West Virginia



  • $340
    Monthly Cash Benefit
  • $374
    Monthly SNAP Benefit
  • $424
    Maximum Weekly Benefit
  • 133%
    Income Eligibility

Single mothers often bear a tremendous financial burden. Living on one paycheck, most are unable to provide even the barest of necessities.

The result is more children growing up in impoverished homes in the Mountain State. Nearly one in four [24.3%] were officially poor.1

In West Virginia, key assistance programs are available for single mothers to make up for any lack of financial resources.

These are geared towards filling in the gaps in their lives and that of their children — helping them achieve self-sufficiency, child well-being, and family stability.


1West Virginia WORKS


WV WORKS is West Virginia’s TANF Program that provides monthly cash assistance to eligible families. It is based on the goals of assisting families near the poverty level to become self-sufficient.2

Those receiving cash benefits are required to complete and sign a Personal Responsibility Contract (PRC). It is supposed to be a plan of activities you will do to help you get a job and support your family on your own.

In most cases, you’re only entitled to no more than 60 months of welfare checks over your lifetime. Most people on VW WORKS also receive SNAP benefits and Medicaid.


Applications for WV WORKS may be made at DHHR’s local office or electronically via inROADS — the one and only self-service portal to apply for benefits offered by the state of West Virginia.


2West Virginia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)


SNAP helps low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled with cash assistance to buy the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. Eligibility is based on 130% of the federal poverty guidelines.3

West Virginia’s population is one of the largest recipients of SNAP, which each year help millions of people cope with poverty. Of households in the state, 16% use food stamps, the ninth highest share.4

Eligible West Virginians will receive an EBT card, similar to a debit card, that they use to make food purchases at grocery stores and supermarkets. Acceptable purchases include food for people and plants and/or seeds to grow food.


3West Virginia Special Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)


WIC serves West Virginia’s 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”.

It provides very low-income, nutritionally at-risk participants with free supplemental healthy food, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, immunization screenings, and referrals for other health and social service needs.

WIC has the same income guidelines as the free and reduced price school lunch program. Families that qualify for Medicaid, WVWORKS, or SNAP automatically meet WIC income requirements.


4West Virginia Medicaid


Medicaid offers health care coverage for West Virginians who meet the program’s eligibility requirements for Medicaid; particularly those with high medical expenses but limited income and people who are elderly or have a disability.

Medicaid pay for hospital services, doctor visits, prescriptions, nursing home care and other healthcare needs, depending on what program a person is eligible for.

As West Virginia has expanded its Medicaid eligibility, you can qualify for Medicaid if you earn up to 133% of the federal poverty level — that’s about $27,000 for a single mother of two.5


To apply for Medicaid, you may go to your local DHHR office or call the Customer Service Center at 1-877-716-1212 to apply over the phone. Application can also be made online at inROADS or at www.HealthCare.gov.6


5West Virginia Children’s Health Insurance Program (WV CHIP)


West Virginia CHIP provides health coverage to uninsured children in West Virginia whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private coverage — up to age 19.

WV CHIP is free for most families with incomes below 300% of the poverty guidelines. Families with incomes above the threshold will pay low monthly premiums and co-pays for some services.

Call 1-877-WVA-CHIP (1-877-982-2447) or to have an application mailed to you or you may also apply via the Internet at inROADS for expedited processing.


6West Virginia Child Care Assistance Program


If you are a West Virginia resident of Kanawha, Clay, Jackson or Roane counties, you meet certain income guidelines and participate in WV Works, you may be eligible for financial aid for child care costs.

The program pays for part of the child care costs and you are responsible for paying the difference. The actual amount is determined according to the family’s monthly gross income and is based on a sliding fee scale.

You must apply for child care assistance in person at any of designated location near you or call 1-888-595-8290 for more information on eligibility.


7West Virginia Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP)


The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) helps eligible low-income households with the cost of home heating, often through direct payments to utility companies on their behalf.7

In order to be eligible for LIEAP, you must be responsible for the cost of your home heating, and have a gross (before tax) income not exceeding 130% of the federal poverty level.

Application forms may be obtained from local DHHR offices, Community Action agencies, or senior centers when the program opens. Call 1-800-642-8589 for additional information about LIEAP.


Emergency LIEAP is available for households without resources facing the loss of a heating source. Application for Emergency LIEAP must be made in person at a local DHHR office.8


8West Virginia Unemployment Insurance


Unemployment Insurance is a state-operated insurance program designed to partially replace lost wages when you are out of work through no fault of your own. To be eligible, you must have been paid of at least $2200 in the first two of the last five calendar quarters.

If you meet the eligibility requirements of the law, you’re entitled to supplemental income while you are looking for a new job, up to a maximum of $424 per week. In West Virginia, the minimum weekly benefit rate is $24.

As soon as you’re unemployed, report in person to the nearest unemployment claims office. You may also file by telephone at 1-800-379-1032, or by the internet at WorkForce West Virginia.


9West Virginia Higher Education Grant


The West Virginia Higher Education Grant is a need-based financial aid program for undergraduate students who attend an approved private or public university or college in the state of West Virginia or Pennsylvania.

Award amounts vary based on the applicant’s demonstrated level of financial need and available funding, up to a maximum of $2,700 for each academic year.

For priority consideration, file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after October 1, before May 1 deadline.


  1. Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, West Virginia
  2. What is WV Works cash assistance?
  3. What is the income limit for food stamps in West Virginia?
  4. 24/7 Wall St., America’s Richest (and Poorest) States
  5. What is the income limit for Medicaid in West Virginia?
  6. How do you apply for Medicaid in WV?
  7. What is LIEAP in WV?
  8. DHHR Announces Emergency Energy Assistance Program for Low Income Residents