Financial Help for Single Mothers in New York


The state of New York enjoys the prominence of its capital city in terms of global financial success.

Unfortunately, many New Yorkers are not spared from the crisis brought by global economic downturn.

Not surprisingly, single mothers and those with little or no education fared worst.

In a bid to cushion the impact of recession, the state of New York provides a number of safety net programs to help alleviate their struggle with life’s challenges.


1New York Family Assistance


New York Family Assistance (FA) provides temporary cash assistance to very needy families with children under the age of 18 as well as pregnant women. FA operates under federal TANF guidelines.

As a condition of eligibility, each person who applies for or is receiving FA, is required to comply with federal work requirements to receive FA benefits.

The maximum monthly benefit for a single mother of two with no income living in New York City is $789 — the highest among the contiguous 48 states and the District of Columbia.


FA is one of two programs providing temporary cash assistance in New York. The other is Safety Net Assistance (SNA), a New York State program with no federal participation.


2New York Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)


The SNAP Program provides food support to lower income New Yorkers including working families, the elderly and the disabled to feed their families. Eligibility and benefit levels are based on household size and family’s income.

Eligible SNAP participants are issued a EBT card used to make food purchases at grocery stores and supermarkets, in lieu of paper food stamp coupons.

In New York, eligible families may get $200 monthly benefits up to $1,202 for a family of eight. For an application as well as eligibility pre- screening, go to ACCESS NYC.


3New York Medicaid


New York Medicaid is a health care coverage for low-income New Yorkers who couldn’t afford to pay for medical care —mostly uninsured children under age 18, pregnant women, disabled adults and seniors.

As New York is expanding Medicaid eligibility threshold, Medicaid will now cover most New Yorkers age 19-65 with income up to 138% of the federal poverty level.

New York is operating a State-Based Marketplace, known as NY State of Health — through which you can apply for Medicaid, CHPlus or other private health insurance.


4New York Child Health Plus (CHPlus)


If you’re looking for health coverage for your children, New York State has a health insurance plan for kids, called Child Health Plus or CHPlus.

Under the ACA, CHPlus covers uninsured children from families with incomes up to 405% of the federal poverty level or about $80,150 annually for a single mother of two.

Starting January 1, 2014, you must apply for Child Health Plus coverage through the NY State of Health Marketplace. For assistance, please call 1-800-4543.


5New York Special Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)


The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program is a special supplemental food program for women, infants, and children up to the age of five. All applicants must be income eligible and be individually determined by a health professional to be “at nutrition risk”.

It provides nutritious foods along with nutrition education, breastfeeding support and information on where to apply for free or low-cost health care or other needed services in the community.

Participants in an adjunct program — Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), TANF, Head Start, Early Head Start are automatically eligible for the program.


6New York Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)


CACFP provides nutritious meals and snacks to infants and children as a regular part of their day care. It aims to improve the quality of nutrition offered at a critical time in young children’s development.

The majority of CACFP participants are preschool-aged children up to 12 years of age. Eligibility is based either on the poverty status of the area or on the family income of the enrolled children.

If you have questions about the Child and Adult Care Food Program, contact the New York State Department of Health at 1-800-942-3858.


7New York Subsidized Child Care


The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) provides free or low cost child care to eligible families living in New York City. Fees for child care services, if any, are based on a sliding scale.

Eligibility is based on family’s income and reasons for needing child care. In general, families with incomes below 200% of the State Income Standard (SIS) or about $39,580 for a family of three may qualify for assistance.

Find out if you qualify for subsidized child care.

If you’re interested in subsidized child care, you should apply by contacting ACS-funded programs in your area. Go to 311 Online to search for ACS-funded child care programs near you.


8New York pre-Kindergarten Program


There are free pre-K programs in NY public schools that are approved by the New York City Department of Education but provided by community organizations. These programs usually last 2½ to 6 hours of a school day.

To enroll in the program, contact public schools directly to inquire about admissions or to get on their waitlists. The full list of public schools offering pre-K programs can be found in the Pre-Kindergarten Directory.


9New York Section 8 Assistance Program


Section 8 helps lower income families in NYC obtain a decent place to live in at a rent they can afford. Eligible families are issued a housing voucher to search for a unit in neighborhoods of their choice.

The program works as a rent subsidy allowing families to pay a reasonable share of their income for rent with NYCHA making up the difference up to a specific limit.


NYCHA is currently not accepting applications. When NYCHA begins accepting applications, there will be a public notice and you may apply based on that notice’s requirement.


10New York Unemployment Insurance


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

As a condition of eligibility, you are required to actively seek suitable employment during each week in which you are claiming benefits.

If you’re filing for the first time, sign in with your NY.GOV ID and follow the instructions to file a claim. If you wish to file over the phone, call 1-888-209-8124 (NYS residents) or 1-877-358-5306 (Out-of-State residents).


11New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)


The New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is a need-based grant that helps eligible New York students pay tuition at an approved postsecondary institution in New York State (NYS). Depending on the academic year in which you apply, an annual TAP award can be up to $5,000.

To be eligible for TAP, you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and list a New York State school or college on the form. The TAP application deadline is June 30 of the academic year for which aid is sought.