Help for Single Mothers in MONTANA

Montana, MT

Parenting is a tough job, but single parenting is an even tougher challenge. With little or no income, many struggle for survival. That is why the state of Montana reaches out to support low-income single mother families through federal- and state-initiated programs.

Montana Earned Income Tax Credit #

Montana’s EITC came into effect in 2019 where low-income working families in Montana can claim the state’s EITC beginning with the 2020 income tax filing season.

The state EITC is available only to working families and it’s fully refundable, meaning those who qualify and claim the credit could pay less federal tax, pay no tax or even get a tax refund.

How much is Montana Earned Income Credit?

At 3.0 percent, Montana offers the lowest state EITC among the 31 states that have established their own credit, resulting in a maximum credit of $222.

  • NO. OF CHILD Maximum EIC
  • 0 $18
  • 1 $119
  • 2 $198
  • 3 or more $222

Montana Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) #

Montana TANF program provides temporary financial assistance for needy families with children under the age of 18. The aim is to end dependency on welfare by promoting job preparation and work.

TANF cash assistance is a not free ride. You are required to participate in the Work Readiness Component (WoRC) program which is a job training and employment program for TANF participants.

If you are a single mother, you are required to participate in a minimum of 33 hours per week (132 hours per month) of WoRC approved activities.

How do I apply for TANF in Montana?

The most convenient way to apply for TANF in Montana is through — the official self-service web-based portal managed by the state of Montana.

Montana Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) #

Montana SNAP, commonly known as food stamps, helps low-income people and families with cash assistance to buy the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet.

Eligible SNAP participants are issued a Montana Access Card used to make food purchases at grocery stores and supermarkets, in lieu of paper food stamp coupons.

Unless otherwise exempt, all able-bodied participants ages 16—59 must register for work, and may be required to participate in a SNAP Employment and Training Program. ABAWDs must comply with special work rules.

How do I apply for food stamps in Montana?

You may apply for food stamps online at, under “Apply for Assistance”. If you don’t already have an account, please create one.

Montana School Meal Program #

Administered by the Montana Office of Public Instruction, Montana's School Meal Program is a program that pays for all or part of the cost of breakfast and lunch for children at school.

In Montana, any family who qualifies by income can receive free or reduced priced meals at a cost of 30 cents for breakfast and 40 cents for lunch. Families at or below 130% FPL qualify for free school meals.

Family 130% 185%
1 $1,579 $2,248
2 $2,137 $3,040
3 $2,693 $3,833
4 $3,250 $4,625
5 $3,807 $5,418
6 $4,363 $6,210
7 $4,921 $7,003
8 $5,478 $7,795

The free and reduced price meal applications are mailed to every student household in August of each year, but you may apply at anytime during the school year.

Children in low-income areas may also get free, nutritious meals throughout the summer months when they are out of school through Summer Food Service Program.

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

Montana WIC provides supplemental foods, nutrition education and referrals to health care, at no cost, to low-income women, infants, and children in need of nutritional support.

WIC serves Montana residents who are either:

  1. Pregnant. Proof of pregnancy is not required.
  2. Breastfeeding, up to baby’s first birthday.
  3. Non-breastfeeding mothers, up to six months after baby’s birth.
  4. Infants and children children up to age 5.

All eligible WIC participants will receive an eWIC card which can be used like a debit-card with a 4-digit PIN wherever Montana eWIC is accepted.

What is the income limit for WIC in Montana?

To be eligible for WIC, you must be a resident of the state of Montana with gross income not exceeding 185% of the federal poverty guidelines.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $2,248
  • 2 $3,040
  • 3 $3,833
  • 4 $4,625
  • 5 $5,418
  • 6 $6,210
  • 7 $7,003
  • 8 $7,795

How do I apply for WIC in Montana?

Reach out to your local WIC clinic to apply or schedule an appointment. If your local WIC clinic is unavailable, the state office may be reached at:

Montana WIC Program
(800) 433-4298

Montana Medicaid #

Montana Medicaid is a health care coverage for low-income Montanans — mostly uninsured children under age 18, pregnant women, disabled adults, as well as seniors.

In Montana, Medicaid is divided into two main categories — family-related Medicaid and Medicaid for people who are aged, blind, or disabled.

Medicaid for children, ages 0-18, is known as Healthy Montana Kids Plus if they are in families at or below 148% of the federal poverty level.

What are the income requirements for Medicaid in Montana?

As Montana is expanding coverage, Medicaid is now available to all adults age between 19-64 with income up to 138% of the poverty level and up to 162% for pregnant women.

Montana Medicaid 148% 138% 162% 138%
1 $21,580 $20,120 $23,620 $20,120
2 $29,190 $27,210 $31,950 $27,210
3 $36,790 $34,310 $40,270 $34,310
4 $44,400 $41,400 $48,600 $41,400
5 $52,010 $48,490 $56,930 $48,490
6 $59,610 $55,590 $65,250 $55,590
7 $67,220 $62,680 $73,580 $62,680
8 $74,830 $69,770 $81,910 $69,770

A 5% disregard based on the federal poverty level (FPL) for the household size is applied and is reflected in the amounts shown above.

For questions about applications and/or eligibility, call
Offices of Public Assistance (OPA)

Healthy Montana Kids #

Healthy Montana Kids (HMK) is a free or low-cost health insurance plan that provides coverage to eligible Montana children up to age 19.

Covered services include well-child checkups, prescription drugs, dental care, eye exam & eyeglasses, and other related services. No pre-existing condition limitations.

The coverage is free of charge, although some families covered by Healthy Montana Kids (HMK) may make a small co-payment. However, no family pays more than $215 per year in co-payments.

What is the income limit for Healthy Montana Kids?

HMK coverage is available to children whose families earn up to 266% of the federal poverty level. That's about $66,130 per year for a family of three.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $38,780
  • 2 $52,460
  • 3 $66,130
  • 4 $79,800
  • 5 $93,470
  • 6 $107,140
  • 7 $120,820
  • 8 $134,490

A 5% disregard based on the federal poverty level (FPL) for the household size is applied and is reflected in the amounts shown above.

How do I sign up for Healthy Montana Kids?

You may sign up for Healthy Montana Kids online at, or call 1-877-543-7669 to have an application mailed to you.

Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarships #

The Early Childhood Services Bureau offers “Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarships” to qualified low-income families in Montana to help cover the cost of child care.

Recipients of the scholarship are working families, working care takers, TANF recipients, and parents in high school, college or pursuing a GED.

Families participating in the program are required to make co-payments based on a sliding fee scale that takes into account a percentage of the family's gross monthly income.

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

A family is considered “income eligible” when the total gross monthly income is at or below 185% of the federal poverty level at the time of initial application. For a family of three, that's about $3,833.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 2 $3,040
  • 3 $3,833
  • 4 $4,625
  • 5 $5,418
  • 6 $6,210
  • 7 $7,003
  • 8 $7,795

How do I apply for child care assistance in Montana?

Families seeking child care assistance must complete the scholarship application and submit it the local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency or apply online at for expedited processing.

As a condition of eligibility, parents are required to work or participate in work related activities for the minimum number of hours per week.

Montana Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) #

Montana's Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) assists eligible Montana residents and families with their heating and cooling costs.

Eligible households may receive a one-time credit of up to $5,279. Priority is granted to households with income not exceeding 150% of federal poverty level.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $1,823
  • 2 $2,465
  • 3 $3,108
  • 4 $3,750
  • 5 $4,393
  • 6 $5,035
  • 7 $5,678
  • 8 $6,320

How do I apply for LIEAP in Montana?

Application for LIEAP generally must be filed during the “heating season” for which assistance is being sought, between October 1 and April 30th each year.

For more details on how to apply, call

Free Weatherization Program

If you are eligible for LIEAP, you may also be eligible to have your home weatherized at no cost to you whether you own your home or rent from a landlord. Special priority is given to older adults and disabled individuals.

Montana Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) #

Montana LIHWAP helps pay a portion of eligible household's water bills to avoid shutoffs or disconnections. Eligibility is based on the household’s gross income and resources.

To qualify for LIHWAP, you must meet all program guidelines, which includes an annual income being at or below 60% of the current State Median Income. Priority is given to households with the elderly, disabled or a young child under age 6.

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

Application for LIHWAP is only accepted during the heating season, which is October 1 through April 30 of each year. Please contact your local eligibility office to submit your application in-person.

Montana Unemployment Insurance #

Montana’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) provides temporary financial assistance to workers unemployed through no fault of their own.

People who are eligible for unemployment in Montana will receive a weekly payment between $169 and $698.

Montana, which provides a maximum of 26 weeks, is now the only state providing more than 26 weeks per benefit year.

As a condition of eligibility, you are required to register for work online at Montana Works or in person at the local Job Service Montana and provide proof of work search each week that you are collecting benefits.

Where can I claim unemployment benefits in Montana?

Claims for weekly benefits may be filed online using a 4-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) or if you wish to file your initial claim over the phone, call the center serving your county.

Montana Emergency Rental Assistance Program (MERA) #

Effective March 24, 2023, at 11:59 p.m., MERA has stopped accepting all applications.

Montana's Emergency Rental Assistance program is available for Montanans who have lost their income as a direct or indirect result of the COVID-19 pandemic and are at risk of housing instability.

Renters may receive a monthly maximum of $2,200 for past due and future rent payments, dating back to April 1, 2020, up to $300 for past due and future utilities including gas and electric, and $50 per month for internet.

How do I apply for rental assistance in Montana?

To learn more, check your eligibility, and apply for Emergency Rental Assistance, visit and schedule an appointment online with one of the application processors.

Montana Grants for College #

Montana Higher Education Grant (MHEG)

Montana Higher Education Grant is funded by the state of Montana and is matched with Federal funds. Eligible students may be awarded up to $600 a year based on their needs and fund availability.

Montana Tuition Assistance Program (MTAP)

Montana Tuition Assistance Program (MTAP) is the largest need-based grant program in Montana. It is awarded, based on need, to Montana resident students who have earned at least 500 times the federal hourly minimum wage.

To apply for either (or both) of these grants, students must be accepted by the college’s admissions office and apply for financial aid by submitting a FAFSA.

Funds for MHEG and MTAP are limited, so early FAFSA filing is encouraged — advisably prior to March 1 deadline.

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