Are you in need of single mom help? You’re not the only one! In fact, there are numerous moms out there raising their kids on their own while dealing with the difficult challenges life throws them every day.
It’s no surprise that the majority of single mothers need help with their finances. Whether it’s paying for health insurance, getting child support, or applying for other assistance programs, many single parents are familiar with money problems.
Without a second parent in the picture, caring for a child becomes very expensive, and many mothers find it difficult to keep up with the costs of food, clothing, rent, and utilities.
To help you learn more about the resources you can benefit from, I’ve put together more than a dozen different ways (including government assistance) that will help you get back on your feet.
1. File For Child Support
Although filing for child support doesn’t guarantee that the father of the child will make the payments regularly, or at all, this is a very important step in looking for any kind of single mom help.
Getting a child support order from the court is key to make yourself eligible to apply to other government assistance programs because the government wants to make sure you’ve pursued other areas of financial assistance before coming to them for help.
If you haven’t filed yet, the first step is to get in touch with the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) in your area. They will guide you through the entire procedure and even help you locate the child’s father if you don’t know his current place of residence.
Unfortunately, the entire process of obtaining financial support from the child’s father usually takes a while to complete, so be patient while the procedure is underway.
2. Apply For The National School Lunch Program
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers school lunches to children from qualifying families for free or at a discounted price. Considering that food takes up a significant portion of every family’s budget, especially single-parent families, this program is a great way to get single mom help and ensure your child is eating well every day.
Schools usually send out applications for this program at the start of the school year, but it’s possible for you to apply at any time during the year as well. For more information on how to apply and eligibility requirements, visit the USDA website.
Keep in mind that if you’re already receiving help from certain public assistance programs, you are automatically eligible for the National School Lunch Program. These include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
3. Apply For The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Popularly known as food stamps, SNAP helps low-income families eat healthy and nutritious meals by providing them with an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card they can use to purchase food at grocery stores and other establishments that accept the card.
With SNAP, you can buy food such as fresh vegetables and fruit, meat, snacks, bread, and non-alcoholic drinks. You can also buy seeds to plant your own food if you have a garden.
However, you won’t be able to buy cosmetics, cleaning products, hot or ready-to-eat foods, or supplements with your EBT card.
For more information on how to apply and whether you’re eligible for the program, visit the USDA website. It’s important to know that qualifying for SNAP once doesn’t mean you’ll be receiving these benefits indefinitely. Each recipient is given a certification period during which you can use your card to purchase food. After it runs out, you’ll have to reapply.
4. Apply For The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
LIHEAP offers aid when it comes to paying home energy bills, in addition to helping with the weatherization of your home, meaning any necessary repairs to prevent loss of heat in winter and improve cooling come summertime.
To find out more about the application process for this government program, you’ll need to get in touch with the LIHEAP office in your area.
5. Apply For Housing Choice Vouchers
If you’re looking for single mom help for housing, you should definitely look into housing programs by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) is a federal program that allows you to find your own housing in the private market and not just in the housing projects.
Public housing agencies are responsible for distributing the vouchers, which are then used to subsidize the cost of housing for your family.
When it comes to eligibility requirements, your income shouldn’t be more than 50 percent of the median income in the area you’re living in. For more details, you can contact the public housing agency in your community.
6. Apply For Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Low-income single moms in need of financial help and other support can also apply for TANF, which is a program run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To qualify, you either need to be pregnant or have a child who isn’t older than 19.
More specific requirements are set by each state, so you’ll need to contact the TANF agency in your community for more info.
7. Look For Food Banks
If you’re currently in need of urgent help, especially when it comes to food, don’t hesitate to reach out to a food bank in your area.
Websites such as Feeding America and Food Pantries can help you find one that’s close, but if you live in a small town where such services are scarce, try to find a local non-profit or even a church in your area that you can ask for help.
8. Single Mom Help For Getting A Degree
One way of getting single mom help is by applying for scholarships that can help you get a degree and advance your career. For example, it’s no news that getting a bachelor’s degree is expensive, and as a single mom, the last thing you need is another debt to add to your pile.
The Pell Grant is a federal grant for undergraduate students that you won’t have to pay back. Although the grant amount changes year-to-year, the highest amount paid in the 2020-2021 period was a little over $6,000.
You can find more information on the Federal Student Aid website.
9. Apply For The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
If you have kids under the age of 5 or are pregnant, you might be eligible for the WIC program which provides healthy foods, health care referrals, and education on healthy diets.
To apply, visit the USDA website for more information and to get the toll-free number for your state where you can set up an appointment.
10. Apply For Childcare Grants
There are child care programs such as the Head Start program that you’ll definitely want to take advantage of if they are available in your area. Head Start, for example, focuses on the early learning of kids from birth until the age of 5 to prepare them for school, in addition to supporting well-being in the family.
One of the biggest financial challenges to working single mothers, especially those who are getting out of debt, is paying for child care. The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) can help you handle the costs while taking into account your income and other circumstances.
You’ll need to look up the specific eligibility requirements for your state and also check the kind of benefits you’re entitled to under CCAP in your area. For example, you might be eligible for CCAP if you’re currently undergoing job training or getting an education, or are working full-time but have a low income.
11. Get Affordable Health Insurance
As a single mom, you might want to look into whether you qualify for low-cost health insurance such as Medicaid, especially if your income is limited. Don’t forget about the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) either – in certain states this insurance program will even provide coverage to women who are pregnant.
12. Call 211
The 211 hotline provides referrals and resources to people from all walks of life and not just single moms. Still, it’s a great way to find single mom help, especially if you don’t know where to start or which services are available to you in your community.
Likewise, don’t underestimate the importance of reaching out to your friends and family and asking for a favor or two, especially when it comes to babysitting the kids for a couple of hours while you go to a job interview, for example.
With social media, you can try to find single mother help in the form of support groups in your area. Not only will you make new friends with like-minded women, but they can also refer you to helpful resources you might not be aware of.
13. Get credit counseling
If you’re in a lot of debt, it can be difficult to see a way out and how you could possibly repay all of it on just one salary. Luckily, there are numerous organizations and agencies that provide some sort of help or counseling when it comes to financial management.
Modest Needs, for example, offers financial help to families in need who aren’t eligible for most government assistance programs yet are still having serious money problems. The organization doesn’t give you money directly to repay your debt but makes the payment directly to the creditor.
Another organization that offers affordable and free credit counseling is Clearpoint. You can turn to them if you’re in a lot of debt and don’t know where to start when it comes to making a repayment plan. Clearpoint offers a free online counseling session (it can also be done over the phone) during which they’ll develop an action plan for your debt.
Clearpoint is certified by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) which is the most important network for credit counseling in the US, so you can trust that you’ll be in good hands.
You can also turn to American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) for advice and a free counseling session. They even provide information on filing for bankruptcy and whether you should be considering another option instead of bankruptcy, and since they’re a non-profit, they offer these services for free or at a small cost.
There are also organizations that can help you save money and avoid debt, such as America Saves. When you sign up at their website, they’ll send you monthly challenges for saving money, in addition to helpful tips on how to reach your goals.
Getting access to single mom help is not only important for the health and well-being of the kids but of the mom, too. The stress of budgeting and making ends meet in a time when things only seem to be getting more expensive by the day can take a toll on your mental and physical health.
That’s why I’m a strong advocate for doing your research and making sure you take advantage of every resource there is – whether it’s a subsidized lunch for your little one or low-cost health care, there are programs and grants that can help you bear the brunt of providing for your family on your own, especially if your ex isn’t paying child support.
And don’t forget about building new friendships with moms in your community – whether they’re single or not, they can be an excellent source of support or a shoulder to cry on when you need it.
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