Financial Help for Single Mothers in Mississippi

The roles of parents are equally divided between a mother and father. For single mothers, these roles are never shared.

They shoulder a huge responsibility of raising children alone. More often that not, it’s a struggle — both financially and emotionally.

In Mississippi, single mothers could rely on the government for support on many aspects of their daily living.

Though it isn’t a guaranteed entitlement, these programs serve as a shoulder to lean on in times of need.

1Mississippi Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The Mississippi TANF program, administered by the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS), provides temporary assistance for needy families with children up to age 18 who have little or no resources to meet their everyday needs.

The amount of benefits is based on the family’s income. In Mississippi, monthly payments are limited to no more than $110 for the first person1 or $170 a month to a family of three — the lowest in the country.

Once accepted into the program, all adult recipients who are not exempt are required to participate in the TANF Work Program; as a condition of receiving benefits.

2Mississippi Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Mississippi SNAP provides monthly benefits that help low income households buy the food they need for for sound nutrition and well-balanced diet. The program issues electronic benefits that help stretch their food budget.

Anyone may apply for food stamp benefits but the program is designed to help those who need food assistance most — low-income families, the elderly & disabled, and Mississippians on public assistance.

3Mississippi Medicaid

Mississippi Medicaid is a health care program that helps pay for medical services for low-income Mississippians who meet the program’s eligibility requirements.

In order to qualify for Medicaid, you must be either pregnant, have a disability or be responsible for children under 19 years of age, or be 65 years of age or older.

As Mississippi is not expanding Medicaid coverage, Medicaid eligibility for parents remains very low at 27% of poverty — that’s about $5,300 a year for a single mother of two. However, you may purchase insurance through Marketplace with premium tax credits that lower the cost of insurance.

4Mississippi Health Benefits (CHIP)

Health Benefits is free or low cost insurance for children and teens in Mississippi. It provides health, dental and vision coverage to uninsured children who do not qualify for Medicaid.

There are no premiums or deductibles, although there may be a small co-payment for some services for higher-income families on CHIP.

In Mississippi, children with family incomes up to 214% of poverty or about $42,300 for a single mother of two are eligible for CHIP. While those between 138% – 196% of poverty qualify for Medicaid coverage.

5Mississippi Child Care Certificate Program

The Child Care Certificate Program is a federally funded program designed to provide parents with assistance with child care tuition. Parents may choose any type of child care while participating in this program.

Parents who meet the income and work requirement will be responsible for paying their child care provider a monthly co-payment fee. For more information, call 1-800-877-7882.

Beginning January 2014, paper application will no longer be accepted. Families interested in applying for the Child Care Certificate Program must complete the online application along with other relevant documents.

6Mississippi Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

The Mississippi Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides a one-time financial assistance to eligible households to help pay the cost of home energy bills.

To qualify for the program, applicants must have an income that falls within the program guidelines. Priority is granted to households that pay a high proportion of their income for home energy.

7Mississippi Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance provides temporary financial assistance to workers Mississippians through no fault of their own — for up to 26 weeks. Benefit amounts range from a minimum of $30 to a maximum of $235 per week.

Part of the requirement for continuing to receive a weekly unemployment check is that you must be actively seeking a job each week until you find one.

There are three ways to register: online, at the WIN Job Center nearest you, or by phone. To register and file your claim for unemployment benefits via the Internet, click here or you may file your claim by calling 1-888-844-3577.

8Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG)

MATG is available for Mississippi’s financially needy students attending state approved public and nonprofit two-year and four-year eligible colleges and universities. Priority is for Pell Grant recipients with unmet need.

MTAG awards may be up to $500 per academic year for freshmen and sophomores and $1,000 per academic year for juniors and seniors.

9Higher Education Legislative Plan (HELP)

HELP is designed to provide tuition assistance to Mississippi students whose financial need, as demonstrated by federal student aid eligibility, are not met from other sources.

Applicants must be attending an eligible Mississippi institution, must have a minimum ACT score of 20 and an average gross income of $36,500 or less over the prior two years.

To apply for HELP, you need to complete both the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and an online application along with the HELP Worksheet (also referred to as the Household Verification Worksheet).

  1. Mississippi DHS, Income, Resource & Benefit Guidelines []