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Hardship Grants For Single Mothers You Should Know About

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

Government grants for families in hardship give them access to cash or assistance for home improvements, medical expenditures, and other emergencies such as debt relief. Various associations, foundations, and government assistance programs provide these funds but have different eligibility criteria to fulfill before becoming eligible for assistance.

If you face difficult circumstances due to unemployment, health problems, or other difficulties, you may be eligible for grants for families in hardship from private foundations or the federal government.

Before anything else, please don't feel bad about asking for financial assistance. Many single mothers and families with children need financial help paying for various essentials, from utility bills to medical bills. The Pew Research Center reports that around 30% of single moms and their families live below the poverty line, often falling into the category of low-income individuals.

Fortunately, there is a wide range of options to deal with financial insolvency. If you're a single parent who needs help, it's important to know that the government provides financial assistance to young people, students, large families, low-income households, self-employed individuals, and jobless individuals. Monthly income and household income can greatly impact the eligibility guidelines for these programs.

Another alternative is to seek help from charitable organizations, institutions, or individuals willing to donate money to financially disadvantaged people.

Do you face an emergency situation, like a medical emergency or loss of income? Gov-Relations can help you explore the best solutions for your family! Check out our website explaining the application process for various financial assistance programs geared toward low-income households.

How To Get Free Government Money

You can get grants for families in hardship from the government, but you will need to demonstrate a genuine need for assistance and meet certain income limits. You can look up government grants online using the steps below.

  • Step1: Go to, the official grants page of the government. There are over 1,000 grant options to choose from. 
  • Step 2: See what hardship grants provide you with fast cash that is available and how to apply for them. Indicate whether you’re registering as a person or a business.
  • Step 3: By clicking on Grants, you can see the entire chart. It tells you how many grants are available, how much time you have to apply, and who is eligible.
  • Step 4: You can download the application form once you’ve picked the right grant for you. Complete the data fields and email the form to the concerned program. You will be given a response time for the hardship grants that provide you with fast cash.

What Are Hardship Grants For Single Mothers?

The government provides financial assistance to its constituents living near or below the poverty line through grants and programs. Federal grants generally have different requirements based on their target markets. For instance, let's talk about grants for single mothers. As the name suggests, these programs help single mothers pay for various necessities, such as:

  • Housing: The federal housing program helps homeless parents living on the streets, renting cheap motel rooms, or sleeping in their cars secure a permanent home.
  • Meals: Single moms can rely on The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) for food stamps, although some households might qualify for daily food provisions.
  • School Tuition: If federal student loans seem too steep, you can turn to programs like the Pell Grant. It helps students from broken families get through college. Eligibility criteria vary, but the program often prioritizes minorities and people of color.

Grants And Programs Offering Free Money From Government

“The following is a list of all the grants for families in hardship that offer free money from the government.”

1. Pell Grants 

The US Department of Education’s Office of Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) provides Pell Grants to low-income students to help them pay for college. You can use it to pay for items like tuition, lodging, food, books, and more.

The Pell Grant helps more students finish postsecondary education than any single school program. Statistics show that 34% of undergraduate students in the U.S. receive an average of $4,400. Moreover, more than half of these awardees belong to families that make less than $20,000 per annum in combined income.

What To Know When Applying

You must first fill out a FAFSA application to qualify for a Pell Grant. To be eligible for federal student aid, you must complete the FAFSA form each year you attend school and demonstrate financial need. 

Moreover, Pell Grants are normally only given to undergraduate students who demonstrate great financial need and have not yet achieved a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree.

2. The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

The US Department of Energy offers the Weatherization Assistance Program, where homeowners can qualify for financial aid if they make energy-saving upgrades to their homes. You can obtain up to $2,500 from the government to insulate your home, install storm windows, or find other energy-saving measures through this program.

Although WAP provides a long-term solution to energy efficiency, it doesn't help applicants pay utility bills directly. You can only use the funds to minimize your home's energy consumption. However, the government is quite generous with WAP benefits. The program has already helped more than seven million households in the past four decades.

What To Know When Applying 

Remember to contact your state weatherization agency—not the Department of Energy. This tip might seem like a given, but you'd be surprised at the number of applicants who mistakenly reach out to DOE call center volunteers.

Also, they'll have slightly different requirements. But expect most states to prioritize households that live 200% below the poverty line or support seniors.

3. Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Low-income individuals can acquire free money from the government with the help of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The department administers the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This benefit program assists low-income families that do not have the financial means to meet the expense of heating and cooling their houses. This can be especially crucial for families who see a significant portion of their monthly income go towards energy bills.

This program makes it easy for you to pay your heating and electricity bills. You may see the eligibility conditions on the website for each state’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

LIHEAP typically pays differently based on your state of residence. However, recent reports indicate that most states increase their maximum grants by around $500, so you can receive up to $1,500 in the best-case scenario. Of course, you can always contact your local LIHEAP agency for more details.

What To Know When Applying 

LIHEAP typically caters to families making less than $20,000 per annum. Also, declare any seniors or disabled household members qualified for any other government benefits programs to increase your chances of getting approved.

4. Tax Advice Program For The Elderly (TCE)

The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) helps prepare basic tax returns for people over 60. This initiative saves seniors money by eliminating the need to engage a tax professional. The program provides free assistance to those seeking income, retirement, pensions, and taxes information. 

The TCE will reach an even wider audience moving forward. Statistics show that 10.6 million older adults over 65 still work, so they'll need extra support in filing taxes on their earned and unearned income. Otherwise, they might miss out on several tax breaks. 

What To Know When Applying 

Ignore all emails inviting you to sign up for TCE online. The IRS doesn't require aspiring TCE candidates to submit applications, but you will need to reach out to them yourself. Find your local TCE site through its locator tool.

5. Child Care And Development Fund

The Child Care and Development Fund is managed by the Department of Health and Human Services. This fund, acting as a childcare assistance program, can alleviate the financial stress on low-income families by subsidizing child care costs.

Don't feel afraid to apply. The CCDF serves as one of the most widely known and trusted child care assistance programs in the U.S. No other children program even comes close. In fact, the CCDF provides more than  1.4 million children with better lives every month. You'll receive some form of assistance as long as you live below the poverty line.

What To Know When Applying 

CCDF benefits vary per state. However, most families can expect to receive grants corresponding to their household size. For instance, a one-person family could receive under $3,000. However, a three-person family might get more than $4,700 depending on their income status.

6. Rural Home Repair Grant And Loan Program 

The Rural Home Repair Loan and Grant Program offers loans and incentives for rural home upgrades and repairs. These loans and grants of up to $7500 are available for the course of a 20-year payback period, for which 1% interest will be charged. This government-funded initiative can help fix or remove hazardous structures, such as lead paint and collapsed structures. 

The Rural Home Repair Grant And Loan Program typically caters to low-income homeowners with seniors or disabled household members living below the poverty line. Also, you can only apply for urgent repairs. The program doesn't support modifications and upgrades geared toward pure aesthetics.

What To Know When Applying 

Again, you'll have to pay back the amount you receive from the Rural Home Repair Grant And Loan Program. The program follows a 1% APY and 20-year max loan term length. If you qualify for the maximum loanable amount of $20,000, you'll have to pay back around $100 every month.

7. SBA Loan To Start A Business

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a US government organization that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. If you need money to start your small business, you can get an SBA loan. 

There are thousands of development centers across the country that offer this type of credit. This loan comes with very low-interest rates, making them a better option than a bank loan.

Don't limit yourself to just one or two programs. SBA partners with dozens of lenders, so you can choose from several loan programs that might suit you and your vision. Also, note that SBA only provides direct business loans in special cases. For instance, if a storm ruined your brick-and-mortar shop, you can ask the SBA for help with recovery.

What To Know When Applying 

Please cooperate with the volunteer handling your application. Otherwise, you'll get disqualified right from the get-go. Apart from connecting you with the most suitable lender based on your location, they'll also assess your financial situation, income level, and business model feasibility.

8. FHA Down Payment Grant

When buying a new house, people find it difficult to come up with the needed down payment. The FHA Down Payment Grant is a supplemental government program to assist you with your home mortgage down payment. 

Some states, for example, will contribute up to 5% of the total mortgage amount in down payments and closing costs. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers this financial assistance program.

The FHA Down Payment Grant typically shoulders 3.5% of the property's value. If you qualify for the lowest FHA loan program and a down payment grant simultaneously, you'll only have to cover sales closing costs.

What To Know When Applying 

Although you can utilize the FHA loan program on any real estate property that you've lived in for one full calendar year, avoid using the FHA Down Payment Grant for secondary homes. Otherwise, the committee might ban you. They have stringent screening requirements and only support low-income applicants who truly can't afford to put down payments on loans.

 9. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

You can apply for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunities Grant (FSEOG) if you are in desperate need of financial support. This is a “supplemental” grant, as the name implies. You can get money from the Department of Education from $100 to $4,000. Remember that your need determines the amount you receive, so keep that in mind before applying.

As long as you live near or within the poverty line, you'll receive some form of FSEOG benefit, or the FSA will at least recommend a suitable program. However, don't expect FSEOG to cover all your school expenses. Although the benefits vary per state, qualified candidates typically get $100 to $4,000 per school year.

What To Know When Applying 

Note that not all colleges and universities participate in the FSEOG. For this reason, please consult your school's financial aid department first before reaching out to the FSA for assistance programs. Otherwise, you'll just waste your time.

10. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program 

You can get free tax preparation through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. As part of its compliance and outreach initiatives, the IRS provides this service. If you have a modest income and make less than $54,000 in a year, you can get your taxes done for free. 

VITA is a free service available to anybody, but it is especially useful for low-income persons, those with impairments, and people who speak English as a second language.

The VITA program has relatively lenient requirements. Unlike other programs on this list, VITA helps disabled, senior, and non-English-speaking applicants if they make around $54,000 per annum. But you have to demonstrate the need for tax filing assistance. 

What To Know When Applying 

Similar to the TCE program, aspiring candidates won't need to apply online. Instead, reach out to your local VITA site and coordinate with one of their volunteer or social workers. They'll point you to the nearest center. You can expect most tax planning sessions to be held at schools, malls, and shopping districts for easy accessibility. 

11. Childcare and Child Health

Your children may be eligible for low-cost or even free health insurance. Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are examples of government health insurance programs that one can utilize for this purpose. 

Checkups, hospital treatment, immunizations, medications, mental health services, and doctor visits are the various low-cost or free services you can get through this program. It’s crucial to know that there are state-specific programs, and the healthcare providers in your area are likely to join. 

Parents may find low-cost health insurance options for their children on  

The Child Health Insurance Program supports a broader range of families. More than 9.6 million kids are enrolled in the program. Your eligibility depends on the type of applicants in your state, but the grant generally accommodates families making up to $50,000 per annum.

What To Know When Applying 

Please note that the Child Health Insurance Program requirements vary per state, so don't just reach out to Medicaid. Instead, contact your local provider. Also, make sure to disclose any special health complications that might prevent your kids from getting standard insurance.

12. Access Unclaimed Money

Sometimes people fail to claim the money that is owed to them. You can find unclaimed funds by going to the website Every year, people benefit from the unclaimed cash on this portal. This site is designed to assist you with money that you may have forgotten about in various ways. You have the right to claim this unclaimed money and put it to your use.

The Department of Treasury encourages everyone to try out the search feature on, even if they think they don't have unclaimed property. You might find an unplanned surprise. Statistics show that 1 in 10 people have unclaimed assets, so it's not impossible to find an old check or security deposit box that you already forgot about.

What To Know When Applying 

If you find unclaimed property, your local site will direct you to your state's Claim It website (i.e., Also, set aside some time for the paperwork. Most states need one to two months to process applications and verify identities.

What To Know About Government Grants In The U.S.

Before diving into the different grants for single mothers, let's first assess what they are and what they're not. The federal government provides grants to support its constituents while stimulating the economy.

These programs support different sectors. And most applicants who qualify for them typically have a dire need for financial assistance and make insufficient income. The federal government doesn't provide "free" money or cash grants. You need to meet stringent requirements and undergo screening through local grant agencies to receive financial assistance.

For this reason, stay away from free grants. Any email or text stating you qualified for free grants, especially if you didn't submit any prior application, is a scam. Please report them to the Federal Trade Commission right away. Don't engage with the sender or click embedded links because you'll only put yourself in trouble.

1. Government Hardship Grants For Unemployed Mothers

If you are unemployed and have exhausted your unemployment benefits, it implies you’ve used up all of the benefits that state law permits you to claim in a given year. Ideally, it would help if had started a new job by that time, but this does not always happen. 

You can file for a benefits extension by submitting your claim at the end of your benefit year and possibly receiving benefits again. You may be eligible for a federal unemployment extension if your state unemployment claim has run out. The federal government provides emergency unemployment compensation to states to extend the benefits. 

Single mothers often struggle financially if they have spent most of their marriage unemployed. You can't just jumpstart your old career. Unfortunately, the Pew Research Center states that three in five children have stay-at-home moms.

If you need financial assistance while looking for work, look into small business grants and daycare grants. The funds from SBA can create a new source of income. Meanwhile, extra financial help for daycare fees will help you better focus on work.

What To Know When Applying 

  • Explore the different housing, business, and daycare grants so that you won't have to shoulder child care fees alone
  • Seek help from ethnicity-based nonprofit organizations backed by minority grants
  • Don't forget to collect child care from your ex-husband 

2. Financial Hardship Grants For Young Single Moms Without Work

Unemployment is a burden, but young unemployed persons or recent graduates under the age of 30 can take advantage of various educational and occupational training alternatives. In a typical study center, students receive professional training for a portion of the day. 

What’s more, they can now take the technical portion of the course at a company that has a contract for training and apprenticeships. In addition, scholarship programs are available that help students cover transportation and housing costs. 

You'll have trouble shouldering child care fees as a new divorcee if you're currently out of work. Luckily, several child-only grants can support basic needs. Moreover, since you're an unemployed single parent, your household falls way below the poverty line. Hence, you'll qualify for most assistance programs.

What To Know When Applying 

  • Look into housing grants your ex asked you and your kid to move out
  • Educational assistance programs like Pell Grants can support your school program scholarship applications
  • Apply for child care access right away if you don't have income

3. Government Financial Hardship Grants For Veterans

Transitioning from the military to civilian life can be a challenge. We owe the nation’s war veterans our respect and gratitude as Americans. There are limited resources available to assist those experiencing financial issues resulting from deployment or other military-related injuries. 

Trying to pay for medical expenses, housing, or necessities adds to the stress of a significant move for soldiers and their families. Fortunately, veterans can choose from various organizations that assist them in financial need.

Economic insecurity is prominent among veterans. Research indicates that out of 22.5 million U.S. veterans, 1.4 million live below the poverty line, while 19,7000+ don't have a primary residence. Their service during the past wars has made them heroes. The government acknowledges this fact, and it provides several grants and assistance programs geared toward veterans and their families struggling financially.

What To Know When Applying 

  • You can still apply for several veteran grants even if only your husband served in the military.
  • Divorcees may be eligible for a portion of their ex-husband's veteran grants.
  • Single mothers dependent on their veteran parents might qualify for some assistance.

4. Government Hardship Grants For Young Mothers Who Are College Students

Scholarships are monetary donations to students that they are not obligated to pay back. Educational institutions, employers, individuals, private enterprises, non-profit organizations, communities, religious groups, and social organizations offer thousands of scholarships each year. Scholarships are available to those with modest financial resources and are also awarded based on merit.

You can get a scholarship by meeting or exceeding specific criteria set forth by the scholarship providers. Academic success or a combination of academics and a talent, trait, or unique interest can earn you a merit-based scholarship. Many scholarships target certain demographics; for example, there are scholarships for women and graduate students. 

Research shows that a year of postsecondary education at public and private schools average $20,000 and $40,000, respectively. Unfortunately, most single moms can't afford these fees. If you make less than $2,000 per month, you still won't have enough even if you set aside all your earnings for your kid's education.

What To Know When Applying 

  • Most educational grants are geared toward undergraduate students
  • Post-baccalaureate educational assistance depends on your field of expertise
  • You can use grants and scholarships simultaneously

5. Government Hardship Grants For Single Mothers.

Single mothers can apply for various subsidies if they are the head of the household and have at least one economic dependent. Single mothers frequently confront the difficult task of managing home finances for themselves and their children independently. 

Financial difficulties are common among single mothers. They must not only pay the family’s bills, but they must also make additional payments to daycare facilities and childcarers while they are at work. One of the most successful programs, the Emergency Grants for Single Mothers, is worth mentioning. 

The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, Supplemental Food Assistance Program (also known as SNAP or food stamps), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, a temporary cash assistance program), and Medicaid are typically available through the department of human or social services in your city or county. 

The US government has around 900 programs geared at assisting single mothers. You can contact your local human or social services department for further information on existing programs, eligibility requirements, and how to apply.

Unfortunately, no hard single mother can apply for hardship grants individually. However, several local grant agencies and human service centers backed by grants use their funding to support unemployed mothers raising their children alone. You can rely on educational, medical, and housing support.

What To Know When Applying 

  • Look into different grants and financial assistance programs geared toward children
  • Reach out to your local grant agencies and health/human services centers
  • Single moms with disabled, senior, or POC household members have access to more programs

6. Government Hardship Grants For Housing, Food, Mortgage, And Rent 

Various government subsidies and programs are available to help the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and people who cannot afford to pay their mortgages or rentals. Housing issues are addressed by the federal government, state governments, local charities, local churches, and community organizations, which provide shelter and assistance with rent payments. 

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program provides counseling for all housing needs, household supplies, and other necessities for low-income and needy families. Rent or mortgage payments, security deposits, moving costs, and food supplies are all covered by the EFSP.

The government provides grants you can use to secure a safe, clean, and secure living space. You'll either get a loan or grant benefits. Although loans come with a monthly amortization, many programs have super-low annual interest rates and extremely lengthy terms.

What To Know When Applying 

  • Home repair grants only cover urgent modifications to make your home safe and livable
  • You'll have to pay back most housing loans
  • Only a handful of homeless individuals living over 300% below the poverty line have a shot at getting 100% free housing.

Government Hardship Grants For COVID-19 Pandemic 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the authorities to impose economic measures to deal with the crisis that has claimed the lives of millions of people around the world. The administration has authorized a package of economic and social measures to reduce the impact of the crisis, particularly among the most vulnerable people.

The government has passed many legislations to combat the financial impact of COVID-19, including unemployment assistance and loans to the unemployed, self-employed people, and small businesses. 

People struggling financially due to the pandemic, individuals who have lost their employment, and enterprises that have been shut down during the pandemic are being offered financial hardship help by the government in the form of money through direct benefits transfer systems.

The government has been providing various forms of financial assistance throughout the pandemic. Medical assistance programs were made more accessible for critical patients, while annual stimulus checks were distributed to stimulate the economy and restore consumer purchasing power.

What To Know When Applying 

  • Expect fewer assistance programs now that the country is regaining a sense of normalcy
  • Try seeking housing assistance if your landlord recently evicted you
  • The government prioritizes senior and disabled low-income applicants who need urgent medical attention

Who Can Get A Hardship Grant?

Technically, the federal government doesn't provide hardship grants to individuals. It only awards these specific grants to local government agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, and other groups. After which, these bodies distribute the benefits to their members. As such, avoid cash-only grants or personal grants promising free money because they're likely scams.

However, you can qualify for benefits programs backed by family grants if you:

  • Have no permanent residence. The Public Housing Program can help homeless people who sleep on the streets, live in their cars, or crash at different houses.
  • Are raising children alone. Single moms can utilize the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), and Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program (CCAMPIS) to provide their children with a better life.
  • Need urgent medical assistance. Several governments and private institutions provide help patients with severe illnesses shoulder various expenses. Look into Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program.

Tips On How To Get Hardship Grants

Is this your first time reaching out to grant agencies focused on health and human services? Low-income households have access to dozens of financial aid programs. Although having several options feels reassuring, newbies might feel overwhelmed by the requirements.

To ensure that you receive the necessary financial support you need, follow these tips:

Do The Research  

Please do further research if you still find personal government grants confusing. Again, personal grants don't exist. You can only benefit from government-funded grants through assistance programs and grant agencies, but the government doesn't award grants to individuals.

For instance, you can reach out to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)—otherwise known as welfare—for financial help. However, you can't get an entire family grant program for yourself. 

Make A List

List down the different financial assistance programs that suit your family's needs. Applying for financial aid is easier than most first-timers fear, and applicants only fail if they apply for programs that don't match them. Fortunately, you can avoid this issue by planning your applications beforehand. 

Work On Your Personal Statement

Prepare to share your story several times during the process. Although every particular program has differing requirements, government and private organizations backed by grants only support applicants in need. For instance, let's say you want to apply for child care access. You might have to submit a personal statement of your case, plus income reports proving you live below the poverty line.

Review Your Application

Review your application multiple times before submitting it. Remember: most agencies will take weeks to process your paperwork, and you won't want to waste that time going back and forth with missing requirements.

Beyond assistance for single mothers, there are broader avenues to explore. Delve into our latest post on how to get free money from the government through government hardship grants. Empower your financial journey with this expanded knowledge on available aid.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hardship Grants In The U.S.

Learn more about the different between financial assistance programs and grants for single mothers.

Can you get a free scholarship?

Don't solely rely on a federal student loan for tuition. With the increasing cost of U.S. education and rising unemployment rates, many families can no longer afford to send their kids  to college. As such, consider applying for scholarships. 

Apart from federal student aid, you can seek scholarship opportunities from your local grant agencies, universities, high school alma mater, parents' employers, and ethnicity-based organizations.

What are Federal Pell Grants?

The Federal Pell Grant program helps low-income families gain access to postsecondary education. Most applicants consist of undergraduate students. However, you might qualify for post-baccalaureate educational assistance depending on your field. Remember: grants aren't private loans. Neither you nor your qualifying child has to pay anything back upon approval.

Are there hardship grants for single mothers?

The government doesn't provide hardship grants for single mothers directly. However, several local grant agencies backed by federal government grants provide struggling broken families and breadwinners with financial aid.

If you’re having trouble making ends meet, you may be eligible for federal government assistance programs that can help you put food on the table, pay for living expenses, and pay for healthcare. You should also look into what grants are available in your state.

Looking to secure more financial stability? Learn how to navigate government hardship grants in our latest blog post. Empower yourself with the knowledge to secure the funds you deserve.

In need of dental care as a single mom but can’t afford it? Check out our article about dental grants for single mothers?

Are you interested in learning about how you can get free laptops for students? Gov-Relations has many resources you can visit today to learn more!

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.
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