Parenting on your own isn't easy. Whether you've just started on this journey or you've been parenting solo for while now, there will be difficult times when you need an extra dose of help and support. When those times come, it's important to know where to turn for need-based financial help. Here are 7 sources of assistance for single moms, including government help for single mothers:
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Let's face it. You may not immediately think of child support as a source of assistance for single moms. Too often, the payments are inconsistent or don't arrive at all. But here's why this is an important source of help to consider: you have to file for child support before the government will consider whether you're eligible for other sources of assistance for single moms. That's right. They make you go through the motions, even if your ex cannot be located or is not in a... position to help financially. This is because the government wants your ex to contribute financially before the state steps in and picks up the slack. So if you're thinking of applying for public assistance, you'll need to file for child support either first or at the same time.
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Friends and Family
When you're in need of help, don't overlook the people around you. Chances are, your friends and family want to see you succeed and would be willing to help in some way. This might be by helping you get through a temporary financial setback, like having to pay for unexpected car or home repairs, or by helping to take care of your kids while you take on a second job or cut back on child care. And if you're coparenting with your ex, remember that he could also step in and provide... additional care for the kids while you work a few extra hours.
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Local churches, religious organizations, and community organizations may also be able to provide temporary assistance or point you toward additional services in your area. In most cases, you don't have to be a member of a particular organization to receive their help.
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Another source of assistance for single moms is your local food pantry network. These are also called 'food banks.' They work by providing staples like pasta, rice, canned vegetables, and even some toiletries. In most cases, food banks are limited to non-perishable goods, but some do also provide milk and eggs. And around the holidays, they may also offer frozen turkeys or hams. Best of all, they may be able to help you even if you've already been told that 'earn too much' to... qualify for government assistance. Food pantries also tend to be well-connected resources, so they may be able to point you toward other sources of assistance for single moms in your area.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
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TANF stands for Temporary Assistance for Need Families. This is the program that used to be known as 'welfare.' It's one of the most common forms of government support for single mothers. However, the government has changes the eligibility rules to require participants to work part time or demonstrate that you're looking for work. Even if you've been turned down for TANF previously, it may be a good idea to apply again.
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Among single mom government benefits, WIC — which stands for Women, Infants, and Children — is one of the most generous. It's a supplemental nutrition program for women who are currently pregnant, nursing, or raising children under the age of 5. If you meet those basic qualifications, it's worth applying for WIC to find out if you meet the program's need-based qualifications, as well.
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In addition to these programs, there are a number of local sources of assistance for single moms that may not be widely known. To get access to these, try calling your state's local 2-1-1 hotline. Simply explain to the operator what kind of help you need and what, if any, assistance you are already receiving. They can then point you to a number of programs in your area, from parenting classes and financial literacy programs to 'Mom's Day Out' events in your state.