Money For Stay-At-Home Moms: Government Benefits

Stay-at-home parents have a critical and gratifying job; raising their children to be responsible, caring, empathetic adults.

However, suppose you want extra cash to support your family, start a business, return to college, or become self-sufficient. Finding government benefits and grants earmarked exclusively for homemakers, in that case, could be challenging.

Instead of searching for clear, apparent labels, cast a wider net and sort through various financial assistance programs that connect with another aspect of your identity.

The stay-at-home mother (SAHM) community finds relevant opportunities every day, and so can you if you know where to look and how to find intersecting points.  

Government Money For Stay-At-Home Moms

Stay-at-home mothers can receive government money indirectly through a wide swath of benefits provided they complete the appropriate applications correctly. Cutting expenses is just like getting paid.

Free Money

Stay-at-home parents frequently qualify for free government money because their household has one wage earner rather than the typical two. Income relative to family size is the primary criterion.

Free money from the government comes in various forms designed to reduce expenses, with the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) being the critical yardstick determining eligibility. Most programs accept applicants near 100% of FPL, which matrixes income by household size as below.

100% Federal Poverty Level (FPL)

Household SizeIncome Limit
1$14,580
2$19,720
3$24,860
4$30,000

Government Benefits

The most reliable way for stay-at-home parents to get free government money is to claim benefits that reduce household expenses. A penny saved is a penny earned.

Food Stamps

Stay-at-home mothers can often get food stamps to reduce their grocery bills. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a government benefit helping low-income families buy food.

Apply for food stamps by contacting your local SNAP office. Single-earner families often meet the income and resource qualifications established by each state.

Collect Unemployment

Some stay-at-home mothers can collect unemployment while most cannot. Unemployment insurance is a government benefit that pays you money if you lose your job through no fault of your own.

Apply for medical unemployment if you lost your job recently because you need to care for a sick child. Many states, but not all, define a good cause reason to include caring for a family member with a severe health problem.

Of course, you are eligible only if you paid unemployment insurance premiums through payroll deduction.

Housing Assistance

The SAHM community often qualifies for housing assistance to reduce monthly apartment rental expenses. The Section 8 voucher program is a government benefit helping low-income families afford a decent living place.

Apply for housing assistance by contacting your local public agency. Single-earner families often meet the low-income criteria established by each state.

Utility Bills

Homemakers frequently qualify for help paying utility bills. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a government benefit reducing heating and cooling costs.

Apply for LIHEAP by contacting your local low-income energy office. Single-earner households frequently meet the criteria.

Appliance Replacement

The SAHM community is often eligible for financial help when replacing inefficient household appliances such as refrigerators. The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is a government benefit reducing energy usage.

Free appliances for low-income families are often available through WAP. Single-earner households qualify based on income and the expected savings-to-investment ratio calculated after an energy audit.

Social Security

Stay-at-home mothers can sometimes get free government money through social security, which provides retirement income and benefits for younger adults dealing with a disability.

Disability

Stay-at-home moms have at least three different ways to collect social security disability. If eligible, this government benefit program will send you a monthly check.

Apply for Social Security disability benefits if you meet one of these criteria and cannot perform any substantial gainful activity.

  • You worked and paid FICA taxes before having children to raise (SSDI)
  • You are the surviving (or divorced) spouse of a deceased worker
  • Your resources are less than specific dollar limits (SSI)

Survivors

Stay-at-home mothers might also qualify to collect Social Security survivor benefits after their spouse dies – even if they never worked for an employer. The deceased person must have worked long enough to be eligible.

Apply for Social Security survivors’ benefits by setting an appointment at an office near your home. You cannot submit an online application. You might be eligible for a lump sum payment and a monthly check if you care for the deceased’s children under sixteen.

Retirement

Stay-at-home parents can sometimes collect Social Security retirement benefits even if they have never worked outside the house. If qualified, this government benefit could supplement your monthly income.

Apply for Social Security retirement benefits any time after your sixty-second birthday, understanding that the size of the monthly check will be the larger of two options.

  1. No work record: one-third to one-half of spouse’s retirement benefit
  2. Work record: the monthly benefit based on FICA taxes paid

Tax Credits

Stay-at-home moms can get free money from the government by filing for refundable tax credits sponsored by the IRS. A refundable tax credit creates a negative tax liability.

Child Credit

Most stay-at-home mothers should qualify for the Child Tax Credit (CTC), worth up to $2,000 per dependent under seventeen. Single-earner households rarely reach the income limit.

Claim the child tax credit by completing Schedule 8812 and Form 1040.

Earned Income

A homemaker can claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) if their spouse works for an employer or runs a small business. The EITC gives low-income families a tax break, averaging more than $3,000 for those with children.

Claim the earned income tax credit by completing Schedule EITC to give the IRS information about your qualifying children. Each additional child (up to three) increases the money you get back.

Grants For Stay-At-Home Moms

Stay-at-home mothers can sometimes receive grants. However, no federal agency provides free money to individuals they do not have to repay.

Instead, the grant funding flows to universities, state departments, and non-profit organizations. Therefore, apply at these endpoints for specific needs.

Repair a Home

Stay-at-home parents can often get grants to repair or improve their residences by applying for benefits at a non-profit or state agency recipient. Single-earner families often meet the criteria for these programs.

Free grants for homeowners for repairs go to low-income families, funding projects that reduce energy consumption or address health and safety issues. Several government initiatives support these efforts.

  • Weatherization Assistance Program
  • Section 504
  • Inflation Reduction Act Rebates

Go Back to School

Stay-at-home mothers often receive grants to help them go back to school to further their education and job prospects for when their children become independent.

Low Income

The federal government is the primary source of back-to-school funding for low-income students. Many in the SAHM community fit this category because of their focus on child raising rather than employment.

Apply for back-to-school assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. You may be eligible for one of these programs.

  • Pell Grants for household income below $30,000
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH)

Military Veterans

Federal and non-profit organizations dedicate back-to-school resources for military veterans and their families. SAHM individuals and spouses who are retired service members may qualify for this targeted monetary assistance.

Apply for college financial aid dedicated to military veterans by completing applications across various opportunities.

  • Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC)
  • Veterans Administration GI Bill
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
  • American Legion
  • AMVETS
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars

Scholarships for Women

Homemakers seeking to enter STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields can find back-to-school resources for women since females are under-represented in these industries. Also, future nurses often find helpful resources.

Online databases can identify scholarship opportunities that match your goals, skills, and situation.

Start a Business

Stay-at-home moms might qualify for grants to start or open a new business to supplement their income after their childrearing responsibilities ebb. However, begin with a realistic expectation of what you might find as you will face numerous obstacles.

  • Demand exceeds the financial capacity to fund most requests
  • Capital is more accessible after your endeavor is up and running
  • Foundations favor women who can devote themselves full-time

Below is a sample of places worth exploring, with the above caveats.