Government Assistance for Single Parents With No Income

Single parents without pay are in a tough spot. They need cash to buy food and housing and care for their kids.

Luckily, many government programs either give money or lower costs. Use every option to balance finances during this challenging time.

Critical Points

  • Income support gives money for a short time, measured in weeks.
  • Back-to-work programs support becoming independent over the long run.
  • Assistance in lowering costs makes your small amount of money go further.
  • Getting benefits based on income is easier when you have no pay.

Government Income Support

Many government programs give money straight to people to help pay their bills. Single parents without pay need cash to get by until they can start working again.

Unemployment Compensation

Unemployment help is a clear government benefit for single moms with no pay who lost work not by their own doing. You must meet three basic rules to get it.

  1. Able to work
  2. Available for a new job
  3. Looking for work

Medical Reasons

You may get unemployment for medical reasons after recovering if you worked in a state with favorable laws. You only qualify once you can work again.

Around a dozen states, not all, say a “good reason” to leave or lose a job includes a worker’s short-term sickness or injury.

Maternity Leave

You may get unemployment after caring for a new baby if you worked in a state with family-friendly laws. You only qualify once you are ready for work again.

Around thirteen states, not all, say a “good reason” to leave or lose a job includes needing to care for a seriously ill family member.

Disability Insurance

Disability help is the best government benefit for single moms without pay due to a health problem. Some programs assist parents or kids with infirmities.

Temporary Disability

Nine states require short-term disability help for workers with off-the-job medical conditions: California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington.

Short-term disability replaces some of your pay for health issues expected to last under a year. Submit a claim through the state’s online system.

Worker’s Compensation

All states require Workers’ Compensation. It provides short-term disability pay for job-related health issues or injuries.

If you get hurt at work, tell your boss right away. Then, file a claim with the insurance company that provides your employer’s mandatory coverage.

Social Security Disability

Apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) if your health issue may last a year or more. The federal government requires SSD for all employees paying FICA taxes from their paychecks.

SSDI has a five-month waiting period before benefits begin.

Supplemental Security Income

Apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if your baby was born with a disability affecting development. The federal government gives money to help very sick newborns with serious challenges.

Parents of preemie babies qualify for more assistance when they have no income.

Paid Leave

Paid family leave is the proper government help for single moms without pay who need to care for a child at home.

Eleven states require paid time off for family: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington.

Sick Child

Apply for paid family leave if you can’t work because a child at home is sick and needs care. Some states listed will replace part of your pay when a family member has a severe illness.

Baby Bonding

Apply for paid family leave if you can’t work after having a baby. All the states mentioned will replace part of your pay to give mothers time with their newborn.

New parents of adopted kids or kids placed in their care recently can also use this help.

Child Support

State governments usually help single moms with no pay get child support from the kids’ dads, who may have a job and money.

Contact your local child support office – they can guide you through the steps:

  1. Start the legal case
  2. Find the other parent
  3. Prove who the father is
  4. Get a child support payment amount set
  5. Set up how payments will be made
  6. Make sure payments are received


Government back-to-work programs help single moms without pay over the long run. Being able to support yourself with a job is the best long-term solution.


Apply for Temporary Assistance for Families in Need (TANF) through your state’s office. TANF gives money straight to parents with kids to help them become independent.

TANF focuses on getting back to work by removing issues like transportation, childcare, skills, and other barriers to jobs.


Apply for childcare assistance programs through your state’s office. This benefit lets you take entry-level jobs to gain experience and skills that can lead to higher pay later on.

Government Help with Expenses

Government programs also lower costs to help single parents make their small amount of money go further. You qualify based on income when you have no money coming in.

Housing Assistance

Housing help is the most essential government program that lowers costs. Single moms couldn’t afford a home for themselves and their kids without pay otherwise.

The Department of Housing (HUD) assists with housing together with each state.

Emergency Housing

Emergency housing can work in the long run if you have a plan. Kids learn better when they don’t have to change schools a lot.

HUD’s Continuum of Care program ranks families for help. Figure out what answers will get you priority before applying locally. Knowing this can get you housing assistance sooner.

No-Cost Housing

Free apartment rentals may be possible after unemployment benefits stop. Your rent amount could be nothing, depending on the rules in your state. Some allow a $0 minimum, while others offer a hardship exemption.

The HUD Section 8 program requires tenants to pay 30% of their income towards rent. 30% of $0 is $0.  

Healthcare Benefits

The government offers help with medical, dental, and vision care costs to single mothers with no earnings and their children.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administers Medicaid in cooperation with the fifty state governments.

Medical Care

Apply for Medicaid at if not already enrolled. Medicaid pays medical costs nationwide for adults and kids.

Your doctor will file paperwork directly with Medicaid, making it simple. The doctor can’t charge you more, so care is affordable.

Families with no income usually qualify without needing the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). CHIP helps parents who earn above their state’s limit.

Dental Care

Medicaid covers dental care for adults and children differently:

  • For kids, it pays for all dental work nationwide.
  • For adults, coverage for regular dental care varies by state.
  • But it pays for medically necessary adult dental nationwide, like after accidents or cancer treatment.

Vision Care

Medicaid covers vision care for adults and children differently:

  • For kids, it pays for all vision services nationwide.
  • Coverage varies by state for routine eye exams and glasses/contacts for adults.
  • But it pays for medically necessary adult vision care nationwide, like exams to diagnose eye diseases.

Help with Groceries

The government provides help paying for groceries to feed kids healthy meals. Fresh foods can take up a large portion of a limited budget. Single mothers with no income often qualify for this assistance.

The Department of Agriculture (DOA) runs different food programs. They have separate rules for qualifying, applying, and where to get help.


SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Food Stamps) can help grocery money go further. Unemployed parents often qualify based on DOA rules.

  • $2,250 maximum in savings/assets
  • Gross monthly income under 130% of poverty level
  • Take-home monthly income under 100% of poverty level

Find your local SNAP office on the DOA website.

Women Infants & Children (WIC)

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program available through WIC (Women, Infants, Children) can help single moms pay for groceries or infant formula if pregnant, breastfeeding, or with kids under five.

Find your local WIC office on the DOA website.

School Meals

The National School Lunch Program provides balanced, low-cost meals to kids at public and private schools.

Your child’s school will send a form at the start of each school year. If you lost it, ask for a new one. You can start getting meals any time during the year once approved.

Help with Utilities

The government offers help paying utility bills for single parents with no income. These programs reduce monthly gas, electricity, water, sewer, internet, and cell phone service costs.

The government provides help with utility costs to single parents without any income. Reduce monthly expenses for gas, electricity, water, sewer, internet, and mobile phone service.

Gas & Electric

Apply for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to lower gas and electric bills. Contact your state agency or energy company.

LIHEAP is run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS provides money for utility bills and energy-efficient home upgrades.

Water & Sewer

Apply for the Low-Income Water Assistance Program (LIWAP) to reduce sewer and water charges. Contact the responsible agency in your state.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) runs LIWAP, which helps families with past-due invoices to avoid water and sewer service disruptions.

Internet & Phone

Apply for the Lifeline Benefit program to get help with internet and phone bills. See if you qualify, pick a provider, and enroll to save.

The Federal Communications Commission funds private companies to reduce bills for people in this program.