Unpaid Maternity Leave Assistance: How To Get Money

Financial assistance options while on unpaid maternity leave require creativity, an open mind, timely action, and a lucky work location.

The private sector offers ways for new parents to afford time off without pay. These alternatives are available nationwide but often require advance action – or a good credit score.

Government benefits offer more attractive ways to get paid or deal with bill payments. However, these alternatives apply only to people working in specific regions or who meet stringent income-based requirements.

Luckily, lost wages help you meet income eligibility rules!

How To Get Paid

The best way to get paid during maternity leave is to find a deep-pocketed third party that will provide money to help you survive. Sometimes, it is the government, but private companies chip in more frequently.

Private Money

Private insurance and finance companies most frequently provide money during maternity leave because these programs are available nationwide, not just in a handful of states.

Personal Loan

Most parents will not get paid during maternity leave, so they may need to borrow money to make ends meet while bonding with their newborn. Repay the private lender in equal installments after returning to work.

Request a maternity leave loan. If approved, the lender will deposit money into your checking account to help with everyday expenses. Many parents with good credit scores or who can verify employment and earnings qualify for this type of financial support.

Disability Insurance

Women who bought short-term disability from a private insurance company before conception can get paid during maternity leave. File a claim for benefits.

You can get your doctor to put you on disability during pregnancy by stating the medical reason you cannot perform your work duties on the claim form. Women with any of these health conditions might qualify.

  1. Pregnancy disability before birth
  2. Recovering from labor and delivery
  3. Postpartum medical complications

Government Money

Receiving government money is another way to get paid during maternity leave. However, these opportunities are not viable for every new parent as they are available in just a few states.  

State Disability Leave

State temporary disability insurance allows women working in specific states to get government money during maternity leave. However, only eight states have a program: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington.

Apply for state-mandated temporary disability benefits if you work (not live) in one of the eight states with required coverage. You are out of luck if you work in one of the other forty-two.

State Family Leave

Some lucky couples might get government money while bonding with their babies at home through state-sponsored paid family and parental leave programs.

Apply for paid family leave benefits if you work in a mandatory program in one of the ten (and counting) states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington.

Unemployment Compensation

Filing for unemployment is an ineffective way to get government money during maternity leave because you still have a job and violate at least one of three principle rules.

  1. Physically able to work
  2. Available for duty
  3. Actively seeking new employment

You might qualify for unemployment after maternity leave if you lost your job for a “good cause reason,” as your state defines it. Each state expresses this term differently but could include one of the following.

  • Disability of the employee
  • Care of a severely ill family member

Unpaid Government Assistance

Government assistance with expense reduction is the ideal way to cope with unpaid maternity leave, as these programs exist nationwide, not just in a handful of states. Your lower projected annual income might help you qualify.

Government Grants

Maternity leave grants might help you survive without pay, just not in the way you might think. The government awards this funding to institutions, not individuals. Therefore, you must apply for benefits at grant recipients.

Personal Grants

“Personal grants” require contact at end-point recipients rather than a central authority, such as a federal agency. Diligent effort can help you survive maternity leave without pay by reducing unrelated expenses.

Apply for free money for bills and personal use at local grant recipient offices. Reduce what you must pay for various services you might use every day: childcare, housing, appliances, energy, medical, internet, water, repairs, and more.

Pregnancy Assistance

The Pregnancy Assistance Fund (PAF) is unlikely to help many mothers directly during unpaid maternity leave. The PAF is a government program funding grants to states and tribes, not individuals.

Apply for Pregnancy Assistance Fund benefits by contacting the recipient agency in your state or tribe. Each end-point entity will offer unique support services and employ different qualifying criteria.

Title V

The Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) block grant might assist new parents with post-natal care and follow-up diagnostic and treatment services for their newborns during maternity leave.

Apply for MCH benefits by contacting the recipient agency in your state. You will find a listing of directors’ phone numbers and email addresses.

Mom Economy

The Mom Economy is a charitable organization offering maternity leave grants of $1,000 to $3,000 to moms without access to paid leave benefits. However, this effort suffers from a lack of government support.

Apply for their parental leave grant knowing that The Mom Economy relies on the generosity of donors, and applications might be closed due to a lack of resources.

Food Stamps

New mothers might be able to get food stamps while on unpaid maternity leave. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a government benefit helping low-income families buy groceries.

Apply for food stamps by contacting your local SNAP office. The drop in earnings might allow you to qualify, as projected annual income is a critical qualifier.

Cash Assistance

You might qualify for cash assistance and other benefits while on unpaid maternity. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a government program for low-income households with children.

Apply for TANF by contacting your state agency, which makes final determinations. Your newborn baby and lower projected annual earnings may allow you to qualify for survival cash.


Parents might qualify for baby formula assistance and breastfeeding support while on unpaid maternity leave. The Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) program is a government benefit safeguarding postpartum mothers and their offspring.

Apply for WIC by contacting your state agency administering the program to schedule an appointment. You should receive instructions on what to bring with you to establish eligibility.


The government often provides financial assistance with healthcare, which is crucial for pregnant moms and their babies. Parents can lose their employer-based health insurance during maternity leave because they cannot afford the premiums without pay.

You might qualify for free medical insurance or a policy with heavy subsidies to make the coverage more affordable. Eligibility hinges on your projected year-end income and household size for three programs.

  1. Medicaid
  2. Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP)
  3. Private insurance