Many government programs offer financial support to young mothers. You can find help to provide nutritious food for you and your child, and other options offer support to help pay the bills that come along with raising a family. Certain programs can mitigate the cost of healthcare, which is often a large financial burden on families. Grants can even help you work on a college education. Healthy, happy children and mothers benefit the entire community, so reach out for assistance if you need it.
Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
WIC, or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, is an organization funded on the federal and state levels. WIC provides food vouchers and nutritional and health services, including breastfeeding clinics. WIC's food vouchers can be used in addition to regular food stamps and take some of the financial burden off of a mother. The vouchers must be used to buy specific foods that are nutritionally sound.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program is a federal welfare program that states administer. States sometimes give TANF their own names. For example, Florida calls TANF the Welfare Transition Program, and New York calls it the Family Assistance Program. TANF can provide you with cash to help you cover your rent and other bills, as well as food stamps and job training. You need to apply for TANF in person at your county's welfare office.
Medicaid is a federal health care insurance program for low-income people that is administered at the state level. You and your child can be covered by Medicaid if you are struggling to make enough money to cover health insurance costs. If you are pregnant or you have an infant under the age of one, you qualify for Medicaid if your income falls 223 percent below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Children 1 through 18 are eligible at 154 percent of the FPL. If you and your child are not currently enrolled in Medicaid, you can apply through your local state services agency.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program is a health care insurance program for children of low-income families. CHIP insures children from birth to age 19. CHIP's comprehensive care provides dental benefits as well as preventative and hospital care. Although state qualifications vary, generally any family of four earning less than $65,762 per year qualifies for CHIP. You can apply for CHIP through its toll-free hotline: (877) 543-7669. Freeing up money that would otherwise be spent on health care costs for children can be a relief to young mothers.
Education Grants for Mothers
The Pell Grant is a government grant designed to help people pay for their college education. It is an especially good grant for mothers. Mothers can receive up to $6,095, depending on need, the type of college and tuition amount. You can apply for the Pell Grant by first filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid online. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has a Community Action Grant that is open to mothers. Some single mothers may qualify for as much as $10,000 a year in tuition assistance, depending on whether you are awarded a one-year or two-year grant.
- WIC: WIC's Mission
- Benefits.gov: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- ASPE: TANF Program Names
- Medicaid: Medicaid & CHIP Coverage
- CHIP: What is CHIP?
- College Scholarships: Scholarships for Single Mothers
- New York City Bar: New York State Cash Assistance Program
- Career Source Pinellas: Welfare Transition Program
- Independence Blue Cross: Eligibility
- Federal Student Aid: Federal Pell Grants
Based in Chicago, Annie Wang has been writing since 2008. Her work has appeared in World Architecture News and other online publications. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and art history from the University of California, Davis.