As a single mother there may be occasions where you need financial help to get through the tough times. Luckily, there are programs for just about everything out there.
I’m a firm believer that people who truly need help should get it. Receiving some sort of financial assistance can be the boost you need to get your life back in order.
Here are programs for financial assistance for single moms across a variety of categories.
Medical/Health Insurance Help
Without insurance one trip to the emergency room can be enough to break you.
Before I got divorced my ex-husband had needed emergency treatment which included a helicopter transport and a three day hospital stay. We had no insurance and got hit with a $48,000 bill!
Having medical insurance is crucial for you and your child(ren).
Medicaid – Medicaid is a joint federal and state run program that provides medical insurance for low income families. Medicaid is funded in part by the federal government but run by the state so coverage can vary from state to state. You can find out if you qualify for Medicaid here.
Try the Healthcare Marketplace – The new healtcare marketplace is a great place to find low cost health insurance if you’re income meets the guidelines. You can look at the chart below to see if the income for your family size qualifies for a low premium on health insurance.
To get coverage for 2016 open enrollment begins on Nov. 1, 2015 and ends on January 31st 2016. You can then apply at HealthCare.gov (If you’re interested you can also read more about why I think this is a fantastic option for single moms.)
Housing help for Single Moms (Renting and Purchasing a Home)
When it comes to housing help as a single mother there are many more options than you think! In fact, you can get help from federal, state, and local governments as well as community organizations.
Here are some in depth resources on getting help with housing as a single mother.
Government Assistance Programs – This article goes over all of the housing help available for single moms including income-based housing, Section 8 housing, The Operation Hope Home Buyers Program, Shelter Plus Care Program, and USDA Rural Development Housing Assistance.
Private Assistance Help – Everyone does not qualify for government assistance which is where private assistance comes in. This post covers several programs and ways to get private housing assistance including CoAbode Single Mother’s Housing Share, Private Transitional Housing, and charities and organizations.
Home Buyer’s Programs for Single Mothers – If you’re looking to purchase a home but need some help here are some fantastic resources on home buyer’s programs including FHA Insurance Loans, Individual Development Accounts, Habitat for Humanity Housing Solutions, USDA Loans, and Hud Homes.
Help Buying a Car
There may be some local grants and programs available to you to obtain help purchasing a car. One of my old friends was able to get a $2,000 voucher toward a car if she attended college (which, she did.) Contact your local social services office to see what programs are available in your area. That one phone call could get you a free car!
Your second option is to apply to charities that grant single moms cars. Some of the charities will provide the cars based on need while others will use a voting system. There’s usually a long wait list in these programs so the sooner you enter your information into the database the better.
Help Paying for Daycare
Getting daycare help is a real battle for working singles mom. Childcare can be extremely expensive and without help you can quickly work just to cover to the cost of childcare – defeating the whole purpose of you working.
I know exactly how you feel! After having my second daughter I only brought home around $100 per week after paying my babysitter. Working seemed pointless. The wages I was making were too low and childcare costs took up more than half of my paycheck!
To say it was frustrating was an understatement. It felt self-defeating.
The good news is that if you’re in a position like this there are many ways to get daycare help for single moms. Some programs will cover the whole cost while others will drastically reduce your childcare bill.
Public Assistance Programs – Your state department of Health and Human Services can help you find grants for cheap or free daycare. You’ll need to set up a meeting to go through your options.
These grants are normally given based on income and location. If you qualify you will be able to choose from a list of certified childcare providers in your area.
You can find information on The Health and Human Services Office of Childcare Website.
Head Start Programs – Head Start and Early Head Start is a federal program offering educational readiness for children under five who come from low-income families. Head Start could be a fantastic option if you’re looking for your child to get both educational and social experience.
To qualify for free Head Start you generally need to be at or below the poverty level. (You can view poverty limits for your specific household size here.) If you receive other government benefits like TANF you will most likely qualify.
You can locate Head Start Programs in your area by searching the Head Start database.
Other Daycare Help for Single Moms – This post covers a wide variety of daycare help for single moms including public assistance, TANF, employer help, sliding scale fees and more. Everything we could find on the subject is included in this post.
Cash and Food Assistance Programs for Single Moms
If you can barely make ends meet and are unemployed or underemployed cash assistance may be available to you.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is a government program that will temporarily help families who have one or more dependent children and who are able to meet income qualifications. The programs they offer are cash assistance, housing help, food, utilities, and expenses other than medical. To apply you need to contact the Department of Job and Family Services for the county you reside in.
SNAP Program – The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), often referred to as Food Stamps, can help you cover the cost of food. Just getting this little bit of help can lift a ton of weight off of your shoulders. SNAP benefits are very discreet and are loaded on what looks a like credit card. When you go to use your SNAP card you simply swipe it at the credit card terminal and enter your pin number.
To qualify for SNAP benefits you’ll have to meet certain income criteria. Many states allow you to apply online and you can do so here.
WIC – The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children, better known as the WIC, provides nutritious food (like formula, milk, peanut butter, and cereal, just to name a few) to low income pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children up to five years old. You can visit this link for more information on how to apply.
Scholarships and Grants for Single Moms Going Back to College
If you’re going back to school there are also many resources available that you should utilize. Here are links to some resources you need to check out.
Scholarships for Single Moms – This post has all the legit scholarships for single mothers that I could find. I also add to this list every time a company contacts me with a new scholarship opportunity. When applying for scholarships you should also search for degree specific scholarships which you can do at a place like FastWeb.com. And remember, the more unique the scholarships opportunity is the less competition there will be!
College Grants – This post has a list of grants you can apply for to go back to college. Remember, one of the most important things you can do is fill out the FAFSA each and every year.
Student Loan Forgiveness Programs – If you’ve already got your degree and have amassed a pile of student loans you might be able to get student loan forgiveness! These programs are for high demand government jobs (like teaching, for instance) in certain areas. The link above will give you a guide to student loan forgiveness by state.
Getting the Help You Need
If you’re struggling in one of these areas utilize the resources being offered to you. Getting temporary help when you truly need it can become the catalyst for you to gain financial stability.
I know that being a single mom can be tough in many, many ways. If you need help one of the best things you can do is to contact your local Job and Family Services branches to see what programs are available to you.