Financial Help for Single Mothers in Hawaii


Although considered as a tropical paradise, Hawaii also has its share of social concerns such as the plight of single mothers.

This is one facet of Hawaii which shows that not everyone here is living their dreams.

The state of Hawaii addresses this concern by extending help to single mothers to help them deal with the struggles of life.

It offers several assistance programs that specifically target the many problems and challenges that they have to deal with everyday.


1Hawaii Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)


The Hawaii TANF provides temporary assistance to financially needy families with children. It is designed to help low-income Hawaiian families become self-supporting.

In order to qualify for TANF benefits, you must be a resident of Hawaii and be responsible for a child under 19 years of age. Pregnant women are also eligible during her 9-month pregnancy.

If you’re eligible, you may receive monthly benefits but limited to a total of 60 months. You must also participate in work related activities for a specified number of hours per week.


Adults without minor dependents ages 18-64 who are temporarily disabled and who do not qualify for public assistance may apply for Hawaii’s General Assistance. Currently, the monthly benefit is about $300 a month for an individual.


2Hawaii Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)


The Hawaii SNAP helps put healthy food within reach for low income Hawaiian. Priority is granted lower income families on public assistance, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

In Hawaii, SNAP benefits are distributed through the state’s Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system which can be used at any grocery store and for services like meals-on-wheels.

Those who have less than $150/month in income and $100 or less in cash may apply for emergency SNAP & have their first benefits within 7 days.


3Hawaii QUEST


As Hawaii is expanding Medicaid coverage, many previously uninsured Hawaiians age 19-64 with income up to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL) may now gain coverage.

In Hawaii, children with family incomes up to 359% of poverty or about $81,7001 for a single mother of two are eligible for Med-Quest as well as pregnant women earning less than 196% FPL.

Hawaii is operating a State-Based Marketplace, known as Hawaii Health Connector — through which you can apply for Med-QUEST or other private health insurance.


4Hawaii Special Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)


WIC is a federally funded program which provides Hawaii residents with nourishing supplemental foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and health and social service referrals.

It serves pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, and infants and children up to age 5 who meet WIC eligibility guidelines; and are considered to be “at nutritional risk”.

To be eligible, you must be a resident of the state of Hawaii with income not exceeding 185% of the federal poverty guidelines.


5Child Care Connection Hawaii (CCCH)


The Child Care Connection Hawaii (CCCH) provides childcare subsidy for eligible families who meet the income eligibility requirements. In general, the family’s income may not exceed 85% of the State Median Income for the family size.

The subsidy 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.

The Preschool Open Doors (POD) program is a separate subsidy program for eligible families with children in the year prior to kindergarten entry. However, funding for POD is limited.


6Hawaii Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)


Hawaii LIHEAP helps pay home heating costs for low-income households, particularly those with the lowest income, that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy.

Priority is granted to households with the elderly (60 years of age & older), disabled or a young child under age 5.

Applications are accepted during the month of June only. If eligible, you’ll receive a one-time credit deposited directly into your utility accounts. To apply, contact the state LIHEAP Program Office at 808-586-5734.


7Hawaii Unemployment Insurance


Unemployment insurance benefits provide temporary financial assistance to workers who become Hawaiians through no fault of their own — for up to 26 weeks.

Hawaii is the only state to provide its unemployed with an average of more than 50% of weekly wages, and its average weekly benefit is $416, the most generous in the country. 2

Effective October 1, 2014, Hawaii’s telephone claim filing will no longer be available. All claims must be filed online. To file a claim, click here.


As a condition of eligibility, you must register for work with the State Workforce Development Division (WDD) within 7 calendar days after the date you applied for unemployment benefits and you must post an online resume in HireNet Hawaii, WDD’s internet job matching system.


8GEAR UP Hawai‘i


GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federal program funded by the U.S. Department of Education that serves low-income middle and high school students in public schools throughout the state.

GEAR UP Hawaii serves over 16,000 public school students in grades 7 to 12 through the first year in college across the State of Hawaii each year.

Lesli Yogi
Business and Community Outreach Specialist
1-866-808-4327 (GEAR)


  1. As of 2014, 100% of the FPL for a family of four is equal to $29,820 in Alaska and $27,430 in Hawaii, compared to $23,850 in the other 48 states. []
  2. Source: Daily Finance – The 10 Best States for Unemployment Benefits []