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Help for single moms in Wisconsin: 27 assistance programs

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If you’re a single mom in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin

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

Wisconsin Works (W-2)

W-2 is Wisconsin’s version of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which provides cash assistance to 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 your household income and family size. You can find a detailed payout list in the W-2 manual. 

Cash assistance is available for a lifetime total of 48 months for adults. Children living with a relative may be able to receive money for a longer period. 

W-2 also offers the following programs: 

  • Trial Employment Match Program (TEMP): If you need help finding a job, you may be eligible for a TEMP job. If you are eligible for TEMP, you will get on-the-job training with an employer who may hire you permanently. Employers will pay at least minimum wage.
  • Community Service Jobs (CSJ): If you need work experience to help you prepare for work, you may get a CSJ. CSJs receive a monthly payment of up to $653.
  •  W-2 Transitions (W-2T): If you are not ready to look for work because you or an immediate family member is disabled, you may be eligible to participate as a W-2T and receive a monthly payment of up to $608.


  • U.S. citizen or a qualified non-citizen
  • Wisconsin resident
  • Age 18 or older 
  • Must be a custodial parent or relative
  • 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 115% of the FPL
  • Family assets of $2,500 or less

How to get help:

More emergency cash help in Wisconsin: 

Single moms in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin

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

How to get help: 

Mortgage assistance in Wisconsin 

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

Wisconsin Help for Homeowners (WHH)

This Wisconsin program can help with overdue bills such as mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and more.

The maximum award for eligible households is $40,000. Assistance below $10,000 will be provided as a grant. Assistance over $10,000 will be structured as a 1-year, non-interest bearing, forgivable loan. The loan is due in full upon sale, refinance, or transfer of ownership. If no resale, transfer, or refinance occurs within one year and the homeowner remains in the home, the loan will be fully forgiven. 


  • Wisconsin homeowner living in a:
    • Single-family home
    • Duplex
    • Condo
    • Factory-built home
  • Have been financially impacted since January 21, 2020
  • Hou​sehold income is less than or equal to 100% of either the U.S. or county median, whichever is greater​

How to get help: 

Wisconsin Housing down payment assistance

Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) helps with down payment and closing costs in the form of a second mortgage loan. 

There are two down payment assistance options available: 

WHEDA Easy Close DPA 

  • Maximum loan amount of 6% of the purchase price when partnered with WHEDA FHA, VA, USDA and conventional loans
  • 10-year fixed rate second mortgage with monthly payment

WHEDA Capital Access 

  • Maximum loan amount is 3% of the purchase price when partnered with a WHEDA HA, VA, USDA and conventional loans
  • 30-year fixed rate mortgage
  • 0% Interest rate
  • No monthly payments for the life of the loan 


Contact a WHEDA certified lender to see if your household is eligible. 

How to get help: 

Check today's mortgage loan rates >>

Homeless assistance in Wisconsin 

Wisconsin Department of Children and Family Homeless Services provides resources to help prevent Wisconsin residents from becoming homeless — or from having to return to homelessness. The office has information on:

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


Requirements are set by individual agencies and programs. 

How to get help: 

More housing help: 

Electric bill assistance in Wisconsin

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

Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP)

WHEAP assists eligible households with their heating and electric bills. The amount of funding received is based on: 

  • Amount of funding available 
  • Household income 
  • Type of fuel
  • Number of rooms in the home 
  • Household fuel costs of the household
  • Type of home


  • Total income no more than 60% of the Wisconsin state median income
  • Responsible for paying your home utility bills 
  • Wisconsin resident 
  • U.S. Citizen, qualified alien, or permanent resident of the U.S.

How to get help:

Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund

The Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund (KWW/CF) helps people who need additional help after exhausting other energy bill resources, such as WHEAP. This fund is focused on helping residents keep heat and power on, despite a household’s financial challenges.


  • Eligible for WHEAP
  • Need help to pay energy bills

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 projects 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
  • Wisconsin resident 
  • Total income no more than 60% of the Wisconsin state median income
  • 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.

HE+ Furnace and Water Conservation programs 

The HE+ Furnace Program helps eligible low-income Wisconsin households when their primary heating system no longer provides heat, is inoperable or becomes unsafe. 

The HE+ Water Conservation Program helps households with the repair or replacement of leaky or non-working water heaters, leaky fixtures, toilets and/or piping. 


  • U.S citizen or a qualified alien
  • Wisconsin resident 
  • Total income no more than 60% of the Wisconsin state median income
  • Referral sent to the Weatherization agency 
  • Automatically eligible if you are receiving SSI, TANF or Aid to Families with Dependent Children benefits

How to get help:

More utility bill help in Wisconsin: 

Medical insurance and dental help for single moms in Wisconsin

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

Wisconsin Dental Association 

The Wisconsin Dental Association offers resources to help residents find free or low-cost dental services.  


Each individual clinic or program sets its own eligibility requirements. 

How to get help: 

WDA put together this list of dental clinics in Wisconsin.

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) in Wisconsin

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

BadgerCare Plus (Medicaid)

BadgerCare Plus is Wisconsin’s version of Medicaid, which provides medical coverage for low-income individuals and families. Benefits include:

  • 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

Check out this full list of BadgerCare Plus covered services and copays. 


  • Wisconsin resident 
  • U.S. national citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien
  • Meet income requirements

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

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

How to get help:

More medical/dental help: 

Food help for low-income families in Wisconsin

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

Wisconsin FoodShare (SNAP)

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

FoodShare, Wisconsin’s version of SNAP, issues recipients an EBT card that can be used like an ATM card in retail food stores to purchase food, including:

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


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. 

Through the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, Wisconsin WIC recipients also get monthly checks to spend at local farmers markets. 


  • 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: 

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. 

Wisconsin’s Summer Food Service Program

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction serves nutritious meals at no cost to children during summer break. Food is distributed at local schools, nonprofits, parks, and libraries. 


How to get help: 

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

Wisconsin food banks

Food banks in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin website.

More food help: 

Child care help for low-income families in Wisconsin

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

Wisconsin 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. 

Get more information from the Wisconsin Head Start Association website. 


  • 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: 

Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy

The Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy program helps working families pay for monthly child care costs.


  • Wisconsin resident
  • Have a child younger than 13 or under 19 with a disability
  • Meet monthly income guidelines (not more than 185% of the FPL)
  • Child is a U.S. citizen or qualified immigrant

If you do not meet the above qualifications but participate in one of these activities you may still be eligible:

  • Working part- or full-time
  • If under 20 years old, graduating from high school or completing a high school equivalency
  • Completing tasks assigned by Wisconsin Works or FoodShare employment and training agency

How to get help:

More child care help

Education help for single moms in Wisconsin

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

Get a GED in Wisconsin

If you are at least 18.5 years old in Wisconsin, 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

Wisconsin residents are also required to pass a 100-question civics test

You have two options for taking the test in Wisconsin: 

  • Online at-home test – $39.75 per subject
  • In person at a test center – $33.75 per subject

Grants and scholarships in Wisconsin

The Department of Public Instruction connects students and prospective students with grants and scholarships available in Wisconsin. 

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. 

More education help: 

Employment help for single moms in Wisconsin

Workforce programs in Wisconsin provide training and assist with employment:

Wisconsin Reemployment Assistance (Insurance) Program

The Reemployment Services program provides unemployment compensation to eligible Wisconsin workers who are out of work through no fault of their own.


  • Wisconsin resident 
  • Unemployed
  • Previously employed for the past 12 months
  • Earned a certain amount of wages
  • Actively looking for another job, including:
    • Full registration on Job Center of Wisconsin website, plus development of a current resume
    • Completion of an online Reemployment Services orientation and assessment
    • Additional job search activities as required, which may include self-scheduling and participation in virtual or in-person activities at the Job Center with Job Service staff

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 Wisconsin

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

The Salvation Army of Wisconsin

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


Each Salvation Army branch determines its own eligibility criteria for different programs. 

How to get help: 

Visit the Salvation Army website to find your local chapter. 

Catholic Charities of Wisconsin

Catholic Charities of Wisconsin provides numerous services to those in need. Catholic Charities assists with:

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


Each Catholic Charities branch determines its own eligibility criteria for different programs. 

How to get help: 

United Way of Wisconsin

The United Way of Wisconsin 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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