We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of 70 social welfare programs that you may benefit from as an individual living in the United States.
You’re a single mother struggling to make ends meet. Or perhaps you live with an elderly relative who needs additional care and support. Or maybe you’ve been laid-off recently and you’re not sure how you’re going to pay the bills.
If you’re between a rock and a hard place when it comes to providing for yourself and your family, you should know that there are many grants for single mothers available to help you.
- 1 Our List of 70 Best Social Welfare Programs
Our List of 70 Best Social Welfare Programs
Food and Nutrition Programs
SNAP helps low- to no-income Americans buy food using an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. The card is loaded with monthly benefits, which beneficiaries can use to buy groceries at any participating retailer within their vicinity.
- School Breakfast Program
The School Breakfast Program ensures that children from needy families have access to the most important meal of the day. It provides free or reduced-price breakfast meals to eligible children at all participating schools and child care institutions.
- National School Lunch Program
Like the School Breakfast Program, the National School Lunch Program is aimed at providing healthy lunches to students from low-income households for free or at discounted prices.
This program offers support to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding post-partum women, as well as infants and children up to the age of five who are determined to be at “nutritional risk”. Recipients of the program receive a variety of benefits, including an EBT card or vouchers to buy WIC-approved food items, information on nutrition and breastfeeding, health screenings, and more.
- Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
TEFAP distributes free food to low-income families who are in dire need of assistance. It does this in one of two ways: by delivering the food directly to the household in need or by distributing it among various emergency food providers, such as food banks, soup kitchens, food pantries, and shelters.
- Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
The Child and Adult Care Food Program caters to the nutritional needs of children and adults over sixty years of age who are enrolled at participating daycare facilities. It does this by providing reimbursements for healthy meals and snacks that promote the overall well-being of the recipients.
- Summer Food Service Program
This program ensures that children and teens who benefit from the federal nutrition programs that are offered at their schools, such as the National School Lunch Program, still have access to free healthy meals and snacks when school is not in session.
- Nutrition Programs for the Elderly
These food assistance programs help individuals who are sixty years and older. Most of them are administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service. They include, among others, the Child and Adult Care Program, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program.
- Emergency Food and Shelter Program
This program aids families, individuals, and households who are experiencing food insecurity and/or homelessness as a result of severe economic hardship. The program is administered by various non-profit and governmental organizations, which provide shelter, food, and other supportive services to those in need.
Section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act (1937) provides safe, sanitary housing at affordable rates to low-income families and individuals. Assistance is often in the form of a voucher or subsidy, which beneficiaries can use to acquire a modest home of their choice.
LIHEAP provides federal financial assistance to low-income households by covering a portion of their home energy costs. It will also help to pay for some of the expenses incurred for minor energy-related home repairs. In addition, LIHEAP offers emergency assistance to households experiencing an energy crisis resulting from unsafe heating and cooling practices.
- Single-Family Rural Housing Loans
These loans are designed to help low-income families living in rural areas obtain adequate housing by providing them with payment assistance. Payment assistance is a type of short-term financial aid that subsidizes a portion of the beneficiary’s monthly mortgage payments.
- Rural Rental Assistance Program
This program aids low-income families who reside in Rural Rental Housing (RRH) or Farm Labor Housing (FLH) by reducing the amount of rent they have to pay.
Homelessness Assistance Programs distribute funds among states, local governments, and non-profit organizations that serve to alleviate the plight of homeless families and individuals across the U.S. Some of these programs include the Continuum of Care (COC) Program, the Emergency Solutions Grants Program, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA).
- Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)
This is currently the only federal program that provides housing assistance to low-income individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
- Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program
This program was designed to give low-income, elderly individuals, aged 62 or older, the opportunity to live independently in low-cost housing units with access to various support services. Although no new housing developments have commenced under this program since 2012, the units that were built in previous years continue to house low-income senior residents.
- Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program
Section 811 funds housing projects that provide affordable homes to low-income disabled individuals and the families of disabled individuals who meet the income requirements.
- Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
WAP offers weatherization services to low-income households. The purpose of weatherization is to make homes more energy-efficient. This, in turn, helps low-income families to lower the cost of their utility bills by reducing their energy consumption.
- Indian Housing Block Grants
Federal assistance is given to Federally recognized Indian tribes and tribally designated housing entities (TDHE) through this grant program. It provides a variety of services, including housing counseling, self-sufficiency services, energy auditing, and the establishment of resident organizations.
- Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP)
The NSP provides funding to local and state governments for the resale and/or redevelopment of properties that have been repossessed. This is done to prevent these properties from becoming sites of abandonment and blight within their communities, which could, subsequently, lower the values of surrounding homes.
- Home Investments Partnership Program (HOME)
HOME distributes grants to states and localities that often partner with non-profit organizations to fund a variety of housing projects. These projects build, buy, or renovate low-cost housing units for financially disadvantaged families and individuals. This program also provides direct rental assistance to those who meet the income requirements.
CHIP offers affordable health insurance to children from households whose income exceeds the income limits for Medicaid. CHIP programs are available in each state, with each one having its own set of eligibility requirements.
Medicaid is the largest provider of public health insurance in the U.S. It provides free health insurance and healthcare benefits to low-income adults, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and disabled persons who meet the eligibility requirements.
- Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program
This program offers comprehensive healthcare and support services to low-income Americans living with HIV/AIDS. The program allocates funds to states, cities, counties, and local organizations that help cover the costs of the care and treatment of individuals with HIV.
- Indian Health Service (IHS)
IHS is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal healthcare provider of members of Federally-recognized Native American tribes and Alaskan Natives.
- Title X Family Planning Program
This program is aimed at low-income women who cannot afford health insurance. It provides them with a number of healthcare services at reduced rates, or in some cases, for free. These services include breast and pelvic exams, STD education, screening, and treatment, HIV testing and counseling, access to contraception, and more.
- Consolidated Health Centers
Health Centers are federally-funded establishments that provide healthcare services to all the residents within a given community, particularly to those who do not have access to medical services. This typically includes migrant and seasonal farmworkers, homeless individuals, public housing residents, and children of school-going age.
Financial/Employment Assistance Programs
TANF helps families and individuals with care dependents who are living on or below the breadline by providing them with temporary financial assistance.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
This program is dedicated to helping blind, disabled, and elderly persons by providing them with monthly cash grants and other forms of assistance. It also offers these benefits to the parents of disabled children who meet the income requirements.
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
Earned Income Tax Credit is available to families and individuals who earn low-to-moderate incomes. This is a tax benefit that either reduces the amount of taxes recipients owe or provides them with a refund. The program is targeted at households with children, so couples with children typically earn higher refunds than couples without children.
- Child Tax Credit
Parents with child dependents under the age of 17 may be eligible for Child Tax Credit. This is a tax benefit that is awarded to taxpaying parents to help them support their families.
- Job Corps
Job Corps is a nationwide job training program that helps young people between the ages of 16 and 24 enter the workforce. In addition to allowing students to complete their education and obtain vocational skills, the program also offers transitional support services, such as accommodation, child care, and transportation.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (Employment and Training programs)
Besides providing low-income families with the means to meet their basic nutritional needs, SNAP also offers several Employment and Training programs. These programs are designed to help SNAP participants achieve self-sufficiency by equipping them with the necessary skills to enter the workforce or get promoted in their current position.
- Senior Community Service Employment Program
This program provides employment and training opportunities to low-income individuals aged 55 and older. Participants take part in a variety of community service activities at various non-profit and public facilities, allowing them to gain work experience.
- Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Adult Program
WIOA has several programs that are dedicated to providing workers with various career-related services. The Adult Program is one of these programs. It helps individuals who are 18 years and older find employment and develop their vocational skills.
- Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth Activities
This program is aimed at low-income youth between the ages of 14 and 24. It helps them on the path towards successful careers by providing them with the necessary training and support.
- Adult and Dislocated Worker Program
Persons over 18 years of age and workers who have been laid off due to circumstances beyond their control are eligible for this program. It helps these individuals by offering them training and puts them in touch with employers who are looking for skilled workers who can contribute to the growth of their businesses.
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (employment and training programs)
To be eligible to receive cash benefits from TANF, applicants must take part in various work-related activities. Fortunately, TANF offers several employment and training programs that help recipients on the path to achieving self-sufficiency.
- Targeted Assistance Program for Refugees (TAG)
TAG is aimed at helping refugees achieve self-sufficiency within their first year of participation in the program. This is done by helping them find employment or retain their current position.
Pell grants are the most common type of federal aid offered to undergraduate students who wish to continue their education. Applicants are required to meet certain income requirements to qualify for assistance, and the amount of assistance they receive varies according to their financial needs, the cost of their tuition, and their status as full- or part-time students.
- Academic Competitiveness and Smart Grant Programs
Students who qualify for Federal Pell Grants may also be eligible for the Academic Competitiveness and Smart Grant Programs. These grants are awarded based on the student’s academic performance in certain degree programs, as well as their financial need.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
This program is administered by participating schools across the country. It is available to undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need.
- Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP)
REAP runs two initiatives that are aimed at helping schools in rural areas get access to more funds from Federal grant programs. The two initiatives are the Small Rural School Achievement Program and the Rural and Low-Income School Program.
- Mathematics and Science Partnerships (MSP)
MSP is aimed at improving the academic performance of students in the subject areas of mathematics and science. It does this by promoting better training for teachers who specialize in these subjects.
- Improving Teacher Quality State Grants
This program distributes funds to agencies that offer training and certification programs to teachers and principals. This is to increase the number of highly qualified teachers and principals in American schools, which, in turn, helps to improve the overall academic performance of students.
- Indian Education Program
The Indian Education Program caters to the educational and cultural needs of American Indian and Alaskan Native students.
- Adult Basic Education Grants to States
These grants are used to fund local literacy programs for adults and teens 16 years and older who are not currently enrolled at a secondary education institution.
- Education for the Disadvantaged
Local educational agencies (LEAs) are allocated funds to assist schools with relatively high numbers of underperforming students from low-income households. By giving these schools the means to offer supplemental educational services to these students, they can help them to attain academic success.
- Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program
This program aims to remove and/or alleviate the challenges that homeless children face when it comes to obtaining an education. Its goal is to ensure that all homeless children, preschoolers, and adolescents have access to free basic education.
- 21st Century Community Learning Centers
Community learning centers are establishments that provide children from underprivileged schools with opportunities for academic enrichment through various afterschool activities. These centers also offer literacy programs to the family members of participating children.
- Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR-UP)
GEAR-UP is a program that prepares low-income students for enrollment and success in postsecondary education. It also provides scholarships to deserving students who meet the income requirements.
- Title I Migrant Education Program
This program sees to it that all migrant students obtain a level and standard of education that adequately prepares them for higher learning and employment.
- Federal Work-Study Program
This program aims to assist single parents and other individuals who want to further their education, but who do not have the financial means to do so. It offers them the opportunity to work a part-time job that helps them pay for their college fees while enabling them to acquire valuable work experience at the same time.
- Federal TRIO Programs
These are Federal outreach programs that provide a variety of services to financially disadvantaged students. It includes programs for middle school to post-secondary students.
Welfare Programs for the Elderly
- Older Americans Act Grants for Supportive Services and Senior Centers
Under the Older Americans Act, funds are allocated to senior centers and other agencies that provide supportive services to elderly individuals to help them to remain in their homes for as long as possible.
- Older Americans Act National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP)
The NFCSP provides support to the relatives and/or informal caregivers of elderly individuals, thereby enabling them to stay in their homes for as long as possible.
Welfare Programs for Women and Children
- Head Start
Head Start provides a variety of free services to low-income parents that promote the general well-being and development of young children from birth to age five.
- Early Reading First
This program provides funding and support for early childhood learning centers that focus on developing the cognitive, linguistic, and pre-reading skills of young children. These centers help to prepare the children, who mostly come from low-income backgrounds, for academic success in school.
- Breast/Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
This program partners with non-profit organizations and local health clinics that offer breast and cervical cancer screenings to low-income women for free or at reduced rates.
- Maternal and Child Health Block Grant
Also known as Title V, this program gives mothers and children from low-income households access to quality healthcare. Services include immunization, pre- and post-natal care for pregnant and post-partum women, health screenings, preventive care, and more.
- Child Care and Development Fund
This program enables low-income parents and other caregivers to go to work or get a qualification by giving them access to affordable childcare services.
- Developmental Disabilities Support and Advocacy Grants
These grants are made available to States to assist them in developing and implementing a network of services that help individuals with developmental disabilities become integrated members of society.
- Federal Foster Care Program
Children who are placed in the care of a foster family or licensed childcare institution may be eligible for aid from this program. It provides financial assistance to the caretakers of these children to cover the costs of meeting their basic needs.
- Adoption Assistance
Adoption Assistance is given in the form of subsidies to families who want to adopt a child(ren), particularly those with special needs. In this way, it aims to reduce the number of these children in foster care by removing the financial barriers that make adoption unavailable to many families.
- Chafee Foster Care Independence Program
This program prepares children and teens living in foster care for adulthood through a variety of activities and programs.
- Foster Grandparents
Foster Grandparents is a voluntary initiative that gives older individuals the chance to become role models for troubled youths within their communities.
- Social Services Block Grant
This grant is intended to support the various social service programs that are offered in each State.
Legal Assistance Programs
- Child Support Enforcement Grants
The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) administers funds for programs that promote responsible parenting, thereby ensuring that children receive financial, emotional, and medical support from both parents.
- Federal Government Pro Bono Program
This program helps low-income individuals who require legal assistance by putting them in touch with federal government attorneys who volunteer their services under the program.
- Legal Services Corporation (LSC)
The LSC ensures that individuals from financially disadvantaged backgrounds get access to high-quality legal services.
Whether you need temporary or long-term assistance, help to pay for the bills, or your college tuition, there is a social welfare program available for you.