The financial burden of raising children alone can almost be too much to bear for many single mothers.
Surviving on one income, they are forced to live without adequate means to provide even the barest necessities.
This is where the state of Oregon steps in — providing a safety net to roughly 40% of poor single mother families in the Beaver State.
Through different aid programs — whether food, medical care, or housing assistance, Oregon hopes to lift the financial burden off their shoulders.
The federal EITC is the single most effective anti-poverty program for working families with children. Oregon’s EITC — currently set at 11% the federal credit — built on that success.
The state program, layered on top of the federal credit, can only be claimed by people who earn income through work, and it’s fully refundable, so even if you owe no income tax, you can still claim the full credit amount.
Oregon’s current EITC is one of the lowest among states offering EITCs and, unless expanded, it leaves low‐income Oregonians with significantly higher taxes on their income compared to other states.
Oregon TANF offers temporary cash assistance to families with children up to age 18 as well as pregnant women — and it’s limited to the neediest families with little or no income.
Many eligible families must participate in the JOBS employment and training program,01 which helps them prepare for and find work. The law requires a minimum average of 30 hours of work-related activities per week.
You can apply for TANF by visiting your local DHS Self-Sufficiency office or use OregonHelps to estimate your potential eligibility for cash assistance.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps supplement food budgets for low-income working families and individuals, people on public assistance, seniors and people with disabilities.
Time limits are put in place for some people in the SNAP food assistance program who qualify as “Able-bodied Adults Without Dependents,” also known as “ABAWD.”
People who are ABAWDs must do certain work-related activities for 20 hours a week, or an average of 80 hours, a month to stay eligible for SNAP.
In Oregon, both food and cash benefits are distributed through an “Oregon Trail Card” — the state’s Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system, which can be used to make food purchases or cash withdrawal from an ATM.02
The Oregon Health Plan (OHP) is a state health care coverage program for uninsured low-income Oregonians. Eligible children under age 19 and pregnant women receive the highest level of coverage.
As Oregon is expanding Medicaid coverage, nearly all uninsured Oregonians age 19-64 with income up to 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL) may now gain coverage under the ACA.03
Oregon will be operating a State-Based Marketplace, known as Cover Oregon — through which you can apply for Oregon Health Plan, Healthy Kids and private insurance plans.
05Oregon Healthy Kids
Healthy Kids is a free or low-cost health coverage program for eligible Oregon children, up to age 19, who are not already insured. Eligibility is based on age, residency and income.
Healthy Kids includes, but not limited to, medical, dental, vision, prescription drugs, mental health coverage, and substance abuse treatment.
Under the ACA, Oregon Healthy Kids now covers children with family incomes up to 300% of poverty or about $61,300 for a single mother of two.
There are 3 options for Healthy Kids coverage based on family size and income; no-cost, low-cost, and full-cost.
- For families who fall into the no-cost option do not pay for coverage.
- For families who fall into the low-cost option pay a small portion of the monthly premium on a sliding scale. Families of two to four pay a total of about $50 a month for all kids.
- For the full-cost option, families buy into the program at full cost — ranging from $165 to $475 per child per month, depending on the age of the child and the plan of choice.
In Oregon, the WIC program provides supplemental nutritious foods, nutritious education, health care referrals, and breastfeeding support to nearly 100,000 women, infants, and children up to age 5.
All applicants must be income eligible and be individually determined by a health professional to be “at nutrition risk”. Households with income less than 185% of poverty guidelines are given priority consideration.
Those who can prove fully eligible for Medicaid/Oregon Health Plan, TANF, SNAP/Food Stamps or FDPIR are automatically income eligible for WIC.
Working families whose income is below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level may be eligible for financial help with child care costs. This child care subsidy program is called Employment Related Day Care (ERDC).
This Child Care Copay Calculation tool helps you figure out your eligibility for the subsidy, and if so, how much of the child care bill (the copay) you would be responsible for paying.
ERDC helps parents stay employed, and children well cared-for in stable child care arrangements. Call 1-800-342-6712 for more info about the application process in your area.
Student parents who demonstrate financial need may be eligible for assistance to pay for child care costs through the Oregon Student Assistance Commission.
For more information on Student Child Care Program, contact
Peggy Cooksey, Grants Administrator
OSAC Grant Programs
1-800-452-8807 ext. 7443
Oregon Head Start serves pre-school children ages 3 to 5 from families living at or below the federal poverty level; providing comprehensive educational, health, nutritional, and social services.
Children in foster care, homeless children, and children from families receiving public assistance are automatically eligible for Head Start, regardless of income. Pregnant women and children birth to 3 may apply for Early Head Start.
To find and apply for Head Start (age 3-5) and Early Head Start (prenatal up to age 3) services in your area, use this locator. Each location has a phone number listed that you can call to ask questions about eligibility.
LIHEAP provides low-income Oregonians assistance with their home energy expenses. The LIHEAP program includes bill payment assistance, energy education, case management, and home weatherization services.
Households wishing to apply for assistance from LIHEAP must be at or below 60% of Oregon statewide median income. Priority is given to the elderly, disabled and households with children.
Application for LIHEAP is available October 1 through June 30 each year, depending on funding availability. Call 1-800-453-5511 for additional details.
Unemployment insurance benefits provide temporary financial assistance to Oregonians who become unemployed through no fault of their own — up to $624 a week. The minimum benefit amount is currently $128 a week.
As a condition of eligibility, you must register with iMatchSkills — Oregon’s Premier Job Matching Tool, to be eligible to collect UI benefits, unless exempt by law.
Oregon Opportunity Grant is Oregon’s largest state-funded need-based grant program. The OOG is available to financially needy undergraduate students who are enrolled at least half-time at an Oregon state college or university.
The current EFC limit for eligible students is $3,500. The maximum award is $2,700 per academic year at an Oregon community colleges and $3,300 at an Oregon public university.
To be considered for Oregon Opportunity Grant, you must fill out the FAFSA or complete the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA) as soon as possible after October 1.
Oregon Promise is a state grant that covers most tuition at any Oregon community college for recent high school graduates and GED recipients who filed a FAFSA or Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA).
Oregon Promise covers your remaining tuition amount only after any federal Pell Grant and Oregon Opportunity Grant funds have been applied — up to the average cost of 12 credits per term.
The Oregon Student Child Care Grant is a need-based program created to help parents enrolled in post secondary education pay for quality child care while attending school. Amounts vary depending on ages and number of children needing care.
To be eligible, you must have a child or legal dependent under the age of 12, demonstrate financial need, and be enrolled in a post secondary education program at an Oregon community college or university.references
- JOBS is Oregon’s employment and self-sufficiency program for people on public assistance.
- Your cash benefits account will be charged 85 cents for each withdrawal from an ATM.
- What is the income limit for Medicaid in Oregon?
- Use this lookup to find the UI Center for your area