Loans for Single Parents: Bad Credit | Little or No Income

Getting approval for a loan is more challenging for a single parent with only one income or none. Having a bad credit history makes it even harder.

Moms and dads struggle with money when raising kids alone. A loan can help in an emergency but may quickly worsen financial troubles.

This post will teach you strategies to get funding while avoiding trouble.

First, use any government benefits that do not need paying back. Your low income and poor borrowing qualifications make it easier to qualify. Borrow the minimum to meet your needs and nothing more.

Single Parents With Bad Credit

Single parents with low credit scores under 660 could get loan approval. Following specific steps can help make up for a history of missed payments. The best plan depends on the type of loan – unsecured, secured, or backed by the government.

Unsecured Loans

Single parents with bad credit scores usually choose unsecured loans more. These options don’t need collateral. For unsecured loans, the lender relies on your promise to pay (signature) when deciding if you qualify.

Personal Loans

Unsecured loans don’t require pledging an asset like a car or home if you default. So, your plan must show the lender you are a safe borrower.

Boost unsecured personal loan approval odds by balancing adverse payment history with positive elements.

  • Tap into a vast online network of specialty sub-prime lenders
  • Provide bank account information to enable repayment auto-drafts
  • Provide complete employer identification information for verification
  • Document regular child support and alimony deposits
  • Borrow the minimum, keeping the debt-to-income ratio low

Payday Advances

Payday loans require repayment in two weeks but charge hefty fees that can be expensive if you can’t pay it back that soon.

Apply for payday loans online if legal in your state. Many outlaw the product because the origination fees can make advances extremely expensive. Therefore, be confident you can repay the balance before your next payroll cycle.

This example illustrates a two-week payday loan balance of $250 with a 20% origination fee balloons if you cannot retire the obligation quickly.

Repayment PeriodOrigination FeeTotal Fees
2 Weeks$50$50
4 Weeks$50$100
6 Weeks$50$150

Secured Loans

Single fathers and mothers with bad credit scores can use secured loans to buy a car or tap equity in an older vehicle. Here, the lender relies on their legal right to repossess the asset pledged as collateral.

Auto Financing

Secured car loans can help you purchase a reliable vehicle to commute to and from work and take children to daycare, doctor appointments, and soccer practice.

With a secured car loan, the lender can repossess your vehicle if you stop paying. Please choose an affordable used make and model to boost your chances of approval and avoid this problem.

Vehicle Title

Secured vehicle title loans are a simple way for some to get fast cash without a credit check. You must have a clear title (i.e., you owe nothing to the auto finance company), and the option must be legal in your state.

Apply for title loans where allowed. Many outlaw this option because the short repayment terms and hefty origination fees translate into excessive borrowing costs.

Bring your vehicle and proof of ownership to a nearby retail store. The lender must inspect the car. They appraise its value based on year, make, model, mileage, condition, and upgrades.


Single mothers and fathers cannot get loans from the government. No federal agency lends money directly to individuals. Still, several programs can help those with bad credit get funding for specific uses.  

FSA Loans

A Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA) through your job can be like a government-approved loan. It helps pay for medical costs. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) supports this program.

The entire sum of your FSA contribution for the year is available from the onset of the plan year. Though, in some plans, this amount is accessible only after you’ve made the initial contribution. This aspect of the FSA, where expenses can be pre-funded, is akin to getting an advance from your employer.

For example, you can easily get no-credit-check dental financing through your FSA if available. Follow these steps for all eligible health-related services.

  1. Choose your contribution level during open enrollment
  2. Your employer cannot check your credit report or score
  3. They must accept prior bankruptcy, judgments, etc.
  4. Schedule your procedure at the beginning of the FSA plan year
  5. Your employer must immediately reimburse qualifying expenses
  6. Use pre-tax payroll deductions to repay the interest-free loan
  7. Reduce income subject to three taxes: federal, state, and FICA

Home Loans

Single parents cannot get home loans directly from the government – however, several federal agencies back programs for applicants with poor borrowing credentials such as these.

  • Consumer reports with delinquencies, charge-offs, judgments, etc.
  • Not enough money for a significant down payment
  • High debt-to-income ratios (front and back-end)

Apply for government-backed home loans through private lenders approved by one of the alphabet agencies issuing mortgage insurance.

  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Veterans Administration (VA)
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) 

School Loans

Anyone with low credit scores can get student loans to attend college or trade school. The Department of Education does not consider your ability to repay the obligation.

Apply for education loans by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. You may be eligible for one of these programs without a credit check.

  1. Direct subsidized for undergraduates demonstrating financial need
  2. Direct unsubsidized for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students

Business Loans

Entrepreneurs with weak borrowing credentials sometimes get government-backed loans to start a business. The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides guarantees, making it easier for private lenders to approve applicants.

Apply for an SBA-backed micro loan by contacting an approved intermediary. Nonprofits and community-based organizations experienced in banking and business management assistance make lending decisions.

You can use the proceeds for specific business startup expenses.

  • Working capital 
  • Inventory 
  • Supplies 
  • Furniture 
  • Fixtures 
  • Machinery 
  • Equipment 

Christmas Loans

Single parents with low credit scores might get holiday loans to buy Christmas gifts. The government indirectly helps by sending tax refunds.

Enjoy Christmas morning as your kids open gifts with less stress about how to repay the loan. The IRS might quickly send you a refund check if you over-withheld taxes.

File your taxes online shortly after receiving your W2 statements late in January. Use the refund check to retire your loans. On-time payment boosts your borrowing credentials for the next holiday or birthday.

Single Parents With No Income

Single parents with no income should not expect to get a loan. Few lenders will approve unemployed or disabled applicants lacking financial means. Instead, consider government benefits that do not require repayment.


Emergency loans for single mothers and fathers are an unrealistic expectation when you have no income. Even costly payday advances are impossible when unemployed because the lender cannot draft money directly from your paycheck.

Immediate assistance for single moms is the superior alternative when jobless. You owe it to yourself to exhaust these options first because you do not have to repay these government benefits.

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Low-Income Home Water Assistance Program (LIWAP)
  • Childcare Assistance cuts work-related costs


In rare cases, loans may be possible using disability benefits as income. However, proceed cautiously, as these loans often come with severe risks. Therefore, single moms and dads should request small amounts.

Loans for people receiving Social Security disability come with many caveats. Therefore, proceed with caution to avoid severe pitfalls.

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits cover basic living expenses, leaving little room for loan repayment.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits include resource limitations for loan proceeds held in bank accounts.

Single Parents With Low-Income

Single parents with low incomes can get loans by adopting a different strategy: making affordable monthly payments that fit their limited budgets. Lenders consider your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio when making underwriting decisions.

DTI = Monthly Debt Payments/Monthly Income

You can boost approval odds by lowering the numerator (projected monthly payment) by requesting small amounts and extending the terms. 

Small Amounts

Single parents with low incomes can improve their chances of an affordable loan by keeping the original loan amount as small as possible. You control the amount you request.

The less money you borrow, the lower your monthly payment per this example, with a twelve-month repayment term and 15% interest rate.

AmountMonthly PaymentInterest Charges

Exploit all other means of support to keep the requested amount small. Consider some of these assistance resources before borrowing money.

Long Repayment

Low-income single mothers and fathers can also obtain manageable monthly payments by extending the repayment term. However, you do not make this decision; the lender does.

The more time you have to repay the obligation, the lower your monthly payment will be. However, you increase borrowing costs, as the interest has more time to compound per this example of a $2,000 loan with a 15% interest rate.

TermMonthly PaymentInterest Charges
12 months$181$166
24 months$97$327
60 months$48$855