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Help for single moms in New Jersey: 40 assistance programs

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If you’re a single mom in New Jersey 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 2024 federal poverty guidelines:

Number of people in family/householdAnnual income

* For families/households with more than 8 people, add $5,380 for each additional person.

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

Emergency cash for low-income families in New Jersey

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

WorkFirst NJ in New Jersey

WFNJ — New Jersey’s name for their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program — provides cash assistance for qualifying families with children. The program also helps adults find employment. The amount paid out varies depending on your family’s size, household income, and if you receive other forms of cash assistance. 

New Jersey’s monthly WFNJ payments are $559/month for a family of three who makes less than $839/month. See all payout and income amounts

Cash assistance is available for a lifetime total of 60 months for adults (benefits paid to children under 18 do not count toward the lifetime total). However, there are some exceptions related to permanent disability, unemployment, family violence, and being a sole caretaker that allow you to receive benefits for a longer amount of time.


  • Must be a U.S. citizen or a qualified non-citizen
  • Permanent New Jersey resident
  • Household members must have social security number
  • Have children under 18 or under 19 if still enrolled in high school
  • Currently 6 or more months pregnant with other children
  • Meet income limits

How to get help:

Contact your local County Welfare Office/Board of Social Services.

Supportive Assistance to Individuals and Families (SAIF) in New Jersey

People who have met the 60-month WFNJ assistance limit can apply for the SAIF program for 24 months of cash benefits. SAIF also provides child care services and transportation to help New Jerseyans secure a job and stay employed.


  • New Jersey resident
  • Already received 60 months of WFNJ benefits
  • Must attend work activities
  • Meet child support obligations 
  • Attempted to get a job but are still unemployed
  • You are in one or more of the following situations:
    • Experienced family/domestic violence
    • Deferred from WFNJ work activities for 12 months or longer
    • Deferred from WFNJ due to illness
    • Currently six or more months pregnant
    • Recently unemployed through no fault of your own

How to get help: 

Call your WFNJ case manager or local County Welfare Office/Board of Social Services and ask how to apply.

More emergency cash help in New Jersey: 

Single moms in New Jersey 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 New Jersey

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

Rental assistance in New Jersey

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

State Rental Assistance Program (SRAP)

SRAP is an initiative of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs that helps low-income renters pay for safe housing. The program selects 4,000 eligible households each year to receive rental assistance through a lottery system. 


  • New Jersey resident
  • Must be 18 or older (or emancipated minor) 
  • Meet income limits for your county
  • Household members must have social security number

How to get help: 

Complete and submit an SRAP pre-application online. 

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 New Jersey

If you need help paying your mortgage or buying a home in New Jersey, these programs can help: 

Emergency Rescue Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) 

ERMA offers up to $75,000 to New Jersey residents who are struggling to pay their mortgage. Payments can also help pay for:

  • Mortgage reinstatement
  • Escrow shortages
  • Past-due property taxes 
  • Past-due HOA dues/fees
  • Municipal or property tax liens
  • Mortgage principal, interest, and taxes 
  • Homeowner’s insurance


  • Must own and occupy home as primary residence
  • Are unable to pay mortgage payments
  • Can show COVID-19 related financial hardship
  • Meet household income limits for county
  • Were current on mortgage and property taxes before January 2020

How to get help: 

New Jersey HFA Advantage Mortgage Program

New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) offers a homebuyer program with a 30-year fixed-rate conventional mortgage loan, affordable mortgage insurance, and low down payments. 


  • Resident of New Jersey 
  • Home must be occupied as primary residence 60 days after close
  • Credit score of at least 620
  • Work with an NJHMFA lender 
  • Income is below program’s county limits

These loans are only available to first-time home buyers when combined with downpayment assistance. First-time homebuyers include those who have not owned a home for three years before purchasing a new home.

How to get help: 

New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency’s (NJHMFA) First-Time Homebuyer Mortgage Program

NJHMFA offers 30-year fixed rate mortgage loans for first-time homebuyers or non-first time homebuyers who purchase a home in target areas. These loans can be offered as FHA, VA, and USDA loans. The program can also be combined with the NJHMFA Down Payment Assistance Program.


  • Resident of New Jersey 
  • Home must be occupied as primary residence 60 days after close
  • Credit score of at least 620
  • Work with an NJHMFA lender 
  • Income meets program’s county limits
  • Home meets maximum purchase price limit for your county

How to get help: 

NJHMFA Homeward Bound Mortgage Program 

NJHMFA offers 30-year fixed rate mortgage loans for first-time homebuyers who have incomes below 140% of the AMI. 


  • Resident of New Jersey 
  • Home must be occupied as primary residence 60 days after close
  • Credit score of at least 620
  • Work with an NJHMFA lender 
  • Income meets program’s county limits
  • Home meets maximum purchase price limit for your county 
  • First-time homebuyer 
  • Non-first time homebuyer purchasing property in a target area who does not own another primary residence

How to get help: 

Check today's mortgage loan rates >>

NJHMFA Down Payment Assistance Program (DPA)

NJHMFA also offers up to $15,000 to put toward down payment and closing costs in the form of a second mortgage loan. The loan must be combined with an HFA Advantage Mortgage or First-Time Homebuyer Mortgage Program. 

The DPA includes no interest or monthly payments, and the loan is forgiven if the homeowner lives in the home for 5 years after the close date and does not refinance their first mortgage.  


  • Resident of New Jersey 
  • First-time homebuyer
  • Home must be occupied as primary residence 60 days after close
  • Credit score of at least 620
  • Work with an NJHMFA lender 
  • Income is below program’s county limits

How to get help: 

Homeless assistance in New Jersey

New Jersey Social Services for the Homeless (SSH)

If you are at risk for homelessness or homeless, the New Jersey SSH program offers emergency food, funds, and shelter. They can help with past due rent, mortgage, and utility payments.


  • New Jersey resident
  • Homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
  • Not eligible for TANF

How to get help:

Office of Homelessness Prevention

The main goal of the Office of Homelessness Prevention (OHP) is to prevent New Jersey residents from becoming homeless — or from having to return to homelessness. The office oversees state and local homelessness prevention agencies 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 OHP agencies. 

How to get help: 

More housing help: 

Electric bill assistance in New Jersey

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

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) in New Jersey 

LIHEAP helps qualifying households with home heating and cooling costs, paid directly to utility companies or a two-party check made to the applicant and supplier. 

Applying for LIHEAP also includes an application to the Universal Service Fund Program (USF), which helps pay natural gas and electric bills. The amount of LIHEAP assistance depends on your household size, income, type of fuel, and region. 


To be eligible for USF, you must also: 

  • Have a household income at or below 400% of FPL
  • Spend more than 2% of annual income on electric or natural gas.
  • Spend 4% of annual income on electricity if you have electric heat 

How to get help:

Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) in New Jersey 

LIHWAP helps low-income New Jersey residents pay for water and wastewater bills to avoid utility disconnection. Payments are made directly to water and wastewater companies. You can also apply for LIHEAP at the same time. 


  • U.S. Citizen or legal permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Resident of New Jersey
  • Monthly household income must be at or below 60% of the state median income (same as LIHEAP program)

How to get help:

New Jersey Payment Assistance for Gas and Electric (PAGE)

The PAGE program helps low- and moderate-income families who are behind on their energy bills. Homeowners and renters can get financial help to get their service reconnected and bill paid.


  • New Jersey resident
  • Renter or homeowner
  • Account is past due, at risk of disconnection, or disconnected
  • Overdue bill balance of at least $100
  • Liquid assets do not exceed a value of $15,000
  • Meets PAGE income requirements

How to get help:

New Jersey Universal Service Fund (USF)

The USF offers monthly credits on energy bills to make payments more affordable. If you are a USF recipient more than $60 behind on paying your gas and electric bill, you’ll be automatically enrolled in the USF-Fresh Start program  up until September 30, 2023. 

Fresh Start which offers bill forgiveness when you pay your current monthly charges in full. With each month, 1/12 of your past due amount is forgiven with the total balance forgiven in one year.


  • New Jersey resident
  • At risk of shut off or disconnected utilities
  • Meets USF income requirements

How to get help

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
  • Replacing inefficient or unsafe heating units 
  • Insulating a single-family home for energy efficiency


  • U.S citizen or a legal permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Resident of New Jersey
  • Meet annual household income guidelines (equal or less than 200% of FPL) —  $46,060/year max for a family of three

How to get help:

More electric bill help: 

Free money to help pay bills

Medical insurance and dental help for single moms in New Jersey

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

New Jersey Charity Care

New Jersey Charity Care offers free or affordable emergency care for uninsured and underinsured people. This service is not for routine check ups or primary care.


  • New Jersey resident
  • No health coverage or existing coverage that doesn't completely cover emergent care
  • Ineligible for private or government insurance, including Medicaid
  • Meets income and asset criteria

How to get help:

New Jersey Dental Association (NJDA) Dental Clinic Directory

NJDA’s Dental Clinic Directory connects New Jersey residents with dental clinics throughout the state that offer free and low-cost dental care. 


Each individual clinic or program sets its own eligibility requirements. 

How to get help: 

Search the NJ Dental Clinic Directory for a list of clinics across New Jersey. 

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 New Jersey by typing in your address on HRSA’s search tool.

NJ FamilyCare (Medicaid and CHIP)

Medicaid provides medical coverage for low-income individuals and families. In New Jersey, Medicaid recipients are enrolled in the NJ FamilyCare Medicaid program, which includes coverage through managed care organizations like:

NJ FamilyCare also includes the national Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — which matches each qualifying child to a health insurance program.

NJ FamilyCare coverage and premiums depend on your household income, but typically include coverage for services like:

  • Doctor visits
  • Glasses
  • Hospitalizations
  • Lab tests and x-rays
  • Prescriptions
  • Check-ups
  • Dental
  • Mental health


  • Resident of New Jersey
  • U.S. national citizen, refugee, or legal permanent resident for at least 5 years (children can qualify regardless of their immigration status)
  • Meet household income requirements

How to get help:

New Jersey Healthy Women Healthy Families (HWHF) Initiative 

New Jersey’s HWHF Initiative connects families with Community Health Workers (CHW) and Central Intake Hubs that provide support services to improve child and maternal health. 

Services include:

  • Healthcare for mothers and children
  • Early education programs
  • Domestic violence support
  • Addiction treatment
  • Financial assistance
  • Home visits
  • Mental and behavioral health services


Pregnant women and parents of children under 5 years old are typically eligible depending on the CHW and Central Intake Hub eligibility terms. 

How to get help: 

Search for services by county on the Connecting NJ website.

More medical/dental help: 

Food help for low-income families in New Jersey

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

New Jersey 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 

Click here for a list of what you can and cannot buy.


  • New Jersey resident
  • Must meet at least one of the following:
    • Low-income working family
    • Unemployed of part-time worker
    • Household includes seniors of people with disabilities
  • Household income meets maximum allowable income — $3,551/month max for a family of three

How to get help: 

New Jersey 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. 

WIC also offers Farmers' Market Checks from June through November so participants can purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables. These checks can only be used at approved Farmers Markets, and mothers and children 2-5 years old can receive $25 per month. 


  • 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 agency or WIC clinic office 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. 


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. 

New Jersey’s Summer Food Service Program

New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) serves free, nutritious meals to children 18 or younger during summer break. Food is distributed at local schools in low-income areas.


Meals are available to children 18 years old and younger.

How to get help: 

New Jersey food banks

Food banks in New Jersey 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 America website.

More food help: 

Child care help for low-income families

There are multiple federally funded education programs and resources in New Jersey:

New Jersey 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 
  • Income is at or below FPL
  • 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: 

The New Jersey Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) 

CCAP provides child care so a parent can work or attend a training or education program.


  • New Jersey resident
  • U.S. citizen or qualified non-citizen
  • Parent works 30+ hours per week, attends school full time (12+ credit hours), or job training (at least 20 hours per week)  
  • Children are 13 or younger, or less than 19 if they have a disability
  • Household financial assets do not exceed $1 million
  • Children must live with parent or guardian applying for CCAP
  • Household meets income limits — $49,720/year max for a family of three (for initial eligibility)

How to get help: 

Contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency.

New Jersey Cares for Kids (NJCK) 

The NJCK program helps eligible residents of Monmouth County pay for child care. This program helps families with children from birth up to 13 years old or those with special needs up to age 19.


  • Monmouth County resident
  • Children must be U.S. citizens and have a valid SSN
  • Meets household income requirements
  • Parent applying (and co-applicant) must meet one of the following:
    • Employed full time (at least 30 hours per week)
    • Employed part time and going to school or in training part time
    • Full-time student
    • Minimum credit hour load per semester (nine hours in the summer and 12 in the spring or fall)
    • Attend job training for at least 20 hours per week

How to get help:

More education help

Education help for single moms in New Jersey

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

Get a GED in New Jersey

If you are at least 18 years old in New Jersey, you can take the GED test. You may also be able to take the test at 16 or 17 with special permission if you are not enrolled in school and a parent or legal guardian completes a consent form.

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 New Jersey: 

  • Online at-home test – $30 per subject
  • In person at a test center – $36 per subject

New Jersey College Promise

The New Jersey College Promise was created to help college students gain higher education without going into debt. It offers two programs to achieve this goal for eligible recipients:

  • Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG): An income-based grant that offers tuition-free attendance at a New Jersey community college for an associate’s degree
  • Garden State Guarantee (GSG): A program that fully or partially funds a student’s third and fourth year in pursuit of a bachelor's degree at an in-state, public, four-year institution


  • New Jersey resident
  • Adjusted gross income between $0 and $100,000
  • Completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Enroll for a minimum of six credit hours at a New Jersey community college (CCOG) or 12 credit hours at a public four-year college in New Jersey
  • Does not possess a bachelor’s degree
  •  Must demonstrate satisfactory progress in school

How to get help:

  • Complete the FAFSA
  • Call 609-584-4480

Grants and scholarships in New Jersey

New Jersey’s Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) connects students and prospective students with grants and scholarships available in New Jersey. To find out which scholarships and grants you may be eligible for, create a student profile on the New Jersey Financial Aid Management System (NJFAMS)

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. 

Employment help for single moms in New Jersey

Workforce programs in New Jersey provide training and assist with employment:

New Jersey Displaced Homemaker Program (DHP)

The New Jersey DHP helps women who were previously married with a spouse that earned the primary income for the household. Through training and other employment services, the program helps women improve their employability and earning potential. This program serves all 21 New Jersey counties.


  • Resident of New Jersey
  • Single woman who is divorced, widowed, separated, a survivor of domestic violence, or with a disabled spouse
  • The spouse was the primary financial provider in the home and now the woman carries the financial responsibility

How to get help:

New Jersey Division of Unemployment Insurance

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


  • New Jersey resident 
  • Unemployed
  • Meet minimum earnings for base year period of employment (52 weeks)
  • Actively looking for another job

How to get help: 

Jersey City Free Public Library’s JobNow

The Jersey City Free Public Library offers free resources to help you find and get a job. Through JobNow, you can search for career opportunities, get live job coaching, learn and practice interview skills, receive resume help, and more. There are also resources to help you prepare for earning your GED


  • Resident of Jersey City, N.J.
  • Registered member of the Jersey City Free Public Library

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 in New Jersey

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

The Salvation Army of New Jersey

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 New Jersey

Catholic Charities assists with:

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

There are five chapters across New Jersey: 

  • Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Newark
  • Catholic Charities Diocese of Camden
  • Catholic Charities Diocese of Metuchen
  • Catholic Charities Diocese of Paterson
  • Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton

How to get help: 

United Way of New Jersey

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

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

How to get help: 

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