences.
Loans for single parents with bad credit require a specific strategy: volume. Single dads with just one income source often have poor borrowing records due to the burden of alimony and child support payments. A vast online network of subprime lenders makes it easier to find a willing partner that ignores gender.
Non-profit charitable organizations might help single fathers deal with many challenging issues, but expect competition. People tend to have more sympathy for women struggling to raise a family alone than the men in similar circumstances.
Charities offering free home repair for low-income families might prioritize resources to single mothers over dads. Call it reverse discrimination, but you cannot avoid its effect. People naturally respond more positively to vulnerable women while expecting men to fend for themselves.
Therefore, prepare your story before contacting a charitable organization to ask for help. Widowers and other men raising children with full custody have the most compelling cases.
Other organizations dedicate resources to helping single fathers address the many legal issues they might face, including child custody cases, false accusations of domestic violence, parental alienation, workplace discrimination, and more.