Single mothers have their hands full with being the head of the household, doing the job of two parents and trying to keep food on the table. The government understands the plight of the single-parent household. Programs for food, medical and financial support, as well as housing assistance, are available. Knowing where to apply and how to go through the application process can be tricky, but there's plenty of information available to help you get the assistance you need.
Contact your county's Department of Health and Human Services, sometimes called Social Services. Each state in the United States dedicates funds for individual counties to meet the financial needs of the residents. Most aid is based on demonstrated financial need. Your local phone book will have the contact information listed in the government section under county offices, or you can find the information on your county's website. Financial aid is received following an application and assessment process. The application can be completed independently at home and mailed to the county offices or completed in an appointment with an employee of the county. The process can be expedited by supplying all requested documentation with the initial application submission. Be prepared with information about your income, assets and expenses and about each person in your household's name, age and Social Security number.
Apply for medical assistance at the same time you apply for financial aid. In most cases, it's simply a matter of adding a check mark in a box on the same application. Most states have provisions to ensure all children have some form of health insurance. If a parent's earnings are above the requirement for this entitlement program, there may be a deductible for the child's coverage. If the parent is not covered through her employer, medical coverage for her may be provided by Medicaid or by various state programs -- at a price. Coverage options have changed since the passage of the federal health care act in 2010, with some provisions not available until 2014.
Check the box on the application for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the program formerly known as food stamps. This benefit will also provide free or reduced-price meals at school for your children. The main office at the child's school can also supply applications for the free and reduced-price food program. Food programs such as these may allow your money to cover other needs without sacrificing nutrition.
Apply for energy assistance to help with heating costs. Funding for this program varies from year to year, so be aware of the date to apply for this benefit -- usually in November or December. The energy assistance may also help if you are in danger of having your electricity shut off. You might also want to check with your energy company to see if you qualify for a discounted rate based on your income.
Make sure you have the most basic need covered by applying for housing assistance. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, also referred to as HUD, offers two programs for families who meet financial guidelines. One program is Low Income Housing. These units are usually an apartment building or community of buildings that are owned by HUD and for which the rent is offered at a subsidized rate. The second program is Section Eight Housing. This program usually has a considerable waiting list. The program participant finds an apartment of interest. With the agreement of the landlord, the consumer pays for a portion of the rent, with HUD paying the remaining portion. The rent needs to be "reasonable" according to the program. Contact the local HUD office and complete an application. Your county's Department of Human Services can provide the contact number.
These programs are available to assist people in need. If you are in need, then apply. Maintain a copy of your application for future reference.
Don't allow pride to prevent you from accessing programs created to assist you through a difficult period in your life.