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Help for single moms in South Carolina: 36 assistance programs

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If you’re a single mom in South Carolina 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 South Carolina

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 South Carolina

South Carolina’s 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. Benefits are limited to 24 months in a 10-year time period. 

The amount paid out varies depending on household income, size and location. Contact your local Department of Social Services (DSS) office to find how much your family can get per month. 

In addition to the cash aid, benefits can also include child care and transportation assistance, job training and more. 


  • Must be a U.S. citizen or a qualified non-citizen
  • Permanent South Carolina resident
  • Have children under 18 
  • Low-income South Carolina families with a dependent child, to whom they are related, living in the household
  • Individuals that agree to pursue child support from parent(s) absent from the home
  • Children and mother must have social security number
  • Gross income must be less than 50% of the federal poverty level — you can check your eligibility here
  • $2,000 or less and licensed vehicles needed for individuals subject to the work requirement may not exceed $8,500.

How to get help:

More emergency cash help in South Carolina: 

Single moms in South Carolina 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 South Carolina

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

Rental assistance in South Carolina

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

SC Stay Plus

South Carolina’s Rent and Utility Assistance Program is accepting applications for its waitlist. The SC Stay Plus program is a rental and utility assistance program for those who are experiencing financial hardships and housing challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


  • Household must be obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling
  • One or more members of the household must demonstrate risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability
  • Total household income at or below 80% of the AMI as defined by the federal government
  • One or more members of the household must meet one of the following:
  • Qualified for unemployment benefits
  • Experienced a reduction in household income
  • Incurred significant costs
  • Experienced other financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak

How to get help: 

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
  • Here is a chart of state income limits

How to get help: 

Mortgage assistance in South Carolina

If you need help buying a home in South Carolina, these programs can help: 

South Carolina Homebuyer Program

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

The program also offers first-time home buyers down payment assistance. 

Here's a list of family income and home price limits. 


  • Credit score of at least 640
  • Work with an approved, participating lender
  • Property must be in South Carolina 
  • Must complete a homebuyer education course                      

How to get help: 

County First Initiative

County First is a rural initiative designed to provide potential homebuyers with additional resources. The program includes up to $8,500 in forgivable down payment assistance and special fixed-rate financing. Borrowers can choose FHA, Conventional, USDA, or VA financing.


The program requirements are the same as the SC Homebuyer Program for income and home price limits. Properties that can be financed include: 

  • Single-family residences
  • Condominiums
  • Townhomes
  • Modular homes

County First funding is available to homebuyers in the following counties:

  • Abbeville
  • Allendale
  • Bamberg
  • Barnwell
  • Calhoun
  • Chester
  • Chesterfield
  • Clarendon
  • Colleton
  • Dillon
  • Edgefield
  • Fairfield
  • Georgetown
  • Hampton
  • Jasper
  • Lee
  • Marion
  • Marlboro
  • McCormick
  • Newberry
  • Saluda
  • Union 
  • Williamsburg

How to get help: 

Palmetto Home Advantage

Palmetto Home Advantage offers Conventional, FHA, VA and USDA loan options for first-time and repeat buyers with no first-time home buyer requirements in South Carolina. 


All program options require a minimum 640 credit score, have no sales price limits, and have a borrower income limit of $115,000. 

The program offers forgivable down payment assistance of 0%, 3%, or 4% of the loan amount with a $0 monthly payment.

How to get help: 

Contact a participating lender.

SC Mortgage Tax Credit Program

The SC Mortgage Tax Credit is a Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) program is administered by SC Housing and provides a federal income tax credit to qualified homebuyers of up to $2,000 per year for the life of the loan.

How to get help: 

Check today's mortgage loan rates >>

Homeless assistance in South Carolina

If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness, you may be able to get help from the following program: 

The Housing and Homeless Programs of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health

This aims to prevent South Carolina residents from experiencing homelessness. The office oversees services including:

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


The program is for people with severe and persistent mental illnesses who have incomes of less than $550 per month.

How to get help: 

  • Call 803-898-7767
  • Email [email protected] 
  • Contact the 24/7/365 Statewide Crisis Response dispatcher at 833-364-2274

More housing help: 

Electric bill assistance in South Carolina

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

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) in South Carolina

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


  • Meet income guidelines — $37,290/year for a family of three
  • Responsible for paying your home heating or cooling bills
  • Resident of South Carolina 
  • U.S. Citizen, qualified alien, or permanent resident of the U.S.

How to get help:

Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) 

LIHWAP provides funds to assist low-income South Carolina households with water and wastewater bills.


  • Applicant must be a South Carolina resident living at the service address
  • Bill must be in a household member’s name
  • Eligible household members must be a U.S. Citizen or eligible immigrant
  • Household’s total gross income cannot exceed 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG)

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

You are automatically eligible if you are receiving SSI, TANF or Aid to Families with Dependent Children benefits.


  • U.S citizen or a qualified alien
  • South Carolina resident 
  • Preference is given to:
    • Elderly – 60 years of age and older
    • Disabled – Families with one or more members with a disability
    • Households with children under age 18
  • Meet annual household income guidelines based on the number of people in your household 

How to get help:

Contact your county’s Weatherization provider.

More electric bill help: 

Your Community Action Agency in your county may be able to offer you one or more of the following types of assistance:

  • Utility bill payment assistance
  • Energy crisis assistance
  • Weatherization and energy-related home repairs

Free money to help pay bills

Medical insurance and dental help for single moms in South Carolina

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

Dental Access Carolina

Dental Access Carolina is a mobile clinic that travels to businesses and schools to offer dental treatment. It’s a helpful option if you're struggling to take off work or adjust your schedule to seek dental treatment for yourself or your child. Dental Access Carolina works with schools and businesses throughout the state.

The mobile clinic works with the following insurance plans:

  • Aetna
  • BlueCross BlueShield State/Plus
  • Cigna
  • Delta Dental
  • Principal
  • United Concordia
  • South Carolina Medicaid


  • Resident of South Carolina

How to get help:

Healthy Connections 

Healthy Connections is South Carolina's Medicaid program that helps pay for some or all medical bills for people who cannot afford medical care.

Healthy Connections covers: 

  • Doctor’s visits
  • Emergencies
  • Prescription drugs
  • Nursing facility care
  • More medical services


Learn if you and your family qualify here. 

  • U.S. citizen or a qualified alien
  • Pregnant or think you may be pregnant 
  • Have a child or teenager age 18 or under 
  • You or your child is in foster care or adopted or you have been in foster care and are under the age of 26 
  • Have very low or no income — limits are based on the federal poverty level and vary for different family sizes and programs 

How to get help: 

Partners for Healthy Children (PHC)

PHC is a health insurance program for children up to age 19 in South Carolina who are not eligible for Medicaid and who are uninsured. 


  • Children under age 19  who live in families with income at or below 208% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) 
  • Have a social security number
  • S.C. resident 
  • U.S. citizen or lawful alien 

How to get help: 

South Carolina dental clinics

The South Carolina Dental Association has a list of dental clinics in the state. 

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)

HRSA, an agency of the U.S. 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 South Carolina by typing in your address on HRSA’s search tool.

More medical/dental help: 

Food help for low-income families in South Carolina

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

South Carolina 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


  • South Carolina resident
  • Meet income eligibility guidelines, less than 130% of the federal poverty level — $2,495 for a family of three
  • Households with an elderly (age 60 or older) or disabled individual are subject to a net income limit of 100% of federal poverty level

For emergency SNAP benefits: 

  • Household gross monthly income less than $150 and liquid assets (money in the bank; cash on hand) do not exceed $100, OR
  • Household’s gross monthly income plus any cash that you have on hand or in the bank is less than your rent/mortgage and utilities

How to get help: 

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 855-472-3432 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 guidelines.

How to get help: 

Contact your child’s school to enroll. 

South Carolina’s Summer Food Service Program

This program provides nutritious meals at no cost to children during summer break. Food is distributed at local schools, nonprofits, parks and libraries. 


How to get help: 

South Carolina food banks

Food banks in South Carolina 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 the Carolinas  website.

Harvest Hope, South Carolina’s largest food bank, is located in 20 S.C. counties. Find a list of locations and programs here

More food help: 

Child care help for low-income families

There are multiple federal and state-funded education programs and resources in South Carolina:

South Carolina K-12 scholarship program

South Carolina will launch the Education Scholarship Trust Fund program in the 2024-2025 school year. The program will offer a $6,000 scholarship to give underserved children from low-income families affordable access to private school, tutoring, learning technology, and other paid educational services.

Applications will begin between January 15 and March 15, 2024. The first phase of the program will accept 5,000 students growing to 15,000 students by the 2026-2027 school year. 


  • South Carolina resident
  • First-time kindergartner or attended public school in 2023-2024 school year
  • Household income does not exceed 200% of the FPL based on size

How to get help:

South Carolina 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: 

South Carolina Department of Social Services COVID-300 scholarship 

DSS’s Covid-300 scholarship helps S.C. families with the costs of child care. The scholarship amount your household is eligible for will be determined by factors including your provider’s tuition rate and your child’s age. A scholarship may cover all or some of your child care costs.


  • Have a child or children between birth and 12 years of age
  • Work at least 15 hours per week or attend school or a training program
  • Gross income below 300% of the federal poverty level — $7,768/month for a family of three
  • Child care scholarships are also available to support children ages 13 to 18 in certain circumstances: those who have disabilities, developmental delays, or who are in foster care

How to get help: 

  • Apply online through the DSS Portal
  • Contact the Child Care Operations Center at 800-476-0199

More education help

Education help for single moms in South Carolina

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

Get a GED in South Carolina 

If you are at least 19 years old in S.C., you can take the GED test. You may also be able to take the test at 16, 17, or 18 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 South Carolina: 

  • Online at-home test – $43.50 per subject
  • In person at a test center – $37.50 per subject

Grants and scholarships in South Carolina

The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education provides direct support to students pursuing higher education through a number of need-based and merit-based scholarships and grants. You must be a South Carolina resident to apply. 

Employment help for single moms in South Carolina

Workforce programs in South Carolina provide training and assist with employment:

S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce 

The Department of Employment and Workforce exists to help people who are unemployed find employment. The department matches job seekers with employers and provides unemployment insurance benefits, among other services. 


  • South Carolina resident 
  • Unemployed
  • Not your fault you lost your job from your most recent employer
  • Able to work
  • Available for work and willing to take any suitable offer
  • Report to your local comprehensive SC Works center as required 
  • Must actively search for suitable work each week that you file a weekly certification for unemployment insurance benefits.
    • Suitable work includes any trade, occupation, or business in which you are qualified based on your training or experience and which pays at least 90% of your previous salary during your first eight paid weeks of unemployment and 75% of your previous salary after eight paid weeks of unemployment. 
  • Must complete at least two work searches through SC Works Online Services each week that you file a certification
  • To be financially eligible for UI benefits, you must:
    • Have at least $1,092 in covered employment (with an employer who paid UI taxes) during the base period’s* highest quarter
    • Have earned at least $4,455 from covered employment during the base period*
    • Have total base period* wages that are equal to, or exceed, 1.5 times the amount you earned during your highest-earning quarter of the year

*The base period is defined as wages earned doing one year of insured work 

How to get help: 

American Job Centers

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

How to get help: 

More employment help: 

Charity organizations in South Carolina

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

Raising Up the Lowcountry Foundation

This charity helps single moms in the Charleston, S.C. area with emotional, educational, and short-term financial support. There are several coaching programs that teach skills to improve health, money management, parenting, career advancement, and more.


  • Single moms in the Charleston area are encouraged to apply for help

How to get help:

Salvation Army of South Carolina

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: 

Catholic Charities of South Carolina

Catholic Charities assists with:

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

There are seven chapters across South Carolina: 

  • Catholic Charities of South Carolina Coastal 
  • Catholic Charities of South Carolina Lowcountry 
  • Catholic Charities of South Carolina Gloverville 
  • Catholic Charities of South Carolina Georgetown
  • Catholic Charities of South Carolina Midlands 
  • Catholic Charities of South Carolina Pee Dee
  • Catholic Charities of South Carolina Upstate 

How to get help: 

  • Contact your local Catholic Charities branch 
  • Call 843-531-5570

United Way of South Carolina

The United Way Association of South Carolina 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:


South Carolina’s poverty level that it holds standards by is a laugh. I am a single mom struggling to put food on my table because I work and pay my bills so I can’t get help to pay for food. All my money literally goes to bills, gas, and kids. Food is like a whole other bracket. I’m ashamed to live in SC when they help lazy people but not the real people who need the help.

Gas? Imagine not having a car. We’re encouraged to look to those with less than us so that we’ll be grateful for the blessings that we do have. Things could always be worst.

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