Help for Single Mothers in PENNSYLVANIA, Philadelphia

Pennsylvania, PA

With few resources and little income, single mothers have always been exceptionally vulnerable to poverty. And for this reason, support programs are made available. This article addresses what assistance is available for single mothers in PA.

Pennsylvania Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) #

Pennsylvania TANF provides needy families with temporary financial assistance to help pay for food, shelter, utilities, and expenses other than medical.

In Pennsylvania, a family is considered “needy” when their countable income is less than $403 a month for a family of three.

As a condition of eligibility, those receiving cash benefits are required to complete and sign an agreement to engage in work activities that will lead to employment.

How do I apply for cash assistance in PA?

Now you can apply for TANF from the comfort of your home using COMPASS — an online application for Pennsylvanians to apply for benefits including SNAP.

Pennsylvania Diversion Program #

Pennsylvania Diversion is a way for families to choose short-term help rather than long-term ongoing cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

It provides a one-time lump sum payment once in a 12-month period dependent upon your need, with the maximum payment set at three times the Family Size Allowance (FSA). That's about $1,209 for a family of three.

How much do I get for the diversion program in PA?

Typically, diversion payments amount to a few months' worth of benefits, ranging from approximately $600 to $1500, depending on factors such as your household size and the county of residence.

How do I apply for diversion program in PA?

You may apply for Diversion by completing an online COMPASS application for cash benefits. Upon successful submission, a face-to-face interview will be arranged to determine your eligibility.

Pennsylvania Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) #

Pennsylvania SNAP helps low income individuals and families obtain more nutritious diets and eat healthier by supplementing their monthly food budget.

Benefits range from a minimum of $281 per household member to a maximum of $740 for a family of three but may vary based on household’s size and net income.

What is the household income for SNAP benefits in PA?

In Pennsylvania, eligibility is limited to households with gross income of up to 200% of the poverty level or about $4,143 per month for a family of three.

Family Size 100% 200%
1 $1,215 $2,430
2 $1,643 $3,287
3 $2,072 $4,143
4 $2,500 $5,000
5 $2,928 $5,857
6 $3,357 $6,713
7 $3,785 $7,570
8 $4,213 $8,427

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.

If you are eligible, you will receive a Pennsylvania EBT ACCESS Card which can be used to make food purchases at grocery stores and supermarkets.

How do I apply for SNAP benefits in PA?

Now you can apply for SNAP from the comfort of your home using COMPASS — an online application for Pennsylvanians to apply for benefits.

If you have questions about SNAP, you can visit your local county assistance office or call
Department of Public Welfare Helpline

Pennsylvania Summer Food Service Program #

Pennsylvania's Summer Food Service Program is a federally funded child nutrition program designed to reach those who are age 18 or younger in economically disadvantaged areas.

There are several ways to locate a participating summer meal site:

  1. Call the "211" phone number for the National call center.
  2. Text "FOOD" to "877877" to find out the nearest SFSP site near your location.
  3. Download the Range app to locate places and times where free meals are served.

For additional information, call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE.

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

Pennsylvania WIC is a federally funded program that provides healthy supplemental foods and nutrition services for eligible pregnant women, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children under age five who meet the income guidelines.

What is the income limit for WIC in Pennsylvania?

To be eligible for WIC, you must be a resident of the state of Pennsylvania, have a medical or nutritional risk, and have a gross household 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 Pennsylvania?

WIC Agencies provide services in all 67 Pennsylvania counties. You may call 1-800-942-9467 to be connected to a WIC office in your county.

Pennsylvania Medical Assistance #

Pennsylvania Medical Assistance, also known as Medicaid, offers health care coverage for Pennsylvania residents who meet the program’s eligibility requirements for Medicaid.

Unlike regular health insurance, you don’t have to pay for it but there may be a small co-payment for certain services, usually between $1 – $3.

What is the income limit Medicaid in PA?

Pennsylvania opted to implement the Medicaid expansion in 2014. As a result, Medicaid now covers nearly all uninsured Pennsylvanians age 19-64, including children age between 6-18, with income up to 138% of poverty level.

Pennsylvania Medicaid 162% 138% 220% 138%
1 $23,620 $20,120 $32,080 $20,120
2 $31,950 $27,210 $43,380 $27,210
3 $40,270 $34,310 $54,690 $34,310
4 $48,600 $41,400 $66,000 $41,400
5 $56,930 $48,490 $77,310 $48,490
6 $65,250 $55,590 $88,620 $55,590
7 $73,580 $62,680 $99,920 $62,680
8 $81,910 $69,770 $111,230 $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.

How do I apply for Medicaid in Pennsylvania?

You can apply for or renew your Medical Assistance online by using COMPASS or apply by telephone by calling the Consumer Service Center at 1-866-550-4355.

Pennsylvania Children’s Health Insurance Program #

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

Most families are eligible to receive CHIP at no cost. Families with incomes above the free CHIP limits will pay low monthly premiums and co-pays for some services.

Low-cost CHIP has premiums ranging from $53 to $86 per month and copays ranging from $5 to $25 per service.

American Indian and Alaska Native children are excluded from any premium, enrollment fee, copayment, coinsurance, or deductible in CHIP.

What is the maximum income to qualify for CHIP in PA?

In Pennsylvania, children with family income up to 319% of poverty or about $79,300 for a family of three are eligible for CHIP.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $46,510
  • 2 $62,910
  • 3 $79,300
  • 4 $95,700
  • 5 $112,100
  • 6 $128,490
  • 7 $144,890
  • 8 $161,290

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 apply for CHIP in PA?

Call the CHIP helpline at 1-800-986-KIDS (5437) and select prompt No. 2, then select prompt No. 1 for application assistance or you can apply online by using COMPASS.

Pennsylvania SelectPlan for Women #

Many women and men can now receive reproductive health services such as no cost birth control, Pap tests, STD testing and treatment and much more through Family Planning Services Program (formerly SelectPlan for Women)

Pennsylvania's SelectPlan for Women, a limited Medicaid program, is a program that offers free and confidential women’s health care for women age 18-44, including free birth control. Coverage is unlimited and entirely free.

To qualify, you must be a Pennsylvania resident with income not exceeding 215% of the poverty level and have no private insurance or Medicaid.

What is the income limit for SelectPlan for Women in PA?

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $31,350
  • 2 $42,400
  • 3 $53,450
  • 4 $64,500
  • 5 $75,550
  • 6 $86,600
  • 7 $97,650
  • 8 $108,700

You can apply online with COMPASS, or apply in person at any County Assistance Office or COMPASS Community Partner, including family planning clinics near you.

Pennsylvania Child Care Works #

Subsidized child care in Pennsylvania is provided through the Child Care Works program that helps lower-income families pay their child care fees.

Since it is a subsidy, parents are expected to pay for some of the child care costs — known as the family co-pay. The co-payment may be as little as $5.00 per week and varies according to your income and the number of people in your family.

As a condition of eligibility, parents are required, by law, to work at least 20 hours a week or work at least 10 hours a week and participate in an approved training program at least 10 hours a week.

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

Most families with income up to 200% of federal poverty level or about $4,143 a month for a family of three, qualify for child care subsidy.

The income limits for families of different sizes are listed in the table below.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 2 $3,287
  • 3 $4,143
  • 4 $5,000
  • 5 $5,857
  • 6 $6,713
  • 7 $7,570
  • 8 $8,427

How do I apply for child care assistance in Pennsylvania?

You must submit an application to the ELRC to see if you meet the guidelines for the subsidized child care program. For more information, call the Child Care Works helpline at 1-877-4-PA-KIDS.

Pennsylvania Head Start #

Pennsylvania Head Start promotes school readiness for children in low-income families between the ages of 3 and 5.

It does this by providing comprehensive educational, health, nutritional, and social services that prepare them for school and life.

Families who are 100% of the federal poverty level are eligible to apply. The pre-school program may be offered as center-based or home-based services — and is free.

What is the income limit for Head Start in Pennsylvania?

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $1,215
  • 2 $1,643
  • 3 $2,072
  • 4 $2,500
  • 5 $2,928
  • 6 $3,357
  • 7 $3,785
  • 8 $4,213

How do I apply for Head Start in PA?

You may apply for Head Start or Early Head Start services through your local Head Start grantee. Use the Head Start Provider Locator to find the program in your community.

Pennsylvania Housing Choice Voucher Program #

Pennsylvania’s Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as Section 8, provides housing vouchers to low income families and individuals to find a housing unit of their choice in the public housing market.

Families who are income eligible often need to pay up to 40% of their rent and utilities while PHA cover the difference between the amount paid by families and the market rent for the unit.

In general, PHA pays monthly rent directly to the owners or landlords of the units. The tenants do not receive any of the money paid for rental subsidy.

The HCV wait list is currently closed in Pennsylvania. Applicants may check their status online or by calling 215-684-4300.

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

Pennsylvania LIHEAP helps low-income families pay their heating bills. This one-time payment is sent directly to your utility company or fuel provider, and it will be credited on your bill.

In addition to the LIHEAP cash program, households experiencing a heating crisis may be eligible for additional benefits through the LIHEAP crisis program — up to a maximum of $1,000.

What is the income limit for LIHEAP in PA?

The income limit for LIHEAP in PA is 150% of the federal poverty limit. For a family of three, it's $3,108 per month to qualify.

  • 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 LIHEAP in Pennsylvania?

If you need help paying your heating bills, or have a heating emergency, please contact the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095. Crisis assistance is also available 24 hours a day.

Pennsylvania Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) #

Pennsylvania LIHWAP is a temporary emergency program designed to help low-income households and families who need help with water bills or who may lose water service.

Households who are at or below 150% of the poverty level are eligible for a one-time credit up to $5,000 applied to their water utilities account. Priority will be given to households that have been disconnected or are at risk of being disconnected.

LIHWAP covers renters, homeowners and those who already receive utility assistance through LIHEAP as long they meet income requirements.

What is the income limit for LIHWAP in Pennsylvania?

  • 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 can I get help with my water bill in Pennsylvania?

The program is currently closed but will be accepting applications beginning July 10, 2023 through August 18, 2023.

If you are in danger of falling behind on your water bills, you may apply online through COMPASS or in person at a local County Assistance Office.

Pennsylvania Unemployment Insurance #

Pennsylvania 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.

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 26 full weeks in a one-year period.

How much do I get a week for PA unemployment?

The current maximum unemployment benefit rate in Pennsylvania is capped at $605 a week or $604 with dependents.

How do I file for unemployment in PA online?

You can file your initial claim electronically or if you wish to file your claim over the phone, please call the statewide toll-free number at 1-888-313-7284.

If you are eligible for benefits, you should receive your first benefit payment within four weeks after the effective date of your application.

Pennsylvania State Grant Program #

Pennsylvania State Grant Program is a financial assistance program that provides funding to eligible Pennsylvanians who demonstrate high financial need to go to college.

Award amounts vary, and are determined by financial need, cost of tuition, and availability of funds. For applicants attending approved Pennsylvania institutions, the current maximum annual award is $5,750.

To be considered for a Pennsylvania State Grant, you must fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) no later than May 1 each year, and complete the Pennsylvania State Grant Form.

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