Resources and Grants Providing Financial Help for Single Parents

Portrait of young father carrying his daughter on his back
| 8 min read Financial Assistance

Parents in the US are under tremendous financial pressure from all sides. Without resources like paid maternity leave, universal health care, and preschool, raising children can quickly become a financial hardship for a single parent.

According to the U.S. News & World Report, the cost to raise a child in 2021 when adjusted for inflation is around $267,233. This number is based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Add in decades of wage stagnation, and it should come as no surprise that single parents need financial help with both emergencies and everyday living expenses. We hope this list of resources offering financial help for single parents can help you find a financial lifeline.

Start a fundraiser

Government resources for single parents

1. Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) 

This is a nutrition program run by the USDA. Eligibility is limited to low-income mothers and/or their children. To qualify, a mother must be pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding. Children are eligible up to age five.

2. National School Lunch Program

This program provides reduced-cost meals to children. They hand out applications to every child at the beginning of the school year, but parents can apply at any time.

3. Summer Food Service Program

The Summer Food Service program ensures that low-income children continue to eat nutritious meals when school is out. Over the summer of 2019, the USDA served more than 141 million meals to children 18 years and under at approved SFSP sites.

4. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP delivers benefits via a debit card system. Participants get a SNAP card to use at grocery stores and retailers that accept SNAP in order to buy healthy food.

5. The Emergency Food Assistance Program

Low-income single parents, families, and individuals can receive food assistance through The Emergency Food Assistance Program. To be eligible, a family’s income cannot exceed the USDA’s federal guidelines. This can be a great source of assistance for single parents.

6. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

TANF helps families achieve self-sufficiency through financial support and grants. To be eligible, recipients must show that they’re actively taking specific actions outlined in the application form.

7. Medicare

Medicare is a health insurance program for people 65 and older, but it’s available to people under 65 in certain circumstances. To check whether you’re eligible for any one of its programs, use the Medicare Eligibility Checker Tool.

8. Medicaid

Through Medicaid, low-income families can get medical assistance through state-administered programs. Medicaid eligibility guidelines differ by state so be sure to check their website to see if you qualify.

9. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

LIHEAP offers energy grants and help to single parents and others who qualify under its eligibility criteria. This program provides funds to cover costs such as home energy bills and home repairs due to energy-related issues.

10. Head Start

Head Start provides access to preschool at no cost for children five and under. Many Head Start programs also offer Early Head Start support for pregnant women, toddlers, and infants.

11. Child Care Tax Credit

This tax credit allows parents to deduct funds spent on childcare (for children 13 or under) from their taxable income. Since childcare can cost a lot of money, this resource can provide single parents with help.

12. Insure Kids Now

Insure Kids Now helps children and teens receive low-cost health insurance. Parents can also receive assistance. Funds come from Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Single parents must prove they are unable to afford health insurance to receive coverage.

Scholarships and grants for single moms and dads

13. Pell Grants

Pell grants are given to low-income individuals attending college. They award grants of up to $6,495 for 2021-22, but the amount you receive will depend on certain factors. This grant gives single parents help so they can go back to school. And as a grant, it doesn’t have to be repaid. It’s important to note that you’ll have to complete the FAFSA form every school year to maintain the grant.

14. Teach Grants

Teach Grants help people get the education they need to become a teacher. After completing a teaching program, recipients must teach in a high-need field at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency for low-income families for at least four years (otherwise the grant retroactively turns into a loan). You can receive up to $4,000 a year to cover education costs.

15. Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (WISP)

Through this program, the Sunshine Lady Foundation helps victims of domestic violence by giving them money toward higher education. An applicant must be separated from the abuser for at least one year, be a US citizen, prove financial need, and be enrolled at a university or show a desire to start.

16. Global Fund for Women

The Global Fund for Women provides grants that support and strengthen women’s groups around the world, allowing women to build creative solutions to local, regional, and transnational challenges. Grantees and donors are brought together in an international network that promotes women’s actions for social change, equality, peace, and justice.

Charities that help single parents

17. Single Parent Project

The Single Parent Project goes beyond providing assistance for single moms and parents. Aside from offering financial support, their 6-month program strives to keep single parents on the right path.

18. HOPE, Inc.

From rent and childcare assistance to life skills training, HOPE, Inc. aims to empower low-income single parents to become self-sufficient. Currently, the organization is only taking applications for the Metro Atlanta area.

19. Help a Mother Out

This nonprofit provides diapers for families in need. The main bank is in the San Francisco Bay Area, with other diaper bank partners located beyond Northern California.

20. Helping Hands for Single Moms

This organization helps low-income single moms who are studying to get their college degree. The program offers benefits for single parents such as emergency funds, car repairs, and legal counsel. Helping Hands for Single Moms serves Dallas, Texas, and Phoenix, Arizona.

How crowdfunding can help for single mothers and fathers

We know you often face incredible odds and difficult challenges as a single parent—dealing with everything from minor medical emergencies to serious medical, financial, or employment crises. If it’s tough to find support for these challenges through government support, crowdfunding can reduce those financial pressures and provide much-needed financial relief.

With crowdfunding on GoFundMe, it’s about telling your fundraiser story in a way that compels people to support your cause—and gives them an opportunity to help your family in a very clear, specific, and positive way.

Success stories of single parents on GoFundMe

Help Michelle, a single mom in need

To support her son and her parents, Michelle works long hours five days a week as a teacher in Westhampton, NY.  She, unfortunately, lost her son’s dad and is the only provider for her family. Sadly, her mom and dad recently passed away due to COVID. The expenses of her mom and dad’s services on top of caring for her son have caused financial hardship. Her coworker and friend, Lizzy, started a GoFundMe on Michelle’s behalf to help her out. With the support of their community, the fundraiser exceeded its goal of $10,000.

Help a Palo Alto teacher facing eviction

Mohamed “Mo” is a teacher and single dad of two kids in Palo Alto, CA. He and his family are being evicted from their home for no reason. Mo went through all the necessary channels for Palo Alto tenants and found out the eviction was illegal. After a whirlwind of legal proceedings, Mo’s landlord was able to find a loophole in the state protections to keep the eviction.

Mo has been working extensive hours at the school to help his students, so he hasn’t had the time to pack or find a new place to live. Unfortunately, he has poor credit from the bankruptcy of a daycare business he and his ex-wife were running during the pandemic. His financial struggles and lack of income are making it hard for him to apply for housing. The Palo Alto Renters Association set up a GoFundMe for Mo so he could get single father help. As a community, they have raised more than $19,000.

Why GoFundMe?

We have become a trusted leader in online fundraising since 2010. In the US, there’s no fee to start or manage your fundraiser on GoFundMe. However, there is one small transaction fee per donation that covers all your fundraising needs. Everything else goes directly to your cause, because that’s what matters most. On GoFundMe, you’re covered by the first and only donor protection guarantee: the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee. Plus, you can begin withdrawing funds as soon as you start receiving donations.

People use GoFundMe every day to offer financial help for single parents—raising money for college tuition, extracurricular programs, educational travel, medical bills, and more. We’re here to help. Along with this article, we have many more resources for single mothers, fathers, kids, and families on our blog. Start your fundraiser today.

Start a GoFundMe

Written by Brittany Armas

I believe we all have the power to make a difference. Through informative and heartfelt content, I hope to create change and inspire others to give back to those who need it most.