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How to Apply For Single Parent Benefits

Updated on August 6, 2013

Government Assistance for Single Parents

Being a single parent can be a lonely experience. It's mostly mothers, with the occasional father, struggling to make ends meet month after month. It may feel like there's nothing to lean on, but the Federal and State levels of government have put into place several ways to find help. You just need to know how to go about it, and where to look for single parent benefits.

Make Sure You Qualify

The first step is to ensure that you can qualify. Government assistance for single parents, is only for those in a low income household. It is also for those who are absolutely single, meaning, you must have a child with someone no longer around for more than a year, be divorced, a widower, the child's other parent has been incarcerated, or in some cases, one parent being disabled may warrant assistance. To make sure you qualify, make sure the need is there, and if so it's likely, the qualifications will be there as well.

Who to Contact for Help

The next step is to contact your county's Department of Human Services. The phone number for your county can be found online, at your county's website, or at any other government website, possibly your state's website. It's also possible to go to Google, and type the keyword "Department of Human Services" followed by your county and state. Find the number and set up an appointment with a case worker.

What to Bring to the Meeting

Before attending the meeting, be sure to be prepared. Bring any relevant documentation, such as pay stubs if you have them, social security cards and/or birth certificates, proof of residency, proof of your utility bills and rent, and a statement concerning your situation with your child’s father (or mother, as the case may be) — whether you are separated, divorced, never married, etc. If you have any court orders pertaining to child support and custody, bring those with you as well.

Your case worker may ask for other documentation depending upon the type of assistance requested. You will likely have up to ten days to bring the documents. Do not hesitate. If there is any difficulty in getting the documentation, inform the case worker immediately. They can help, but if you fail to produce it, they will likely take you off the list of candidates, as if you weren't interested. Don't give them a reason to pass you by. Also, ask about all possible aid you could be eligible for.


Once all of these things are done, you should be on your way to receiving government assistance for child care. Be sure to check in regularly with your case worker, as they will need updates on your status.


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    • FL2BoysMom profile image

      FL2BoysMom 5 years ago

      I will never forget the day I discovered that applying for benefits was like a game of chess... you have to be extremely strategic and know what your options are before you even apply. I live in Florida, and the first time I applied for the benefits, I was denied. Later, when I finally did get approved, is when I was finally told to go to "Career Central" to "Work Register" for Cash Assistance.

      Once I registered, I was told I had to go to an orientation... I went to the orientation where I learned that I could have gotten a $1,000 'up front diversion', if I got a job before cash opened.

      I also learned that I didn't have to be 'approved' for assistance to get the upfront diversion, I only had to prove that I'd 'applied' for assistance (by bringing in the last page of my application with my application number on it).

      It sure would have been nice to have had the 'caseworker' tell me to go to Career Central 'immediatlely' after filing the application, since I wound up getting denied ALL benefits that first time.

      But they don't do that. And if it's your first time applying for assistance, you don't have any knowledge that the procedures go this way, so you don't know any better.

      Caseworkers certainly don't seem to be 'on your side.' They seem to exist solely for the purpose of looking for reasons to deny you, not help you...

      Here's some extremely good advice for anyone... ...and even if you are on the "State Assistance Merry Go Round" right now, this article shows one way to 'pave to road' to get off it, and STAY off it.