How to Get Government Help as a Single Parent

With a roof over your head and help with medical bills, food, and education, you can focus more on parenting and less on worrying about your budget.


  • TIP: If you're worried that taxes are going to break the bank, remember that child support is not considered taxable income, so you can leave it out of your tax calculation.
  • Step 1: Get another sizable credit on your taxes if your child is in daycare while you work under the Dependent Care Credit.
  • Step 2: Find out if you are eligible to live in public housing or receive a subsidy to help you pay for housing by contacting the public housing authority in your state or county.
  • FACT: In a 2009 survey, 45 percent of mothers said they had totally eliminated unnecessary purchases from their lives.
  • Step 3: Claim the child tax credit on your taxes. You can take advantage of it as long as your child lives with you more than half of the time and your income is below the limit for single parents.
  • Step 4: Apply for help with your groceries through the Food Stamps program and the supplemental nutrition program for women and children, also known as WIC.
  • TIP: Beginning in 2014, the national health care reform bill dictates that income limits for Medicaid eligibility will be raised, allowing more adults to receive medical benefits under the program.
  • Step 5: Find out if you are eligible for a single parent scholarship through your state so you can afford to go back to school and earn a degree.
  • Step 6: Contact your local welfare office to see if you are eligible for temporary financial assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, program.
  • TIP: If you or your child are living with a disability, you may qualify for financial benefits under the Social Security insurance program. Contact your local Social Security office for information.
  • Step 7: Contact your state social services or Medicaid office to apply for medical coverage for you and your child. Eligibility is generally based on your income and assets or disability status.

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