Hawaii, HI

Although considered as a tropical paradise, not everyone here is living their dreams. The state of Hawaii offers several assistance programs that specifically target the many challenges that single mothers have to deal with everyday.

Hawaii Earned Income Tax Credit (HI-EITC) #

Hawaii's a state-level EITC is now equal to 40% of the federal credit 1 and yet still remains as one of a handful states that doesn’t let tax filers get their credit as a tax refund.

The Hawaiian credit, however, includes three unusual provisions that will limit the credit’s usefulness to low-income families.

  1. First, the credit would be non-refundable, thus providing less benefit to the lowest-income families who need it the most.
  2. Second, Hawaii taxpayers could claim the credit only after all of the state’s existing refundable credits have been applied.
  3. And third, the credit would expire after tax year 2022.

To claim this credit, you must complete and attach to your Hawaii income tax return: (1) Form N-356 (2)Schedule CR.

Hawaii Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) #

Hawaii TANF provides temporary assistance to financially needy families with children. It is designed to help low-income Hawaiian families become self-supporting.

In order to qualify for TANF benefits, you must be responsible for a child under 19 years of age with a total gross income under 185% of the poverty level. Pregnant women are also eligible during her 9-month pregnancy.

As a condition of eligibility, all work-ready participants are required to participate in Hawaii’s First-To-Work Program (FTW) for a specified number of hours per week, unless otherwise exempt.

How much do you get on welfare in Hawaii?

Adults without minor dependents ages 18-64 who are temporarily disabled and who do not qualify for public assistance may apply for Hawaii’s General Assistance.

Hawaii Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) #

Hawaii has some of the most expensive food in the nation. The Hawaii SNAP helps put healthy food within reach for low income Hawaiians by providing monthly cash benefits.

What is the income limit for SNAP benefits in Hawaii?

Priority is granted to lower income families on public assistance, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The state allows people who earn up to 200% of the federal poverty level to access SNAP benefits.

In Hawaii, SNAP benefits are distributed through the state’s Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system which can be used at any grocery store and for services like meals-on-wheels.

Those who have less than $150 per month in income and $100 or less in cash may apply for Emergency SNAP and have their first benefits within 7 days.

Hawaii Med-QUEST #

As Hawaii is expanding Medicaid coverage, many previously uninsured Hawaiians age 19-64 with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL) may now gain coverage.

What is the income limit for Hawaii QUEST 2023?

In Hawaii, children with family incomes up to 313% of poverty or about $82,910 for a single mother of two are eligible for Med-Quest as well as pregnant women earning less than $51,920 a year.

How do I apply for Med-QUEST Hawaii?

You can apply for Med-QUEST online at My Medical Benefits or over the phone at 1-877-628-5076. You may start by taking the pre-assessment to find out if you might be eligible.

Med-QUEST Customer Service

Hawaii Special Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) #

WIC is a federally funded program which provides Hawaii residents with nourishing supplemental foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and health and social service referrals.

It serves 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”.

To be eligible, you must be a resident of the state of Hawaii with income not exceeding 185% of the federal poverty guidelines OR already receive TANF, SNAP or QUEST.

How to apply for WIC in Hawaii?

Call the Hawaii WIC local agencies program nearest you to make an appointment or call 586-8175 (Oahu) for help. On the Neighbor Islands, call toll-free, 1-888-820-6425.

Child Care Connection Hawaii (CCCH) #

The Child Care Connection Hawaii (CCCH) provides childcare subsidy for eligible families who meet the income eligibility requirements. In general, the family’s income may not exceed 54% of the State Median Income for the family size.

The subsidy amount varies based on the your gross monthly income, family size, and type and cost of care AND since it is a subsidy, you may be required to pay for some of the child care costs.

During the pandemic, DHS is temporarily expanding eligibility for Child Care Connection Hawaii. No more income cap, CCCH subsidies will be awarded to all families and co-payment portion waived.

In Hawaii, there are also local subsidy programs that assist with child care and preschool for children who are Native Hawaiian. Families may contact PATCH, Hawaii’s Statewide Child Care Resource and Referral Agency, for more information.

Hawaii Section 8 #

Through Section 8 Program, the Hawaii Public Housing Authority helps provide Hawai‘i residents with affordable housing and shelter without discrimination.

The federally funded Section 8 Program provides for rental subsidies to be paid directly to landlords on behalf of income eligible families — primarily families with very low incomes.

Is Section 8 available in Hawaii?

Hawaii’s Section 8 is currently closed and is not accepting any new application. When the waitlist is reopened, there will be newspaper and website announcements.

To check its availability, please call (808) 832-4690.

Hawaii Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) #

Hawaii LIHEAP helps pay home heating costs for low-income households, particularly those with the lowest income, that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy.

To qualify for the LIHEAP program, you must have an income that falls within the program guidelines. Priority is granted to households with the elderly, disabled or a young child under age 5.

The Energy Crisis Intervention (ECI) Program is also available to households in an emergency situation (i.e., shut-off notice, out of fuel, no money to pay for fuel). Eligible households may receive a one-time credit of up to $350.

How do I apply for LIHEAP in Hawaii?

Applications are accepted during the month of June only. If eligible, you’ll receive a one-time credit deposited directly into your utility accounts. To apply, contact the state LIHEAP Program Office at 808-586-5734.

Hawaii Unemployment Insurance #

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

Hawaii is one of two states in which the average UI payment covers more than half of the state’s average weekly wage. The state pays out an average of $695 each week, one of the most generous in the country.

How do I file my weekly unemployment claim in Hawaii?

Effective October 1, 2014, Hawaii’s telephone claim filing will no longer be available. All claims must be filed online. To file a claim, click here.

As a condition of eligibility, you must register for work within 7 calendar days after the date you applied for unemployment benefits and you must post an online resume in HireNet Hawaii, WDD’s internet job matching system.

Second Century Scholarship #

The Second Century Scholarship is a need-based grant provided to Native Hawaiian students pursuing both graduate and undergraduate credit work in any field of study on all 10 campuses of the University of Hawai’i System.

The amount awarded may vary depending on the student’s financial need as determined by FAFSA and fund availability — up to 3,000 per academic year.

To be eligible, Native Hawaiian students who demonstrate financial need should apply for financial aid through their campus financial aid offices.

GEAR UP Hawai‘i #

GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federal program funded by the U.S. Department of Education that serves low-income middle and high school students in public schools across 44 states.

GEAR UP Hawaii, the statewide grant under Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education, serves over 20,000 public school students in grades 7 to 12 through the first year in college across the State of Hawaii each year.

Each year GEAR UP awards up to $85,000 to eligible students statewide. Priority awards are given to students who qualify for free or reduced lunch status.

For more information about GEAR UP, please contact

Lesli Yogi
Business and Community Outreach Specialist
1-866-808-4327 (GEAR)

  1. The HI-EITC has been incresed from 20% to 40%, making it one of the strongest state level EITCs in the nation, behind only California, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.
Share this article