Help for Single Mothers in Pennsylvania

Last Updated on January 30, 2024 by Lori Pace

Single mothers who do not receive proper support often face serious obstacles to achieving financial independence. They are constantly vulnerable to poverty because they have limited resources. Due to the difficulties these people in Pennsylvania face, many programs were designed to help these single mothers. Each program has specific guidelines that applicants must adhere to. 

The programs are designed to address the needs of vulnerable individuals that qualify for them. Services include childcare, food, and medical assistance. These programs were created to help single mothers who are struggling. 

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The Pennsylvania Cash Assistance Program is designed to help Pennsylvanians with their expenses, such as food, housing, medical care, utilities, and other miscellaneous costs. You must sign an agreement that includes work engagement activities that lead to employment in order to qualify for the program.

Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The state is the sole sponsor of this program. Eligible applicants receive a benefit to assist them in purchasing food and other supplements. Single applicants can expect to receive at least $16 while a family with three members will get $379. After registration, qualified individuals are issued the Pennsylvania EBT assessment card that can be used to purchase food at any supermarket or grocery store in the state. For more information, interested applicants can call the Department of Public Welfare helpline at 1-800-692-7492. They can also visit their local county office or search online for SNAP.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

The federal government sponsors this program to help eligible women who are breastfeeding, postpartum or pregnant. The program also includes children and infants younger than 18 years. For this program to qualify, applicants must reside in Pennsylvania, be certified as being at nutritional risk, and earn less than 185% of the FPL. For more information about how to apply, interested applicants can their website,

Medical Assistance

Medicaid offers health insurance to residents of Pennsylvania that qualify. This program is different from conventional health insurance plans in that it does not require individuals to pay any money for its services. This program has been expanded to cover all Pennsylvanians aged 19-64, who are uninsured. It also covers those with incomes between 133% and the FPL guidelines. The program is open to all Pennsylvanians who are 19-64 that do not have insurance. It also covers those whose income falls within the FPL guideline of 133%. Interested parties can apply to participate in this program and can also renew their medical assistance membership using the online compass portal for Pennsylvania Health and Human Service programs or call the customer service center at 1-866-550-4355.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

This program offers health coverage for children who do not have insurance and whose parents are not eligible for Medicaid. This program is to help children who are born into families with incomes below the 314% FPL guideline and single mothers earning less than $64,100 per year in Pennsylvania. While this program is free for many families, some may have to pay a copay if their income is higher than the guideline for CHIP. Note that Alaskan natives and children of American Indians are not required to pay for services. Click to apply for the CHIP program.

Select Plan for Women

The Select Plan Program provides women with confidential healthcare services. Women must be aged between 18 and 44 to qualify for the program. This program offers free birth control and health exams, among other benefits. Previously, the Family Planning Service program managed this program. It is now an independent program. Individuals, including single mothers, must reside in Pennsylvania and have an income that is within the 215% FPL guidelines. They must also not be covered by private insurance. To apply, applicants can visit the portal online or contact the nearest country assistance office or family planning clinic. To apply for this program, interested applicants should visit the Select Plan for Women in Pennsylvania online portal or through the country assistance office, or any family planning clinics nearest to them.

Pennsylvania Child Care Works

Child Care Works, a program in Pennsylvania that provides subsidized child care to low-income families, helps them afford quality childcare. Families earning up to 195% federal poverty level, or $42,800 per year for a mother with two children, are eligible for childcare subsidies.

Participants must work a minimum of 20 hours per week, or at least 10, and attend a training program approved at least 10 times a month. Call the Child Care Works Helpline at 1-877-4 PA-KIDS for more information. Your local Child Care Information Services can provide you with information and assistance.

Pennsylvania Head Start

Head Start is a program that promotes school readiness in children from low-income households between the ages of 3 and 5 years. This is done by providing a comprehensive set of educational, health, nutrition, and social services to prepare children for school and adult life.

Families with incomes up to 100% of the federal poverty line are eligible. They offer free preschool programs in centers or at home. You can apply for Head Start and Early Head Start through the local Head Start grantee. Find the Head Start program in your area using the Provider Locator in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Housing Choice Voucher Program in Pennsylvania, or Section 8 of the Single Mother Guide provides vouchers for low-income families and individuals who want to rent a unit on the public housing market.

Section 8 will cover the remaining 30% of rent and utilities for families who qualify. Pennsylvania’s HCV waiting list has been closed. You can check your status by contacting 215-684-4300 or online.

Pennsylvania Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income households pay their heating bills. This one-time payment will be sent directly to the utility company or fuel supplier and credited to your bill.

The LIHEAP Crisis Program may provide additional benefits to households who are experiencing a heating emergency. These benefits can reach up to $800. You can contact the LIHEAP hotline by dialing 1-866-857-7095 if you are in need of help with your heating bill or if there is an emergency. The crisis line is open 24 hours per day.

Pennsylvania Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance is a state program to help replace a portion of lost wages if you lose your job for no reason. You can receive supplemental income if you meet the requirements set out by the law. This is up to 26 weeks of full pay in one year.

In Pennsylvania, the maximum weekly unemployment benefit is 861 dollars until September 6, 2021. The maximum weekly benefit cap is $594 per week after that.

You may qualify for $100 extra per week if you are self-employed, but not eligible for Pandemic Employment Assistance (PUA). You can submit your claim online or call 1-888-313-7284, the toll-free number for the entire state.

Pennsylvania State Grant Program

The Pennsylvania State Grant Program provides financial aid to Pennsylvanians with a high need for college. The amount of the award depends on financial need, tuition costs, and available funds. The minimum award for applicants who are attending Pennsylvania-approved institutions is $500.

Fill out the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, by May 1 of each year. Also, complete the Pennsylvania State Grant form.

Bottom Line About Help For Single Mothers In Pennsylvania

There is a big variety to choose from when it comes to asking for assistance. The federal government and nonprofits work hard to support the community they are in, the best that they can. To learn more about other assistance offered to help single mothers in the state of Pennsylvania, visit these articles:

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!