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A variety of financial assistance resources can help single-parent families stay afloat.

Managing a budget is never easy when you have only one income earner. Combine this with the sole responsibility to feed, clothe, shelter, and educate one or more children.

This combination causes many single mothers and fathers to experience an occasional monetary crisis.

Private programs and government grants can lend a hand – and attract the dishonest seeking to take advantage of the vulnerable – be careful.

Emergency Financial Help for Single Parents

Single parents often require emergency financial help when dealing with a crisis such as surprise expenses or job loss. Having only one source of income makes it more difficult to maintain adequate savings.

Find three resources offering emergency aid with extra cash, lost income or health insurance during unemployment, and urgent housing needs.

Emergency Cash

Request a loan for emergency cash here. (Affiliate Link) Single mothers and fathers with an ongoing income stream can get quick access to a network of specialty lenders by completing the online form. A broad network of non-prime lenders improves your odds of approval.

Input your bank account number and routing number to enable the company to deposit funds directly into your account. No waiting for a paper check to arrive in the mail. If approved, you could have access to your money in time to deal with your crisis.

Single-parent borrowers should be mindful of the repayment phase. It is easy to fall behind with only one income supporting the household. Short-term cash advances have modest fees. However, the balances can grow quickly if you roll them over often enough.


Contact your state Department of Human Services for emergency rental housing assistance. Each state agency may prioritize low-income single mothers who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. They will also make an extra effort to help parents who lost a home because of fire, flood, or other natural disasters.

Apply for these housing benefits at your local county office.

No Income

Several government resources may offer emergency financial help to unemployed single mothers. Women who suddenly find themselves with no income can look to these sources for immediate support with added expenses and lost earnings.

  1. Unemployment compensation replaces a portion of lost income for a specified period. Solo parents often find themselves out-of-work because of their child-care duties. Approximately 22 states allow workers to collect if they quit for a good cause reason – including care of a sick child or family member. You may be eligible for these benefits after meeting three standards.
    1. Able to work
    2. Available for work
    3. Actively seeking a new job
  2. Pregnant single mothers with no income can sometimes take advantage of three possible programs. Each may replace a portion of regular earnings during the time she is unable to work for a covered reason.
    1. Private disability insurance
    2. State temporary disability
    3. Paid family leave benefits
  3. Health insurance loss after becoming unemployed is a common plight of many solo parents. These two options can address this emergency need.
    1. Medicaid covers up to three months of unreimbursed medical expenses retroactively. Unemployed mothers often meet the income thresholds shortly after a job loss.
    2. Loss of health insurance due to unemployment is a qualifying life event. This means that people who do not qualify for Medicaid can buy coverage outside of the annual open enrollment. Income-based premium and cost-sharing subsidies make the coverage more affordable.

Legitimate Government Grants for Single Parents

Finding legitimate government grants that specifically help single parents pay bills is very hard. Beware of scam artists touting a simple way to apply online – in exchange for an upfront fee. In addition, be on the lookout for online publishers eager to attract traffic but offering little value to readers.

The federal government award grants primarily to universities, state agencies, and non-profit organizations to fund ideas and projects to foster a public service or stimulate the economy.[1]

  1. Individuals rarely qualify. You must apply for the free money through an intermediary such a local state agency, a non-profit organization, or university.
  2. Marital status is not a factor. Household income is the most common qualifier. However, unmarried parents often meet these requirements because they often must work part-time and have only one wage earner.

Personal Grants

Personal grants for single mothers and fathers are a road to nowhere. The government rarely awards free cash to individuals. When they do, it is never for personal reasons such as paying bills. The individual must have an idea or project that fosters a public service or stimulates the economy.

Many online resources publish content about awards for personal needs because people search that way. Ignore these articles. They lead nowhere new and offer nothing unique to say.

Scan to other sections for guidance on specific expenses.

Dental Work

Dental work grants for single mothers also follow the same pattern with a few unique twists. The government does not offer direct funding support for this specific personal need. However, solo parents can turn to several sources for assistance with their oral care.

  • Dental schools donate service from students learning the craft
  • Local dentists offer free care in clinics in underserved communities
  • Medicaid coverage for adult dental work varies by state
  • Individual health insurance with parent/child coverage may include dental
  • Unreimbursed dental expenses are tax deductible
    • Schedule A itemized deductions
    • Flexible Spending Account eligible

Pay Off Debt

Debt repayment grants for single mothers fit into a slightly different category. Most times the government treats unpaid obligations as a personal need. The opposite is true for student loans.

No public entity offers or approves any debt consolidation programs for private obligations. These are the primary alternatives for people needing to reduce unpaid medical bills and credit card balances.

The public does offer options for people struggling to repay federal student loan debt. Work with the loan servicer to apply for the most suitable alternative.

  • Deferment and Forbearance
  • Forgiveness, Cancellation, or Discharge
  • Loan Consolidation
  • Flexible Repayment Choices
    • Standard
    • Extended
    • Graduated
    • Income-Driven
    • Income-Sensitive

Car Repairs

Federal grants for single mothers to repair a car fall into the personal needs category. The same holds for insurance premiums, and assistance with down payments on an auto purchase or lease. Government resources for such a specific need are very rare – although some public agencies promoting employment may offer help with transportation.

Non-profit organizations create an additional layer of confusion – and another opportunity for online publishers to attract traffic to their sites. Four different groups may be involved in the process of donating, refurbishing, and placing used cars for charity.

  1. Vehicle owners donate used cars in exchange for a small tax deduction
  2. Charitable organizations accept funds from third-party entities in exchange for the donated car referral. These charities promote the tax deduction to their supporters and do not find new homes for refurbished vehicles themselves.
    1. Habitat for Humanity
    2. Good Will
    3. Make a Wish Foundation
    4. Red Cross
    5. Many Others
  3. Other 501 C3 organizations market directly to possible car donors looking for tax deductions. They resell the donated vehicles to wholesalers who may take the autos to auction or tear them down for parts and scrap metal. They use the money raised from the sales proceeds to fund specific community needs.
    1. Kars 4 Kids targets Jewish families and children
    2. Cars Helping Veterans is self-explanatory
  4. A smaller number of charities seek to match donated cars with possible recipients. However, the process is hit or miss. The person getting the car has no control over timing, make or model, and condition.
    1. Free Charity Cars
    2. Women with Drive Foundation

College Grants

College grants for single mothers and fathers returning to school illustrate both points about government funding. Marital status is not a factor and you must apply through a university or school.

Three types of resources can make it more affordable to attend college and obtain an education. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to see if you qualify based on financial standing.[2]

  1. Needs-based awards rely on income and asset data from FAFSA
    1. Basic Educational Opportunity (PELL)
    2. Supplemental Educational Opportunity
    3. Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH)
    4. Iraq and Afghanistan Service
  2. Merit-based scholarships benefit students with special skills or abilities
  3. Student loans can close the gap of attendance

Housing Grants

Government housing grants for single mothers also illustrates both points. Income matters, not marital status, and the money flows to local entities who distribute the funding and decide who qualifies.

Several federal agencies administer programs that make it more affordable for low-income families to find safe, clean living space. Each uses other organizations to funnel the funds.[3]

  1. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development channels money into three rental assistance programs.
    1. Privately owned subsidized housing helps apartment owners offer reduced rents
    2. Public housing agencies administer affordable apartment units
    3. Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)
  2. The Federal Housing Authority ((FHA) aids first-time homebuyers lacking a down-payment
  3. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) helps people afford homes in rural areas

Hardship Grants

Hardship grants for single mothers follow the exact same pattern. Several government agencies offer programs that channel the resources to state and local organizations who disperse the funding to families living in poverty.

Check into any of these alternatives for services during a period of adversity.[4]

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides funds to states to offer low-income families with financial help and related support services.
    • Childcare
    • Work preparation
    • Job training
  • The Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC) provides extra food, nutrition education, and access to health and social services, at no cost to low-income females.
    • Pregnant women
    • Breastfeeding mothers
    • Infants and children up to age five
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or Food Stamps) provides food benefits, access to a healthy diet, and education on food preparation and nutrition.
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) supports low-income households with their home energy bills keeping them warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Footnoted Sources:

[1] Federal Awards

[2] Student Aid

[3] HUD

[4] Hardship Benefits