New York, New York! So good they named it twice…and all that. The state embodies the American dream: Both in its successful and famous city of the same name, possibly the most vibrant city in the world, and in its stunning state. Think about the places you can find in New York State: Niagara Falls, Lake Ontario, the Catskills: Everything you could ever want is here, in New York State.
Unless, of course, you are a single mom who is struggling to make ends meet. Financial worries are a terrible thing, and when you have the responsibility of kids to raise too, sometimes it just feels like it’s you alone against the world.
There is, however, some good news. New York State can help you out if you are a single mom on a low income. In fact, it can help you out in most of the important areas of your life, like education, housing and nutrition. All you have to do is know where to find the help you need and apply for it.
Short for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, TANF is a great program designed to get you right back into a position of strength so you can support your family the way you want to. TANF gives help with many areas that are important to single moms, but take note: The help is only available for a lifetime allocation per person of up to 60 months, so do use it wisely if you apply.
The above link gives you all the information you need about TANF.
You may have heard of Payday Loans and thought they sound like an attractive option…but please deal with great care. Some short term loans can serve a useful purpose if you hit unexpected expenses before the end of the month, but many are set at overly high interest rates. They can impose high fines for late repayments too, so try to find grants rather than loans if possible to avoid the worry of repayment. If you do need to take a loan, make sure you choose a reputable lender like an established bank to be sure of avoiding the profiteers.
Assistance with food
It is in your job description as a mother to feed your kids well. Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, dairy products, fresh fish and basic good cereals are essential for building strong, healthy kids…but sometimes it is hard to afford enough of the good stuff. Don’t panic, there is plenty of help available if you are genuinely struggling with nutrition.
Firstly, New York State has a program called SNAP, which is the name used across America now for the Food Stamps program. Whichever name you give it, it is an excellent program for those on low incomes who need access to better nutrition. It works by the allocation of an electronic swipe card, like a bank debit card, which is used in participating grocery stores in exchange or part payment for foods.
If you can’t get help through SNAP, you might find that WIC (Women, Infants and Children) can help you with your family’s nutrition. You need to have children who are under five years of age or to be pregnant, post partum or breastfeeding to apply.
New York State also has Food Banks that may be of help. Here’s how to find one near you, and get more information about how to obtain the aid.
Assistance with childcare
Finding reliable, high quality childcare is just another headache for single moms. It’s vital, of course, if you want to go out to work and you have kids…but it is hard to find and often far too expensive. So, you need help…and luckily, New York can give you just the help you need.
If you find, however, that you don’t qualify for help through this program, don’t give up. There may be other ways of finding suitable child care. Try some of the following ideas:
Churches or other religious groups might have child care for the children of their members, while there may also be other community groups in your neighborhood that can help. Maybe even your employer might offer subsidies towards child care for his employees’ children? Perhaps there is a crèche in the town that has assisted places for single moms’ children?
If you are still drawing a blank finding affordable childcare, why not get together with other single parents and set up your own group? You can share the childcare if you work different shifts, or pay a little each to one mom to stay home and look after all the kids.
Assistance with healthcare
So, we arrive at the next problem of life as a single mom. Healthcare. Often, the policies you can find cost far too much money, but you know you have to have access to healthcare for yourself and your kids in these important stages of life. Pregnant moms need regular care, and young kids need regular doctors’ appointments, dentists, optical care and emergency care in the event of accident or illness. Also, if any of you have serious or long term illnesses or disabilities healthcare is even more of a priority.
If you have a low income, look to see if you could be eligible for Medicaid. The Medicaid program is in operation across America, and it offers routine care and well as emergency care for low income families. See if you are eligible for Medicaid in New York State here:
If you have an income that is just too high for Medicaid, but still need help, there are other options open to you. One, catering for the adult, ie you, is this:
Then there is another program to provide medical care for your kids:
Assistance with housing
Good, safe and suitable housing is another of life’s essentials. You want to raise your kids in a warm, safe environment, but once again, the situation is fraught with problems if you haven’t got enough cash. If you live in New York, you can perhaps turn to HUD (Housing and Urban Development) for help.
Another option might be to look at the rent subsidies available through the rural rent assistance, suitable for those of you who live outside the main cities of New York State.
Assistance with education
Do you need to go back to college to pick up more qualifications and improve your prospects of a better career? Or maybe your kids are off to college…but you need to find a way to pay for it all? Education attracts grants, scholarships and subsidies from thousands of different sources, so somewhere there will be something that is just right for you. All you have to do is find it.
Start by seeing if you are eligible for FAFSA. FAFSA stands for ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid’, and this is what you need to apply for to get started. The link below gives you information, lets you download the forms you need to apply and gives you the school codes for New York. Help is also available (if you need it) to fill in the forms correctly, so don’t be afraid to ask.
If you are considering taking a professional course like nursing, there is a good chance that there will be assistance available to help with the costs, as nurses are always needed.
There plenty of other ways of getting help with the expense of education as well. These can range from individual or specific to college scholarships to sponsorship from an employer or other individual.
If you or your children have disabilities of long term illnesses, there are probably grants for you. Cancer sufferers can get extra help in most cases. Check it out on the internet, as many special needs awards in cases like these are made across the US every year. Perhaps your church or other religious group might offer help in the form of a grant or a loan?
Then, if your kids are talented in sports, academic subjects or even in helping out in the community there may be scholarships on offer for them too.
Assistance with transportation
Car sharing with other single moms can be a useful way of offsetting costs too…so see if you can make contact with other parents who may be interested in such a scheme.
Otherwise, it will come down to public transportation. In the cities of New York State this is an excellent way of getting about, affordable and reliable. Learn about it here:
So, life as a single mom in New York may be easier than you thought. Make sure you get the help you are entitled to.