Help for Single Mothers in District of Columbia


In today’s economy, single moms often find it tough just to make ends meet — especially those from the lower income families.

Despite working multiple jobs, the majority of them are still earning poverty wages.

Living paycheck to paycheck, single mothers struggle to pay the bills and to keep a roof over their head.

Thankfully, the State of District of Columbia, as with most U.S. states, realizes their plight and offers its own set of support programs.


1District of Columbia Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)


TANF provides temporary cash assistance to needy families with dependent children under 19 years of age whose income barely enough to make ends meet.

A central component of the TANF program is its emphasis on work. Adult TANF recipients must participate in work activities as a condition of receiving cash benefits, unless otherwise exempted.

You may apply for TANF in person at your Economic Security Administration (ESA) Service Center. To locate your nearest ESA Service Center, call (202) 727-5355.


2District of Columbia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a program that enables low income individuals and families to buy a variety of food staples that is the basis for better nutrition.

You may qualify for SNAP benefits if your household’s gross monthly income is below 130% of the poverty thresholds. The minimum benefit amount in District of Columbia is $16 per month.


3District of Columbia Special Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)


WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) is designed to meet the special nutritional needs of low-income pregnant and breastfeeding women, new mothers, infants and children up to age 5 who are at health risk due to inadequate nutrition.

To be fully eligible for the program, applicants must be determined by a health professional, through a health & diet assessment, to be at nutritional risk.

To apply for the WIC Program in the District of Columbia, call 1 (800) 345-1WIC to schedule an appointment at a WIC site near you.


4District of Columbia Medicaid


Medicaid offers health care coverage for D.C. residents who meet the program’s eligibility requirements for Medicaid. It covers families with children, pregnant women, and people who are aging, blind and disabled.

Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid will now cover uninsured parents with incomes up to 221% of the federal poverty level, or about $43,700 for a single mother of two.

The District of Columbia is operating its own Health Insurance Marketplace, known as DC Health Link — through which D.C. residents can enroll for Medicaid, SCHIP or other private health insurance.


5District of Columbia Healthy Families (SCHIP)


D.C. Healthy Families is for families with children under age 19 and for pregnant women who live in the District of Columbia whose incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid.

The program is free or very low-cost for families who don’t have health insurance. Services covered by DC Healthy Families include doctors visits, vision & dental care, prescriptions, hospitalization, and more.

In the District of Columbia, children with family incomes up to 324% of poverty or about $76,300 for a family of four are eligible for SCHIP or Medicaid.


6District of Columbia Child Care Subsidy


The District of Columbia operates a federally-funded child care assistance program that helps eligible families pay for child care. It provides assistance with payment for child care on a sliding fee basis.

The amount varies based on the your gross monthly income, family size, and type and cost of care AND since it is a subsidy, you may be required to pay for some of the child care costs.

If you’re applying for the first time, you must visit to the Child Care Services Division in person (Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday between 8:15 am – 3:30 pm).

Child Care Services Division
4001 South Capitol Street SW
Washington, DC 20032
(202) 727-0284

As slots are limited, walk-in visits for new applicants are on a “first come, first serve” basis.


7Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)


Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) helps low-income District residents facing housing emergencies. The program provides rental assistance, including security deposits and arrearages, in the form of a one-time payment.

ERAP serves low-income families with children, the elderly (age 60 or older) and people with disabilities who are at imminent risk of homelessness.

Generally, ERAP pays no more than 5 months of overdue rents, and usually no more than a total of $4,250. For security deposits and the first month’s rent, ERAP can pay up to $900.


8District of Columbia Unemployment Insurance


Unemployment insurance (UI) provides temporary unemployment benefits to eligible workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own, and who are ready, willing, and able to work.

In order to qualify for unemployment benefits, you must be a resident of the District of Columbia, have worked in the past 12 to 18 months, and have earned at least a minimum amount of wages as determined by state’s UI guidelines.

UI benefits can be filed online or if you do not have access to the internet, you may call the UI call center at 202-724-7000 to file your claim by phone.


9DC Tuition Assistance Grant (DC TAG)


DC TAG is a need-based grant that allows college-bound D.C. residents to attend any public institution in the country as if they are a resident of the school’s state.

DC TAG provides up to $10,000 toward the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition at public four-year colleges and universities anywhere the country.

To be considered for DC TAG, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the DC OneApp Online Application.1 Deadline is May 31 each year.


  1. To complete the DC OneApp, visit www.dconeapp.dc.gov. []