Life for a single mother is nothing short of a challenge. Taking care of children and working to provide for them isn't easy at all, but you don't have to do it alone. The good news is, with over 8.5 million single mothers in the US, there is plenty of help out there for you.
Both the US government and other non-profit organizations have set up many programs that can offer support for single mothers and their children. Whether it is help with paying the bills, or other free resources for their family, we have the information for you. In this blog, we will cover the best programs that offer financial assistance programs for single mothers.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
The first program on our list is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). TANF is a limited-time program that helps struggling families pay for basic needs. It was made to ease the burden for low-income single moms by offering them cash assistance for things like food, clothing, and housing.
The program offers support for up to 60 months (5 years) for each family, with the possibility for applicants to qualify for time extension. It's funded by both the federal government and local state governments, so it may have different names depending on where you live. For example, the program is called "CalWORKS" in the state of California. If you want to receive TANF benefits, there are a few conditions you must agree to as the parent or guardian of the household:
- Train for a job or look for work.
- Follow child support rules.
- Not quit a job.
- Not abuse alcohol or drugs.
- Take parenting skills classes.
- Get vaccines for their child.
- Make sure their child is going to school.
Who Is Eligible For TANF?
If TANF seems like it could be right for you and your children, you're probably wondering how you can qualify. Below are the few factors that'll determine if you're eligible for the program.
First of all, to receive TANF benefits, you must be employed, working towards a job, or enrolled in classes to help you achieve future employment. A common theme with many of these programs is that they want to see growth and potential from their participants, so keep that in mind when applying.
Next, you must be either unemployed or underemployed. Now, that may sound like the opposite of what we mentioned above, but the bottom line is you need to have a low enough income to qualify for TANF, regardless of your employment status.
Last but not least, you must have a child under 18 years of age, be pregnant, and be 18 years old or younger yourself and the head of your household. Note that you also must be a US citizen, US national, or legally qualified alien.
If you would like to apply --- here are the three main options:
- Check eligibility and apply online.
- Apply by phone at 877-501-2233.
- Visit your local Community Services Office and apply in-person.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Another assistance program available to single mothers is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP). Unlike the TANF service, this program focuses directly on food assistance. SNAP understands the importance of a balanced and healthy diet, so their main goal is to make nutritious foods as widely available as possible.
The way SNAP provides assistance is by giving each recipient an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. This is essentially a card that SNAP will deposit money into every month (like a debit card). You can use your EBT card at local farmers markets, grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, etc. Note that you cannot use your EBT card to purchase alcohol, cigarettes, hot or prepared meals, or lottery tickets.
SNAP benefits vary by state, due to differing economic circumstances. But the amount you'll receive can range anywhere from $160 - $400 per month for each household member. You can check the estimated benefit on a SNAP benefit calculator, or contact your local or state SNAP office.
Do I Qualify For SNAP?
SNAP only has one main criteria which you must meet to qualify, though certain conditions may apply. To be eligible, you typically must have an income at or below 130% federal poverty level. The exact amount will depend on your household size, for details, you can check on a SNAP eligibility calculator.
To apply for SNAP --- contact your Local or state SNAP office.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
Continuing with more federal-government supported programs, The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) works a bit differently than SNAP. While the goal of TEFAP is also to supplement the diets of those with a lower income, it is set up very differently than SNAP. This program offers a few different ways for you to get everything from groceries to hot meals, without the need for an EBT card.
Under this program, the simplest way to obtain emergency food is from TEFAP participating food pantries. You can get all sorts of fresh ingredients and packaged foods from these places at no cost. Another way to get access to free high-quality food is at soup kitchens that work with TEFAP programs.
How to Apply For TEFAP
There is no set application for TEFAP. If you are in desperate need of food, you can simply show up to your local TEFAP participating food pantry or soup kitchen. In fact, the criteria to eat at these facilities is relatively more lenient, making them accessible to a lot of people.
While you should meet a state-determined eligibility requirement, all you have to do is show either some proof of income, or that you've already participated in some sort of government assistance program in the past. But most of the time, participants in TEFAP are considered to be needy and aren't given much trouble.
National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
If you don't qualify for SNAP and TEFAP, but you are concerned about your children not getting a well-rounded diet, there are more options. One of which is the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), a federally-funded program that works with public, charter, and even some private schools to ensure every child has access to healthy meals and snacks.
If your children are currently in school, you can relax knowing that no-matter what your financial situation is, they will be getting access to enough good food throughout the day.
To apply for this program --- you can submit an application directly to your children's school or district at any time during the academic year.
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program
With the cost of living in the United States on the rise, many single parents are struggling to afford decent housing in safe neighborhoods. The housing choice voucher program is a federal program created by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to give very low income families access to affordable housing.
The Section 8 Housing program is administered by local Public Housing Authorities (PHA). When you qualify, the PHA would make payments directly to your landlord. What makes the Section 8 program special is that participants are allowed to choose any home that meets the program's requirements and are not limited to subsidized housing projects. You may even be able to join the program without moving from your current home. So as long as your new or current landlord agrees to rent the property to you under the program, you are mostly free to choose where you live. Note that the apartment must meet a certain level of health and safety standards to be approved by your local PHA.
How Much Will Section 8 Housing Give Me For Rent?
The Section 8 Housing program doesn't have a set amount they give to each person. Instead, the PHA that you're working with will first calculate the maximum amount they can spend. If your rent is under the maximum amount, they will pay whatever the cost is minus 30% of your gross income, which you will be responsible for.
For example, let's say you make $1,000 per month, and you want to rent an apartment that costs $700 per month. The PHA will calculate 30% of your income, which would be $300. That is the amount you will have to pay for the apartment, leaving the PHA to pay for the remaining $400.
Am I Eligible For Section 8 Housing?
The eligibility criteria depends on your local PHA. Typically, you must make less than 50% of the median income in your county or metropolitan area. But if you make 30% or less of the median income, you have a much higher chance of getting accepted. That's because a PHA must accept at least 75% of applicants who earn less than 30% of the median income in their area or county.
The Salvation Army Help for Single Moms
The Salvation Army has been helping the underprivileged in the U.S. for hundreds of years. They're an integral part of the universal Christian church and offer help to anyone in need. The Salvation Army has different programs to help single mothers, and here are some of them:
Food Support Programs
Similar to TEFAP, The Salvation Army works with facilities like food pantries, soup kitchens, and community gardens to feed those in need. Serving over 60 million meals all over the world, The Salvation Army is doing their part to make nutritious and healthy food more available.
Energy Assistance for Single Mothers
Local Salvation Army outreach centers also provide single mothers with support for their basic necessities. This may include bills such as electricity, water, and other utility and service expenses.
Housing Assistance Programs
You can also receive services such as transitional housing, emergency shelters, group homes, and temporary lodging from The Salvation Army. If you're in need of shelter or a temporary safe home environment, The Salvation Army can help.
How Do I Get Help from the Salvation Army?
While The Salvation Army is more of an emergency resource, you may be able to find the help you need from them.
To start getting assistance or to get more information for any of their services, give them a call at 1 (800) 728-7825 or send over an email from their website, or visit your Local Salvation Army centers.
Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
As a single mother, your children's health is at the top of your priority. But at the same time, health insurance can be very expensive, and out-of-pocket hospital and medical expenses can be a huge burden. So what can you do to make sure that your children are covered?
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) may be one source you can go to. CHIP works closely with the Medicaid program in your state to offer nation-wide coverage. CHIP benefits vary by state, but here are the basic services every state covers:
- Routine check-ups
- Doctor visits
- Dental and vision care
- Inpatient and outpatient hospital care
- Laboratory and X-ray services
- Emergency services
While the program's costs also vary depending on your state, normally you won't have to pay more than $50 for a co-pay with CHIP, depending on the service.
Is My Child Eligible For CHIP?
In order to qualify your children for CHIP, they must meet a certain criteria. While CHIP programs is different for every state, here there are some criteria most of them would require your children to meet: they must be under 18 years of age, or have certain disabilities if they are 19 and 20 year olds
As for the income level criteria, it is relatively less strict than other programs -- the upper income limit to qualify for CHIP is 170-400% above the federal poverty level.
Tax Benefits for Single Parents
If you happen to be doing your latest tax filing, here are the tax benefits you may be eligible for as a single mother: For a single parent earning less than $200,000 per year, there is a $2,000 tax credit for each child. If you owe less than $2,000 in taxes, you could receive some, or all of the money back. Here's how you can qualify:
- Your child must be in your custody and 16 years old or younger.
- Your child must have lived with you for at least 6 months.
- Your child must be your dependent.
- You both must be a US citizen, permanent resident, or legally qualified alien.
Public Assistance Day Care Programs
One of the main hardships for a single mother is the balance between work and child care. Whether you are struggling to find time for work, or you can't afford privately-run child care, there are many options for free or affordable day care for your children. Different states and territories offer different benefits and eligibility criteria, but you can locate your affordable local child care resources in just a few seconds.
Government Assistance: Lifeline/ACP Programs with EASY Wireless.
To search for and keep track of all this information about different single mother assistance programs, one thing you will need is affordable and reliable internet connection. For more than 20 years, EASY Wireless has been offering these services for Americans who qualify for government programs that offer affordable connectivity, including Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
What are Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?
Lifeline is a government program designed to make phone and internet services more affordable for eligible low-income individuals and families. It offers a subsidy that reduces monthly costs for phone services. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), on the other hand, aims to provide affordable internet access, helping eligible households overcome financial barriers to connectivity.
Using Other Assistance programs for Lifeline and ACP through EASY Wireless
The good news is that if you are already on certain government assistance program as a single mother, you can leverage them to receive:
EASY Wireless Unlimited Plan
- FREE Unlimited Data
- FREE Unlimited Talk
- FREE Unlimited Text
- FREE Brand-new Smartphone
- FREE SIM Card Kit and Activation
- Choose to Keep Your Number or Get a New One
...when you sign up for Lifeline and ACP through EASY Wireless. EASY Wireless is an established provider with a 20-year history of offering reliable communication services to thousands of satisfied customers.
Are You Eligible For The ACP?
There are two ways you can qualify for ACP: either by your household income level or by taking part in certain government programs.
Qualify for ACP
You can qualify for the ACP if you participate in one of the following government assistance programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Tribal Head Start
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
- Pell Grant Awards
The second criteria is through your income level. You may qualify if your income is under the amounts on the chart below.
Do I Qualify For Lifeline?
The eligibility criteria for Lifeline service is similar to ACP. You can qualify if you or a member of your household has participated in one of the following support programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Supplemental Security Income
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
- Certain Tribal Programs
You may also qualify if your household income is at 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines. Visit their website for more information
Why Choose EASY Wireless?
EASY Wireless utilizes the same cell towers as national carriers, ensuring widespread coverage and reliable service. This means you can enjoy a seamless communication experience, even in areas where other carriers might face limitations. With EASY Wireless, you can stay connected wherever you go, without compromising on quality or reliability.
Over the years, we have assisted hundreds of thousands of customers in obtaining free wireless services.
How do I Get My Free Government Cell Phone?
When you come to one of EASY Wireless's retail stores, our customer service agent will help you apply for the benefits.
You will first have to provide identity proof with a government-issued ID. With that easy step, you can confirm your participation in one of the qualifying programs or your household income amount.
The following U.S. Government Issued ID can be used for identity proof:
- U.S. Driver License
- Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
- Certificate of Naturalization
- U.S. Passport
- U.S. Government, State or Tribal issued-ID
- U.S. Military ID cards
- Permanent Resident Cards
- Permanent Resident Alien Cards
You can show the following documents to prove that you are taking part in a government assistance program or use them as proof of active benefits
- Statement of benefits from a qualifying Program.
- Notice letter of participation, such as an award letter
- Program participation documents, such as a screenshot from an online account.
- In order to show income, you can provide any of the following proofs:
- Unemployment Documentation
- Copy of your State or Federal income tax return.
- Three months' worth of current pay stubs.
- Veterans Administration or SSI benefits letter.
- A divorce decree or child support document that states income.
- Retirement or pension statement.
To see if you qualify for ACP, you'll need to go through the National Verifier process. Since we understand that going through the National Verifier can be a bit confusing, our in-store agents are available to assist you. Just sit back and wait for confirmation.
You'll be able to connect to the Internet right away and stay in touch with your loved ones. We can't wait to see you and help you get connected!
Need More Than Just One Line of Service or an Additional Phone?
EASY Wireless is a full-service cellular store that cares about all of your communication needs. We have a wide range of pre-paid plans for every budget and usage requirement. Additionally, we offer a selection of brand-name phones that combine quality, reliability, and the latest technology.
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