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Help for single moms in Florida: 55 assistance programs

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If you’re a single mom in Florida struggling to make ends meet, keep reading for resources that help with: 

Every month, I give out $500 cash to one single mom struggling with money, health, stress, child care, illness or loneliness — no strings attached. 

Qualifications are simple:

1. You're a single mom.

2. You need the money right now.

Fill out this form to apply:

(Note that the figures and information in this post are current as of publication date.)

Many of the programs on this list determine eligibility as a percentage of the federal poverty level (FPL). These are the 2023 federal poverty guidelines:

Number of people in family/householdAnnual income

* For families/households with more than 8 people, add $5,140 for each additional person.

You can also look up your area median income (AMI) here.

Emergency cash for low-income families in Florida

If you need cash to pay bills, buy gas, feed your family, or for any other reason, these resources can help: 

Temporary Cash Assistance in Florida

TCA — Florida’s name for their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program — provides cash assistance for qualifying families with children or to relatives who have court-ordered custody of a child placed in their home. 

The amount paid out varies depending on household income. However, these are the monthly payouts for children in the custody of a caregiver:  

  • Age 0 through 5 – $242 per child
  • Age 6 through 12 – $249 per child
  • Age 13 through 17 – $298 per child

TCA notes that these rates are higher than the payouts for family assistance.  


  • Must be a U.S. citizen or a qualified non-citizen
  • Permanent Florida resident
  • Have children under 18 or under 19 if still enrolled in high school
  • Pregnant women in third trimester if unable to work or in 9th month of pregnancy
  • Children and mother must have social security number
  • Gross income must be less than 185% of FPL
  • Family assets of $2,000 or less
  • A child must be living in the home maintained by a parent or a relative who is a blood relative of the child.
  • Children under age 5 must be up to date with immunizations
  • Children ages 6 to 18 must attend school, and parents/caretakers must attend school conferences

Cash assistance is available for a lifetime total of 48 months for adults.

How to get help:

  • Apply online on the ACCESS Florida website
  • Contact the Florida Department of Children and Families at 866-762-2237
  • In-person at your local Social Security Office


More emergency cash help in Florida: 

Single moms in Florida can visit or dial 2-1-1 to ask for assistance.

Check out these posts for more ways to get emergency cash: 

These are some more tips for getting cash quickly: 

Housing help for single moms in Florida

If you need help finding a place to live or paying your rent/mortgage, these programs can help. 

Rental assistance in Florida

There are multiple programs in Florida to help renters find housing and pay their rent:

State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP)

SHIP is an initiative of the Florida Housing Finance Corporation that helps low-income renters in two ways: 

  • Developing low-income housing
  • Rental assistance   


How much you pay in rent in a SHIP-funded unit is based on your income in relation to the AMI. 

  • Extremely low income = below 30% of AMI
  • Very low income = At or below 50% of AMI
  • Low income = At or below 80% of AMI
  • Moderate income = At or below 120% of AMI

These are the current income limits to qualify for SHIP housing. 

To receive rental assistance, your rent cannot exceed the maximum for your household’s income category.

How to get help: 

Contact your local SHIP program and ask how to apply. Some counties may not offer rental assistance.

Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers affordable housing and vouchers to help low-income households pay their rent.


Vouchers and housing are based on household income and family size. You can find your county’s income limits on the HUD website

How to get help: 

Mortgage assistance in Florida 

If you need help buying a home in Florida or keeping your home after facing hardship, these programs can help: 

Florida Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) Housing Counseling

Florida’s HAF provides counseling services through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The counselors teach homeowners how to work with mortgage holders to avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. HAF also offers group workshops on financial topics to empower homeowners. 


  • Florida resident and homeowner
  • Facing or experiencing foreclosure, bankruptcy, or financial hardship

How to get help:

Florida Housing Homebuyer Program

Florida Housing offers a home buyer program with 30-year fixed rate mortgage loans for first-time home buyers. These loans can be offered as FHA, VA, USDA, and conventional loans.

Check today's mortgage loan rates >>


  • Credit score of at least 640
  • Work with an approved, participating lender**
  • Go through their education program 
  • House you want to buy is within purchase price limits for your county**
  • Income below program’s county limits**
  • Must meet IRS definition of a first-time homebuyer, which means you can not have owned any other principal residence for three years prior to the date of purchase of the new principal residence                            

**All of this information can be found by using the Florida Housing Homebuyer Program Wizard. Select the number of people in your household and the county you want to buy in to access a list of available programs, a lender directory, purchase price limits, and income limits for your county.                                                                                                         

How to get help: 

  • Contact a participating lender listed on the Homebuyer Program Wizard
  • Call 850-488-4197

Florida Housing down payment assistance

Florida Housing also helps with down payment and closing costs in the form of a second mortgage loan. 

There are three down payment assistance options available: 

The Florida Assist (FL Assist)
  • Up to $10,000 on FHA, USDA, conventional, and VA loans
  • 0%, non-amortizing, deferred second mortgage
  • Repayment is deferred unless you sell, transfer, pay off the first mortgage, refinance the property, or no longer occupy the property
  • Not forgivable
The Florida Homeownership Loan Program (HLP) Second Mortgage
  • $10,000 loan
  • 3% fully-amortizing second mortgage
  • 15-year term
  • Requires a monthly payment, then the remaining unpaid principal is deferred unless you sell, transfer, pay off the first mortgage, refinance the property, or no longer occupy the property
Florida PLUS 3%, 4% or 5% Second Mortgage Program
  • 3%, 4% or 5% of the total first loan amount in a forgivable second mortgage
  • Forgiven at 20% a year over a 5-year term


These loans are not available as standalone assistance but in conjunction with Florida Housing’s first mortgage program above, which offers the following loan types: 

  • Florida First (FHA, VA, USDA-RD loans only) – Qualifies for Florida Assist
  • HFA Preferred or Advantage Conventional Loan Program – Qualifies for Florida Assist or HLP
  • HFA Salute Our Soldiers Military Loan Program – Qualifies for HLP or PLUS
  • HFA Preferred or Advantage Conventional Loan Program – Qualifies for Florida Assist

How to get help: 

  • Contact a participating lender listed on the Homebuyer Program Wizard
  • Call 850-488-4197

Miami-Dade Florida Homeownership Assistance Program (HAP)

Low- to moderate-income residents in Miami-Dade County can get up to $28,500 in down payment assistance from the Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust. These funds can be layered with funds from other state, county, and local government programs to help you buy a home.


  • Resident of Miami-Dade County
  • Voluntarily attend a HUD-approved homebuyer education course
  • Annual income must not exceed 140% of the area median income in Miami-Dade County based on household size

How to get help:

Homeless assistance in Florida 

Office on Homelessness

The main goal of the Office of Homelessness is to prevent Florida residents from becoming homeless — or from having to return to homelessness. The office oversees designated Continuum of Care agencies across the state that offer services including:

  • Emergency shelters
  • Transitional housing
  • Permanent housing
  • Counseling to acquire the necessary life skills to maintain permanent housing


Requirements are set by individual Continuums of Care agencies. 

How to get help: 

More housing help: 

Electric bill assistance in Florida

If you are struggling to pay your utility bills in Florida, check out the following programs:

Florida Power and Light (FPL) Care To Share Electric Assistance

The FPL Care To Share program offers up to $750 in a 12-month period, per household, to help FPL customers pay their light bill. Priority is given to homes with seniors, disabled persons and children under 10 years old. Help is available based on funding from nonprofits and government agencies.


  • Live in the FPL service area with an FPL account
  • Live at the FPL service location
  • Have a past due bill, final notice, or disconnect notice
  • Are disconnected from service or in danger of disconnection
  • Can show proof of hardship and a plan to pay future bills
  • Not eligible for any other energy assistance
  • No history of fraud or tampering with electric service
  • Annual income is at or below 150% of the federal poverty level for household size

How to get help:

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) in Florida

LIHEAP helps qualifying households with home heating and cooling costs, paid directly to utility companies like FPL. The agency does not assist with water, sewer, or telephone services. 


  • Total income no more than 60% of the Florida State Median Income
  • Responsible for paying your home heating or cooling bills
  • Resident of Florida
  • U.S. Citizen, qualified alien, or permanent resident of the U.S.

How to get help:

Contact your local LIHEAP office.

Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) administers LIHWAP, a federal program through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that issues funds to low-income households in Florida to pay for water utility services. 

These payments, made directly to your water supplier are to avoid disconnection or turn water services back on. This program runs until Sept. 2023 in Florida.


  • Florida resident
  • U.S. citizen, qualified non resident or permanent U.S. resident
  • Annual income does not exceed 60% of the Florida State Median Income (SMI) for household size
  • Responsible for paying water utility bills

How to get help:

Print an application and submit it to your local Florida Community Action Agency

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

WAP helps low-income families lower their monthly energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. Types of assistance include:

  • Installing carbon monoxide detectors
  • Removing mold
  • Replacing inefficient or unsafe heating units 
  • Insulating a single family home for energy efficiency


  • U.S citizen or a qualified alien
  • Resident of state of Florida
  • Meet annual household income guidelines based on the number of people in your household:
    • 1 – $22,340
    • 2 – $30,260
    • 3 – $38,180
    • 4 – $46,100
    • 5 – $54,020
    • 6 – $61,940
    • 7 – $69,860
    • 8 – $77,780
  • Automatically eligible if you are receiving SSI, TANF or Aid to Families with Dependent Children benefits

How to get help:

Applications are not available online, so you have to visit your county’s Weatherization provider.

More electric bill help: 

Free money to help pay bills

Medical insurance and dental help for single moms in Florida

The following medical and dental services are available to qualifying individuals and families:        

Florida Discount Drug Card

The Florida Discount Drug Card Program helps state residents save on prescriptions. It's a free program that help you save money on most generic and brand name prescription drugs at pharmacies in-store and online through Elixir Solutions.


Any Florida resident can sign up for the card.

How to get help:

Dental 101 

Dental 101 connects Florida residents with dental clinics throughout the state that offer free and low-cost dental care. 


Each individual clinic sets its own eligibility requirements. 

How to get help: 

Select your city from the dropdown list on the Dental 101 site for a list of free and low-cost dental clinics.

Project: Dentists Care (PDC)

PDC is a nonprofit organization founded by the Florida Dental Association to provide dental care to low-income individuals who don't qualify for public assistance. 


Each individual clinic or program sets its own eligibility requirements. 

How to get help: 

Search the PDC resource guide for a list of clinics across Florida.  

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)

HRSA, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, funds health centers that provide free or subsidized health and dental care to low-income people and those otherwise unable to access quality health care, like people living in rural areas.

HRSA also offers a 24/7 free and confidential mental health hotline for pregnant and new moms. Dial 833-943-5746 (833-9-HELP4MOMS) if you are struggling.


Each health center sets its own eligibility criteria for free or reduced cost care. 

How to get help:

Find an HRSA health center in Florida by typing in your address on HRSA’s search tool.

Florida Medicaid

Medicaid provides medical coverage for low-income individuals and families. In Florida, most Medicaid recipients are enrolled in the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care program, which includes:

  • Managed Medical Assistance (MMA) – Covers medical services like doctor visits, hospital care, prescription drugs, mental health care, and transportation for medical needs
  • Long-term Care (LTC) – Covers care in a nursing facility, assisted living, or at home (must be at least 18 years old and require nursing home-level care or hospital-level care if you have cystic fibrosis)
  • Dental – Covers all dental services for children and adults


  • Resident of Florida
  • U.S. national citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien
  • Meet income requirements: 
Florida Medicaid income limits

Plus, you must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Pregnant, or
  • Caretaker for a child 18 or younger
  • Member of the household has a disability, including blindness
  • 65 or older

How to get help:

Apply for coverage on the Florida Department of Children and Families website or call 850-300-4323.

Florida KidCare 

Florida KidCare — part of the national Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — matches each qualifying child to one of its four health insurance programs: 

  • Medicaid – birth through 18
  • MediKids – 1 to 4 years
  • Florida Healthy Kids – 5 to 18 years
  • Children’s Medical Services – birth through 18 years with special health care needs

These placements are based on the age of the child, household size, and family income. Medicaid does not require any paid premiums. However, the other three programs do require a minimum monthly payment based on income. 

Most families pay nothing, and many pay as little as $15 or $20 a month for all children in the household. Families who do not qualify for free or subsidized coverage may purchase a full-price plan through Florida KidCare.

KidCare provides both health and dental services with a choice of local doctors, dentists, hospitals, and pharmacies. Benefits include:

  • Doctor visits
  • Surgeries
  • Vaccines
  • Vision and hearing 
  • Hospital stays


All children above the age of 1 are eligible for Florida KidCare coverage through a subsidized or full-pay program, even if one or both parents are working.

These are the current income guidelines for free and subsidized plans: 

Florida KidCare income limits

How to get help: 

Apply on the Florida Kidcare website to be matched to the program that fits your child/family. 

Florida Healthy Start

Healthy Start provides home visits to educate parents and coordinate care for people who need it. 

Education services cover:

  • Prenatal care and parenting 
  • Conception 
  • Stress management
  • Local resources and assistance


Pregnant women and parents of children under three years old are eligible for Florida Healthy Start services. 

How to get help: 

Search for services by county on the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions website.

More medical/dental help: 

Food help for low-income families in Florida

A number of federal and state food and nutrition programs are available across the state:

Florida Food Assistance Program (SNAP)

USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as the Food Stamp program) provides food benefits and nutrition education to low-income households. 

SNAP recipients are issued an EBT card that can be used like an ATM card to purchase food in retail food stores, including:

  • Breads
  • Cereals
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meats
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Dairy
  • Plants and seeds to grow food 

A program called Fresh Access Bucks (FAB) allows you to increase the spending power of your SNAP benefits on fresh fruits and vegetables at designated farmer's markets, produce stands, CSAs, mobile markets, and community grocery outlets. For a current list of markets, go to Fresh Access Bucks Locations – Feeding Florida.


  • Florida resident
  • Current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001 or under $3,001 and share your household with one of the following:
    • Person or persons age 60 and over
    • Person with a disability (child, spouse, parent, yourself

You must also have an annual household income below these amounts: 

Florida household income limits for SNAP benefits

How to get help: 

Apply for benefits on the Florida ACCESS website or call 850-300-4323.  

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children is a nutrition program that provides free baby formula and nutritional food items to low-income mothers and their babies. 


  • Low-income, pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, for up to one year postpartum
  • Women up to six months postpartum who are not breastfeeding
  • Infants and children under 5 years old, including foster children
  • Low-income sole provider parents of children under age of 5 who are at nutritional risk and who are below 185% of FPL
  • If you are currently receiving Medicaid, Temporary Assistance, or Food Assistance help, you are also eligible for WIC

How to get help: 

Call your local WIC office or 800-342-3556 and say you want to apply for WIC. 

National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program

NSLP serves healthy, well-balanced, reduced-price or free meals to children in school. 

An extension of the NSLP, the School Breakfast Program provides free or low-cost breakfast to eligible students. Schools with at least 80% of the students eligible for free or reduced-price meals must provide breakfast at no cost to all students. 


Household income must fall at or below the limits of the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines.

How to get help: 

Apply online or contact your child’s school to enroll. 

Florida’s Summer Food Service Program

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services serves nutritious meals at no cost to children during summer break. Food is distributed at local schools, nonprofits, l parks and libraries. 


These are the current income guidelines for the Summer Food Service Program: 

Florida Summer Food Service Program income limits

How to get help: 

Find a location near you at the USDA Summer Food Service Program website.

Florida food banks

Food banks in Florida provide meals for individuals and families who are struggling to put food on the table. 


Each food bank sets its own eligibility and proof of need requirements. 

How to get help: 

To find a food bank near you and for additional information, visit the Feeding Florida website.

More food help: 

Whether you’re going through divorce, eviction, family court issue, or need other legal help, there are ways to get it for free or at a reduced rate: 

Florida Bar Association

The Florida Bar Association lists a number of pro bono and legal aid resources: 

The following resources are also available: 

Florida Law Help

Enter your location, the type of legal assistance you need, and your income/family size, and Florida Law Help will pull up a list of legal services and resources you may be eligible for. 

This site allows users to post their civil legal questions. Volunteer attorneys log in to the website, select questions to answer, and provide legal information and advice. Users receive an email when their questions have a response. Topics include child support, education, domestic violence, and housing.

SLC is a nonprofit law firm that provides free legal help to low-income individuals with civil rights issues. They also offer educational resources and free clinics to help people self-advocate on issues like: 

  • Education disputes
  • Disability disputes
  • Employment discrimination
  • Homeless rights
  • Employment, employee and salary issues


SLC decides on a case-by-case basis which people and cases to take on. They primarily work on cases like lawsuits against the government and cases affecting: 

  • Low-income people
  • Homeless people 
  • Children
  • People with disabilities
  • LGBTQ+ people

How to get help: 

Apply for legal assistance on the SLC website or call 352-271-8890.

LSC is a private nonprofit organization that provides free legal help and representation to qualifying low-income individuals. There are seven organizations across Florida that carry out their initiatives: 

Child care help for low-income families

There are multiple federally funded education programs and resources in Florida:

Florida Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start is a free federal preschool program for children aged 3 to 5 from low-income families. Early Head Start serves pregnant women and children under age 3. The programs focus on cognitive, social, and emotional development and prepare children for school. 


  • Children from birth to 5 
  • Meet federal poverty guidelines 
  • Children in foster care, homeless children, and children from families receiving public assistance (TANF, SSI, etc.) are eligible regardless of income
  • Some programs accept kids with incomes above the Poverty Guidelines
  • Pregnant women can also receive prenatal and postpartum information, education, and services through Early Head Start

How to apply: 

Florida’s School Readiness Program

Florida’s School Readiness Program provides child care so a parent can work or attend a training or education program.


  • Parent must be working or attending school
  • Household gross income at or below 150 percent of family poverty level
  • Families engage in a co-pay based on income and family size

How to get help: 

More child care help

Education help for single moms in Florida

If you’re a single mom who wants to further her education, here are some helpful resources: 

Get a GED in Florida

If you are at least 18 years old in Florida, you can take the GED test. You may also be able to take the test at 16 or 17 with special permission from the school district where you live. 

The GED test is broken into four exams on different subjects, which can be spaced out and taken at your own pace (though each individual exam has a time limit): 

  • Mathematical reasoning – 115 minutes
  • Reasoning through language arts – 150 minutes
  • Social studies – 70 minutes
  • Science – 90 minutes

You have two options for taking the test in Florida: 

  • Online at-home test – $38.00 per subject
  • In person at a test center – $32 per subject

Grants and scholarships in Florida

The Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) connects students and prospective students with grants and scholarships available in Florida. To find out which scholarships and grants you may be eligible for, create a student profile on the OSFA website

Individual schools also offer need-based and academic scholarships for their students. If you’ve been accepted to a higher education institution, contact their office of financial aid to learn how to apply. 

Florida Department of Education tuition and fee exemptions and waivers

In Florida, you might be able to attend college and have fees and/or tuition waived if you meet eligibility requirements. 


You’ll need to contact the Florida-based college you are interested in to get specific eligibility requirements, but you might be able to waive fees and/or tuition if:

  • You are in a dual enrollment or early admission program
  • You are in an approved apprenticeship program
  • You are homeless  
  • You are enrolled in workforce development training through the welfare transition program

How to get help:

Employment help for single moms in Florida

Workforce programs in Florida provide training and assist with employment:

Florida Reemployment Assistance (Insurance) Program

This program provides unemployment compensation to eligible Florida workers who are out of work through no fault of their own.


  • Florida resident 
  • Unemployed
  • Previously employed for the past 12 months
  • Earned a certain amount of wages
  • Actively looking for another job

How to get help: 

American Job Centers

The American Job Centers offer employment and training services, career counseling, and job search assistance. 

How to get help: 

More employment help: 

Charity organizations

There are a number of charitable organizations throughout Florida that offer support to single moms:

The Salvation Army of Florida

The Salvation Army wears many hats. Chapters assist with:

  • Food, shelter and clothing
  • Medication costs
  • Education and job training
  • Christmas presents
  • Rent and utility bills
  • Substance abuse rehabilitation
  • Youth services
  • Emergency disaster response

How to get help: 

Visit the Salvation Army website to find your local chapter. 

Catholic Charities of Florida

Catholic Charities assists with:

  • Housing
  • Utility assistance
  • Food assistance
  • Health care assistance

There are seven chapters across Florida: 

  • Catholic Charities Bureau Diocese of St. Augustine (based in Jacksonville)
  • Catholic Charities Diocese Of St. Petersburg
  • Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice
  • Catholic Charities Miami
  • Catholic Charities of Central Florida (based in Orlando)
  • Catholic Charities of NW Florida (based in Pensacola)
  • Catholic Charities Palm Beach

How to get help: 

United Way of Florida

The United Way of Florida connects people in need with local resources like: 

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Child care services
  • Housing
  • Health care
  • Support groups

How to get help: 

Not your state? Select yours here: founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, and National Jeweler editor, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. Her next book, The 50/50 Solution, is out March, 2024 with Sourcebooks. More about Emma's credentials.

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