Help for Single Mothers in HAWAII

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 Disaster Unemployment Assistance #

The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) has announced the availability of Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits for Maui residents who were impacted by the wildfires.

Individuals or employees who do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance may be eligible for DUA benefits of up to a maximum of $763 for the weeks beginning Aug. 13, 2023, and ending on February 10, 2024.

Applications for DUA are available online at and must be filed by September 25, 2023.

If you have questions regarding eligibility for DUA benefits, please call (833) 901-2272 or (808) 762-5751.

Hawaii Earned Income Tax Credit (HI-EITC) #

Hawaii EITC is a special tax credit for working families in Hawaii. It’s a simple idea that helps lower-income workers — especially single parents — keep more of what they earn.

The current Hawaii credit is worth 20% of the federal credit and it still remains as one of a handful states that does not allow tax filers to receive their credit as a tax refund.

How much is Hawaii Earned Income Credit?

  • NO. OF CHILD Maximum EIC
  • 0 $120
  • 1 $799
  • 2 $1,320
  • 3 or more $1,486

In addition, Hawaii taxpayers could only claim the credit only after all of the state’s existing refundable credits have been applied.

To claim this credit, you must complete and attach to your Hawaii income tax return: both Form N-356 and 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. 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?

Hawaii offers the poorest families of three a maximum of $610 per month, including a housing supplement of up to $500 per month to eligible households.

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 SNAP helps put healthy food within reach for low income Hawaiians, and those making the transition from welfare to self-sufficiency.

Due to a higher cost of living, Hawaii boasts the highest monthly SNAP benefit per household member. For example, a family of three in Hawaii with little or no income could receive as much as $1,413 in monthly benefits.

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.

What is the income limit for SNAP in Hawaii?

The state allows residents who earn up to 200% of the current Hawaii's poverty standard to access SNAP benefits. For a family of three, the limit is $4,765 in gross monthly income and $2,383 in net monthly income.

Family Size 100% 200%
1 $1,393 $2,785
2 $1,890 $3,780
3 $2,383 $4,765
4 $3,125 $6,250
5 $3,368 $6,735
6 $3,860 $7,720
7 $4,360 $8,720
8 $4,845 $9,690

Gross income limit applies to most households, except those in which at least one person is 60 years of age or older, or receives disability income.

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 #

Medicaid is known as Med-QUEST in Hawaii. QUEST stands for Quality care, Universal access, Efficient utilization, Stabilizing costs, and Transforming the way health care is provided to recipients.

Once eligible for Medicaid, Med-QUEST assigns you to a health plan right away. You have the option to either stick with the assigned plan or select an alternative within 15 days.

There are five (5) health plans currently available to choose from:

  1. AlohaCare
  2. HMSA
  3. Kaiser Permanente
  4. ‘Ohana Health Plan
  5. UnitedHealthcare Community Plan

What is the income limit for Hawaii Med-QUEST?

Hawaii adopted Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act, extending eligibility for Medicaid to adults age 19-64 with income up to 138% of the poverty level.

Children under age 19 in families with income up to 313% of poverty or about $89,490 for a family of three are eligible for Med-QUEST.

Hawaii Med-QUEST 313% 196% 138%
1 $52,300 $32,750 $23,060
2 $70,990 $44,450 $31,300
3 $89,490 $56,040 $39,450
4 $107,990 $67,620 $47,610
5 $126,480 $79,200 $55,770
6 $144,980 $90,790 $63,920
7 $163,760 $102,550 $72,200
8 $181,980 $113,950 $80,230

A 5% disregard based on the Hawaii's poverty level for the household size is applied and is reflected in the amounts shown above.

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) #

Hawaii 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 Hawaii's poverty guidelines OR already receive TANF, SNAP or QUEST.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $2,576
  • 2 $3,497
  • 3 $4,408
  • 4 $5,319
  • 5 $6,230
  • 6 $7,141
  • 7 $8,066
  • 8 $8,963

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) #

Child Care Connection Hawaii (CCCH) provides subsidized child care for eligible families with children under 13 who meet the income eligibility requirements.

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 a portion of child care costs on a sliding scale.

Hawaii's Preschool Open Doors (POD) program is a separate subsidy program for eligible families with children in the year prior to kindergarten entry.

POD helps 3- and 4-year old children go to preschool by helping families pay preschool costs, with priority for under-served or at-risk children.

What is the income limit for child care assistance in Hawaii?

A family is considered “income eligible” when their gross monthly income is at or below 85% of the State Median Income (SMI) for the family size. For example, a household of three may have an income of $6,678 per month and still qualify.

How do I apply for child care subsidy in Hawaii?

Applications for child care subsidy are accepted statewide, year-round, at your nearest CCCH office, except for the Preschool Open Doors (POD) program which has a limited open enrollment period during the spring of each year.

A completed application along with supporting documents, and an intake interview is required before eligibility can be established.

Families may also apply online or download the Application for Child Care Services (DHS 911) and mail the application along with supporting documents to:

Child Care Subsidy Unit
94-275 Mokuola Street, Room 105
Waipahu, Hawaii 96797
(808) 675-0650

Hawaii Section 8 #

Through Section 8 Program, the Hawaii Public Housing Authority helps provide needy Hawaii 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.

In Hawaii, the income limits range from 30% to 80% of the AMI, depending on the household size and the county of residence.

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) 768-7096.

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

Hawaii LIHEAP, also known as Energy Credit (EC), helps pay home heating or cooling costs for low-income households, particularly those with the lowest incomes and the highest home energy costs.

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.

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 for LIHEAP, contact the state LIHEAP Program Office at 808-586-5734.

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).

Applications for ECI are accepted year-round. Eligible households may receive a one-time credit of up to $650.

Hawaii Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) #

Hawaii LIHWAP provides water and wastewater assistance to needy Hawaii households by assisting with a one-time payment toward their water or wastewater bill.

Households facing the threat of disconnection, or those that have already been disconnected, may be eligible for LIHWAP.

Regardless of income, the household qualifies if there is at least one person in the household that receives LIHEAP, TANF, SNAP (Food Stamps) or SSI benefits.

How do I get help paying my water bill in Hawaii?

If you are in danger of falling behind on your water bills and need help, please submit your application through the Community Action Agency that serves your island.

Hawaii Unemployment Insurance #

Hawaii Unemployment Insurance (UI) offers temporary financial assistance to Hawaiian workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own.

Hawaii is one of two states in which the average UI payment covers more than half of the state’s average weekly wage — up to a maximum of $763 per week.

The length of time that you will receive benefits is based on how much you made during the base period, but not more than 26 weeks.

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 #

Second Century Scholarship is a last dollar 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)

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