Sources of financial aid for single mothers vary by the jurisdiction in which they live and both their needs as well as the needs of their children. Many governments regard unmarried women with children as economically vulnerable and may provide various types of financial aid available to them, including educational services, medical services, and assistance with daily living expenses. To qualify for these services, a mother must typically demonstrate that she and her children have a legitimate financial need. Many private charities also offer various types of financial aid for single mothers.
In the United States, several programs exist that can help low-income mothers both care for themselves and their children as well as better their situation so that they no longer have to rely on government or private aid. For example, pregnant women may be entitled to free or very low-cost medical care while they are pregnant or recovering from childbirth. In addition, these women may be able to receive free food assistance through the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. If a low-income mother is unable to pay her rent, utilities, or other necessary expenses, she may be entitled to receive cash assistance, low-cost housing, or rental assistance and may also qualify for significant discounts on her utility bills.
In many places, the goal of social-welfare programs is to assist recipients in achieving self-sufficiency. In some cases, aid recipients may be entitled to participate in work training programs that can prepare them for careers that will pay them enough money so that they no longer have to rely on public or private assistance. For those women who are interested in pursuing education that could lead to a trade or a profession, educational financial aid for is often available. In the United States and other countries, financial aid for school is often determined according to a student's financial need. If a woman has children, her financial need is greater because she must provide for those children and herself while attending school.
Financial aid for single mothers who wish to go back to school is not limited to government educational financial aid. Schools may also have private resources that can assist a woman in achieving her educational goals. She may also be able to take advantage of private grants and scholarships offered by charities and foundations, some of which may specifically provide financial help to women with dependents who wish to return to school.