Low Income Assistance Programs in the State of Missouri

The state of Missouri has a population of 6 million with a poverty rate of 15.5% which is ranked 30th in the United States. The poverty rate among children is higher at 20.7%. There are over 900 000 Missouri residents living in a state of poverty. Many single parents, families and individuals struggle with basic expenses and necessities that many take for granted. Fortunately, there are numerous assistance programs available in Missouri. This guide will list and explain the assistance programs available.

Financial Assistance in Missouri

Many single parents and families struggle with bills and expenses struggling to provide their family everything needed to remain happy and healthy. Fortunately there is some financial assistance available.

Missouri Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The Missouri TANF program provides cash assistance to low income families of Missouri which is to be used to better provide for their children. The program also provides job training and education to parents to help them seek better employment opportunities.

To qualify for this program you must be considered low income, and have a child under the age of 19 living in your household. To learn more and to apply visit the Missouri TANF webpage.

Missouri Unemployment Insurance (UI)

The Missouri UI program provides temporary financial relief to those who have lost their job through no fault of their own. The amount you receive is based on your earnings with your previous employer. Also you must be actively seeking new employment each week you are receiving benefits.

To learn more and to apply visit the Missouri Deparment of Labor UI webpage

Food Assistance in Missouri

Many low income single parents and families struggle to provide their family with the necessary nutritious food needed for their children. There are many programs available to correct this issue.

Missouri Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Missouri SNAP program provides food assistance to low income households in Missouri. The assistance is received in the form of a plastic card called the Missouri EBT card that has funds loaded onto it. Simply swipe the card like a debit card when checking out with your food and you will be all set.

To qualify for this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To learn more and to apply visit the Missouri SNAP webpage.

Missouri Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

The Missouri WIC program provides food assistance, nutrition education, and even health care referrals and assistance for pregnant, postpartum women and their children from ages 0 to 5 years old.

To be eligible for this program you must be considered a nutritional health risk or have strict dietary restrictions stated by a health care professional. You must also met the low income requirements. In order to apply you must contact a WIC office in your area of Missouri. To learn more, visit the Missouri WIC webpage.

Missouri School Breakfast and Lunch Program

The Missouri School Breakfast and Lunch Program provides children of low income families with free or low cost breakfasts’ and lunches to children while they are attending school. Your family income and household size determine if the meals are free or reduced in price. If you are enrolled under the Missouri TANF program, your child will automatically be eligible for this program.

To be eligible for this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To apply for this program you must directly contact that school that your child attends. To learn more visit the Missouri School Nutrition webpage.

Missouri Food Banks

The state of Missouri has many food banks for those who are facing hunger. The food offered is free and nutritious. If you and your family is faced with hunger, check out this list of Missouri Food Banks to find one in your area.

Medical Assistance in Missouri

Medical costs and services are simply to expensive for anyone to manage if they do not have health coverage. If you are of low income you can qualify for medical coverage in Missouri.

Missouri MO HealthNet

The Missouri MO HealthNet program (Medicaid) provides medical coverage to those who are of low income and do not have any other coverage. MO HealthNet covers a variety of health services which include:

  • doctor’s visits
  • prescription drugs
  • lab tests and X-rays ordered by doctors
  • hospital care
  • eye care
  • dental care
  • treatments
  • vaccination
  • MRI’s

MO HealthNet eligibility is based on your income in relation to the number of people living in your household. Also, the income levels required differ based on age. Also depending on you and your family’s specific situation, not all services will necessarily be covered, or some services might require you to pay a portion of the costs. To learn more about MO HealthNet including how to apply, check out the Missouri MO HealthNet webpage.

Missouri MO HealthNet for Children (CHIP)

The Missouri CHIP program provides medical coverage to children and teens who do not qualify for any other health program including Medicaid. CHIP covers all the services covered under Medicaid including mental health, dental, and vision care.

The income levels required to qualify are set to lower amounts, making it quite easy to qualify. Some monthly premiums will apply, with the amount to be paid determined by your income, however the fees are quite low. To learn more and to apply visit the Missouri HealthNet for Children webpage.

Child Care Assistance in Missouri

Child care costs and expenses can be very hard on low income single parents and families. Fortunately if you are of low income, there are child care assistance programs available.

Missouri Child Care Assistance Program

The Missouri Child Care program assists low income single parents and families with their child care bills by paying a portion of the costs. The amount covered depends on income and family size. To receive the assistance the parents must either be employed or attending school/job training. To learn more and to apply visit the Missouri Child Care Assistance webpage.

Missouri Head Start Program

The Missouri Head Start program provides child care and helps young children from the ages of 0-5 to enhance the social and behavioural skills in preparation for school. To qualify for this program you must be of low income. To take a look at the income guidelines please click here. Check out the Missouri Head Start website to learn more and to apply.

Housing Assistance in Missouri

Housing utility costs and rental costs can be a big issue for low income single parents and families. If you are of low income there are many assistance programs available.

Missouri Low Income Public Housing Program

The Missouri Low Income Public Housing Program offers low income residents the opportunity to living in housing owned by Local Housing Agencies with reduced rent costs. The living arrangements are owned by the local Public Housing Agencies in your area of the state. Usually you will be placed in an apartment, however it can also be single houses or condos. The housing authorities receive funding from the state, who then use the funds to provide the low income with very low rent payments in safe and sanitary living conditions. To be eligible you must be of low income, usually ranging between 50% – 80% of the average income in the area you live, however this is just a guideline.

To begin the application process, you must go through your local Housing Agency. This list of Missouri Housing Agencies provides an in depth list of all the Housing Agencies located across Missouri. Once you find the Housing Agency in your area, you can contact them to find out the specific income guidelines required, as well as any details or questions you might have about the program. To learn more visit the Missouri Public Housing website.

Missouri Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Missouri Housing Choice Voucher Program also provides reduced rent costs, however with this program you are able to choose your own living arrangements. It can be difficult locating a well priced apparent that is safe and sanitary, so this program enables you to afford high quality apartments. Once you have chosen your home, the Housing Agency provides a voucher to your landlord which covers a good portion of your rent payments. You will only pay a portion of your total rent payment, usually 30-40% of the total rent cost.

To be eligible you must be of low income. To apply you must set up an appointment with your local Housing Agency where you will discuss your income and current living situation.

Missouri Affordable Apartment Search

You can use this useful tool that allows you to search for well priced apartments that are located in you area of the state. To use this tool, check out the Missouri Affordable Apartment locator.

Missouri Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Missouri LIHEAP program helps low income households with their heating bills in the months ranging from October to March. The amount of your bill that is paid on your behalf depends on income, household size and the type of fuel used for home heating.

To qualify you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To learn more and to apply visit the Missouri LIHEAP webpage.

Missouri Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

The Missouri WAP program performs services to low income households in an effort to make the homes more energy efficient, which results in lower energy bills. This program will check for air leaks, replace and fix A/C units and more.

To qualify you must meet the low income requirements. To learn more and to apply visit the Missouri WAP webpage.

Missouri First Time Home Buyer Programs

The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) offers down payment programs designed for those who are looking to purchase their first home. The programs offer down payment assistance up to 5% of the mortgage amount, closing cost assistance and reduced interest rates on mortgages. You can also qualify tax reduction when purchasing your first home.

To take a look at the programs check out the MHDC website. To view more home ownership programs check out this Missouri Home Ownership webpage.

Transportation Assistance in Missouri

Transportation costs can be an issue for those who use public transportation or a taxi on a frequent basis. There are most cost efficient alternatives available and you can receive free medical transportation.

Missouri Non Emergency Medical Transportation Program (NEMT)

The Missouri NEMT program provides free or low cost rides to and from any medical appointments, tests etc to those enrolled under the Missouri MO HealthNet programs for adults and children. If you are over age 19 the rides will have a low fee of $2. To learn more about this program check out the Missouri NEMT webpage.


You can use the popular intuitive Uber and Lyft driving services which are driving services that work like a taxi service, however ordinary people drive you where you need to go in their own vehicles. The prices are cheaper than taking a cab, saving you good money over time. Check out uber.com and lyft.com to learn more.

Legal Assistance in Missouri

Legal service and advice is very expensive making it difficult for the low income to get any legal service they might need. Fortunately there is free/costly legal assistance available.

Missouri Legal Aid Services

The state of Missouri offers free and discounted legal services to low income Missouri residents. There multiple services that cover East, West, and Central Missouri and will provide legal assistance in many areas such as taxes, youth law, evictions, domestic violence, foreclosure and more. To learn more check out the Missouri Legal Aid Services website.

Missouri offers many useful assistance programs to help it’s low income residents. If you are of low income do not hesitate to apply as you will most likely qualify for one or more of the programs.

Links and Resources

Missouri Benefits Page

Missouri Housing and Rental Assistance Resource


Find Local State Assistance Financial Help Programs for Single Mothers

Click on any one of the states below on the map (or via the table) to go to our local state assistance guide for that specific state