According to the results of five iterations of the Gallup World Poll, single mothers in the U.S. are significantly more likely than other groups to say there were times when they didn’t have enough money for food or adequate shelter. What’s more, the Gallup data suggests the U.S. is among the countries where single moms struggle most, relative to the rest of the world.
Many single mothers in the U.S. also live in low-income communities with limited childcare options and few opportunities to find good paying jobs. This can lead to a perpetual cycle of poverty for those moms as well as their kids, even when they become adults. In an effort to counter this issue, a host of private organizations and governmental agencies offer financial help.
Government grants for single moms include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and The Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC).
The TANF program distributes approximately $16.5 billion in grants among each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and US territories (Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico). These entities then use those grant funds to provide monthly cash assistance payments to low-income families with children.
Meanwhile, WIC provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women. Assistance is also offered to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.
Other programs, while geared toward low-income households in general, also benefit single moms. These include Housing Choice Vouchers, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Weatherization Assistance Program. Each of these efforts is designed to put a roof over a family’s head and provide them with utilities payment assistance.
In addition, programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), National School Lunch Program and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). provide for the nutritional needs of children.
Single moms typically qualify for a number of dependent-related tax exemptions. These include the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Credit, as well as the Child Tax Credit.
What’s more, the Additional Child Tax credit can help single moms get payments even when they have no tax liability. Using it, they can receive a refund for the remaining Child Tax Credit up to $1,5000 per child after their tax bill is reduced to zero.
Single moms are advised to file as head of household rather than single to get a higher standard deduction if they qualify.
Single moms who meet the income requirements can sign up for Medicaid. What’s more, they can sign their children up for the Children’s Health Insurance Program even if their incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid.
Education and Scholarships
The federal government backs certain types of student loans, however none are aimed specifically at single moms. But this group is just as eligible to receive them as any other person who meets the Federal Student Aid requirements. The same is true for Pell grants and other types of scholastic financial aid.
Educational financial assistance specifically intended for single moms is also available from the Society of Women Engineers, the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation, Executive Women International and the P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education.
The Society of Women Engineers scholarships range from $1,000 to $20,000 and are renewable on an annual basis. The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation offers $5,000 scholarships to single moms 17 and older who meet certain income and educational criteria. Single moms facing hardship as a result of economic, social or physical challenges can apply for The Executive Women International Adult Students in Scholastic Transition awards. Meanwhile, the P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education offers $3,000 in assistance for women who have had to take two years off from completing a degree to raise children.
There are a number of sources of financial help for single moms from the government as well as the private sector. A good resource for single moms seeking financial assistance is the 211 program. This number has been designated by the Federal Communications Commission to provide confidential referrals to social services and other assistance. Dialing 211 from any telephone will put you in touch with this organization.
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