Financial Help for Single Mothers in Wisconsin


In today’s economy, families find hard to keep up with the cost of living, especially so for single mothers in low-income families where making ends meet is often a daily struggle.

To make life a little easier, the state of Wisconsin is taking positive steps to provide assistance programs that ease their financial burdens.

From food and cash assistance to child care and medical benefits, these programs aim to alleviate the plight of single mothers by providing the necessary support as and when it is needed.


1Wisconsin Works (W-2)


W-2 is one of Wisconsin’s work-based programs available to low-income families with minor children who meet eligibility requirements and who are willing to work to their ability.

The primary goal of the Wisconsin Works (W-2) is self sufficiency. The program offers W-2 participants cash payments of up to $673 per month for participating in job training and employment programs.

In order to qualify for W-2, you must be a resident of Wisconsin, either pregnant or be responsible for a child under 19 years of age.1


2FoodShare Wisconsin


FoodShare Wisconsin provides monthly benefits to families with limited income to help pay for the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. Benefit levels vary widely. But a household of two in Wisconsin now average a little more than $200 per month.

Anyone is eligible but the program is designed to help those who need food assistance most. Single mothers living on small or fixed income, the elderly, people with disabilities are given highest priority.

If you are accepted into the program, your FoodShare benefits are automatically deposited to your Wisconsin QUEST Card account on the same day of each month you are eligible.


3Wisconsin Shares


Wisconsin’s Child Care Subsidy program — known as Wisconsin Shares, helps low-income working families pay for child care. If the parent is eligible, child care can be subsidized for children under the age of 13 (up to 19 if special needs).

The program pays for part of the child care costs, and the remaining cost is co-paid by the parent. The co-payment can be as low as 2% of the family’s gross income.

You may apply online at access.wisconsin.gov or apply in person at any W-2 agency near you. Either way, you’ll have to go through a phone interview to determine your eligibility.


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


WIC provides supplemental foods, nutrition education and referrals to health care, at no cost, to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5.

To be eligible, you must be a resident of the state of Wisconsin with a household income not exceeding 185% of the federal poverty level; and be individually determined to be at nutritional risk by a health professional.


5Wisconsin BadgerCare Plus


BadgerCare Plus offers free or low-cost health care coverage to eligible children and families in Wisconsin as well as pregnant women. It is designed for people who do not currently have access to health insurance.

BadgerCare Plus covers adults with incomes at or below 100% of the federal poverty threshold — or about $23,850 for a family of four and up to 300% FPL for pregnant women and children under the age of 19.


Among the 23 states not expanding Medicaid coverage, Wisconsin is the only state that provides full Medicaid coverage to parents and adults without dependent children with incomes at or above poverty.


6Wisconsin Section 8 Voucher Program


The WHEDA2 Section 8 Voucher Program helps Wisconsin families with very low to extremely low incomes rent decent, safe, and affordable housing of their choice.

Eligible families pay between 30-40% of their income for rent. The balance is subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).


7Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance


Unemployment insurance benefits provide temporary financial assistance to workers unemployed through no fault of their own. It is intended to provide a safety net to eligible workers and their families during times of unemployment.

As a condition of eligibility, you are required to register with Job Center of Wisconsin and actively seek suitable employment each week that you are collecting benefits.


8Wisconsin Talent Incentive Program (TIP) Grant


The Talent Incentive Program (TIP) Grant provides grant assistance to the most financially needy and educationally disadvantaged Wisconsin resident students attending colleges and universities in the State of Wisconsin.

Initial awards to first-time freshman students range from $600 to $1,800 per year and are awarded on a first come first served basis until funds are depleted.


9Wisconsin Tuition Grant


Wisconsin Tuition Grant (WTG) provides grant assistance — up to $3000, to undergraduate, Wisconsin residents attending a non-profit college or university in Wisconsin.

To be considered for this grant, you must complete the FAFSA each year by April 1st. Selection is based upon financial need with a limit of 10 semesters of eligibility.


  1. Parents with children whose family income is below 115% of the poverty level are eligible. []
  2. WHEDA = Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority []