Mississippi (apart from being difficult to spell!) is the Grand Old Lady of the south. The state, with its steamy summers and iconic river has been the subject of so many films and books that she is quite the star of the States. But, all of this counts for little if you are a single mom having a hard time finding enough money to even feed and clothe your kids.
Single moms have to do the work of two parents. This means going out to work to earn a living, finding child care, buying and cooking the family meals, raising the kids, paying the rent and the utility bills…the list goes on as long as the Mississippi River!
However, single moms in Mississippi are not left to cope enrirely alone. Get to know about state and national programs that can help take the strain, at least financially, and life could just get a whole lot better.
If you’re stuck for cash, TANF might be suitable for you. Its full name is the Temporary Financial Assistance for Needy Families program. The webpage for information on the program in Mississippi is this:
There is a time limit on TANF aid, so check it out before you apply. You also need to know that there is a work requirement alongside TANF programs, so if you don’t currently have a job you will have to take part in a work program. However, TANF can be a great way to put past difficulties behind you and start building a better future, so take a look.
Some single moms whose incomes are low take out short term of Payday Loans to get them through to the end of the month or if unexpected expenses arrive, but these can be very expensive so be careful. If a loan is essential, check out the interest rates and repayment terms very carefully, or you could end up in more trouble than you were to begin with.
Assistance with food
Moms and kids need top quality nutrition. The younger the kids are, the more important it is that all their nutritional needs are met with a diet of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, good dairy foods and other essentials. It’s vital for you too, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. But lots of people on low incomes find these foods, at least in sufficient quantities, cost too much, and they end up having to fill up on junk food.
To find assistance in getting the right amount of quality food for your family, if you are living in Mississippi, you could look at the SNAP scheme. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Here are the details:
The WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program can also help with food supplies if you have kids who are under 5 years of age. Check it out here:
Finally, Mississippi’s food pantries and food banks might be a source of extra nutrition. Food banks take donations of all types of food from local producers, farmers and the public and allocate parcels to needy people. It’s well worth finding out where your nearest food bank or pantry is and seeing if you might benefit.
Assistance with childcare
It can seem, when you are a single mom that life just gets tougher with every turn. For instance, you need to work because otherwise you don’t have enough cash. But, you can’t get to work unless you can afford to pay for child care. It’s the kind of trap you seem to fall into every day.
Don’t worry. There are a few possible sources of help with finding and paying for good, reliable child care in Mississippi.
If you find that you don’t qualify for help through the Beehive scheme, there are still things you can do to help yourself. The first step is getting to know other single moms in the area. If a group of you get together you may be able to arrange childcare between you…perhaps you work different hours? Or, maybe one mom is happy to stay at home and the rest of you can pay her a little each to take care of the kids.
Speak to your employer and see if there is a crèche attached to the job…or if he could help out with your child care costs a little. If you are a member of a church or other religious organization, ask if there are any child care facilities associated with that. There will be an answer out there somewhere!
Assistance with healthcare
Every mom worries about her kids’ health. If they aren’t catching chicken pox or other childhood illnesses they are falling out of trees, falling over playing sport or coming down with colds and suffering from allergies. That’s life with kids. If they have serious illnesses or disabilities, it’s even harder to cope with the cost of healthcare. Policies for normal health cover schemes can be prohibitively expensive. So, what do you do?
The first port of call is to see if you qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid, if you are eligible, should take care of all your needs, both sickness related and routine care like dentistry and optical care. However, not everyone is eligible, as Medicaid is designed for families on really low incomes.
If you can’t get help through Medicaid, check out Mississippi’s CHIP (Children’s health Insurance Plan) as even moderate income families can usually get cover though this. Then there are other schemes to give assistance with health expenses if you or your kids are suffering from chronic illnesses or disabilities, or diseases like cancer. Women can also receive preventive care like breast screening and cervical screening. Details of various state programs for Mississippi are found here:
Assistance with housing
Families need good housing. No mom with kids should find herself unable to live in a safe, decent home, but paying for it can be very hard as rents and mortgages can be just too high.
HUD (Housing and Urban Development) is the key to solving housing problems in Mississippi. They can help you find Section 8 housing, get rent subsidies and introduce you to the housing choice program. Here’s how to contact them:
While the winters in Mississippi are usually mild and hot, summers can be real hot. You may need cooling systems in your home to keep the kids comfortable. If you think your energy bills are going to be a problem, ask for help from LIHEAP.
Assistance with education
It can be another of those vicious circles, education. You know you need education so you can get a good enough job to earn a decent wage…but how do you afford the costs of going to college if you only have a low income and you have kid to care for too? Your kids need an education as well, and it can get pretty scary thinking about the expense of it all.
There is a lot of help out there with the cost of education, so start by applying for FAFSA.
FAFSA stands for ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid’, and this is what you need to apply for in the first instance. The link below gives you information, lets you download the forms you need to apply and gives you the school codes for Mississippi too. If you are a bit unsure about filling in the form, ask for help. It’s important to get it right.
Professional courses, such as nursing, often attract sponsorship, so if you think this might apply, find out what’s available. Other ways of getting help with the expenses of education can range from individual or specific to college scholarships to sponsorship from an employer. Scholarships for Mississippi colleges may be found on the following link:
There are also grants to be had if you or your kids have a disability or illness. Cancer sufferers can get extra help in many cases. Check it out on the internet, as many special needs awards are made across the US every year. Some churches or religious groups might even offer scholarships, grant or loans for education to their members. Talented kids can find scholarships whether their talents lie in academic subjects, sports or even helping the community in some way.
Assistance with transportation
If you need a car, and if you don’t live in a big town you probably do, why not offset the expense by car sharing with other moms. You can take it in turns to do the school runs too! Again, getting to know other single moms can really help here.
If you live in an urban area, public transport should be able to take car of your transportation needs. Get to know what’s on offer in your city. Buses are usually pretty affordable, and in the cities they are reliable and regular in most cases.