North Carolina is a lovely state in so many ways. It has an Atlantic coastline, stunning mountains, thriving cities and much beautiful countryside. The state enjoys long, hot summers and mild winters, except in the mountains. The way of life is generally pretty gentle and with good schools, healthcare etc, it makes a great place to bring up a family.
However, all that notwithstanding, if you are a single mom who doesn’t have a good, regular income, you could be finding life tough, even in North Carolina.
So, what you need is to know all about the help that North Carolina can offer to single moms who are having a hard time.
TANF might also be of help to you. If you qualify for the program, whose full name is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, you can receive up to 60 months of aid with cash, housing, nutrition and more. Be aware that this is a lifetime allocation, so once you have used up you allotted time on TANF you can’t claim more, but the program is designed to help really get you back on you financial feet, in a decent job and able to take care of yourself and your family, so it’s really worth a try.
The above link gives you all the information you need about TANF.
You may have heard of Payday Loans. These are short term loans that can help you out in the event of unexpected expenses occurring before the end of the month and that all important payday, but beware of them. Some may be good, but the majority are expensive and some are almost criminally so. In recent times, government regulation has driven most of the really bad ones out of sight, but do proceed with caution if you decide to take a loan of this type. Go to a reputable bank, check that you understand exactly how much you will have to pay and be sure that you will be able to pay it on time. If possible, the best advice is to look for grants rather than loans, as these don’t have to be repaid.
Assistance with food
Want to load your kids’ plates with really nutritious foods like fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, eggs, cheese, yoghurts and all the other goodies they need to grow up strong and fit? Of course you do! You’re a mom! But, how on earth do you find the cash to buy enough of these foods? Good food is often, sadly, more expensive than junk food.
Don’t worry, North Carolina doesn’t want its moms and young families to go hungry. In fact, it has an excellent program in place called FNS (Food and Nutrition Services), which is an updated version of the old Food Stamps program. What happens, if you are accepted into the program, is this. You are issued with an electronic card which is swiped though a machine in participating grocery stores across the state. This is acceptable in payment or part payment for most foods, but you can’t, of course, buy alcohol or cigarettes with it. Take a look at the program below on the link:
If you have kids under the age of 5, or if you are breastfeeding, post partum or pregnant, you should also be able to obtain help through the North Carolina’s WIC program. WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children, and you can find more about it here:
Finally, have you thought about asking for help from North Carolina’s Food Banks system? You can find the address and details of North Carolina’s Food Banks on the link below.
Assistance with childcare
You might also be worrying about the cost of childcare if you are a single mom. You need to have a job so that you can have an income, but you can’t get out to work unless you have someone to take care of your children. Some single moms are lucky and have friends or family nearby who can help out, but many more experience great difficulty finding affordable, reliable child care. If this is your problem, this is what you need to know about. North Carolina’s Division of Child Development has a section dealing with subsidies for child care.
If you can’t meet the eligibility criteria for the above program, all is not lost. You can do a lot to help yourself…so get out and about and get to know people. 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? Maybe there is a crèche in the town that has assisted places for single moms’ children?
If you are still having a hard time getting 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
Ok, so you’ve ticked a few problems off your list, but there are still quite a few to deal with. Health care is another problematic area of life for many single moms who are on low to medium incomes.
The first thing to look at is Medicaid. It’s a well known program of healthcare for people on low incomes, and North Carolina’s Medicaid program is accessed on this link:
Health Choice for children is another useful possibility, so check it out here if you don’t manage to qualify for Medicaid.
Assistance with housing
You’re getting through that list now, and life should be getting better if you’ve already fond help with cash, childcare, nutrition and healthcare. Non of it seems to count for much if you are homeless or living in an unhealthy environment though, so make sure you take advantage of North Carolina’s programs for housing and energy bills payments. Start with HUD, (Housing and Urban Development) for Section 8 housing and other help:
You might also check out the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, who offer rent assistance and help with buying your own home.
You could also be worrying about energy bills. North Carolina experiences some pretty hot summers, and if you happen to live in the mountains winters can be cold. You don’t want to be worrying about how to pay the bills for heating or cooling if you have young kids…so, maybe you can get help through LIHEAP.
Assistance with education
Education can be yet another headache if you have to watch the pennies. Fees for college can be expensive, but your kids need an education, and you too may want to return to college to get better qualified for a new career. It’s good news, though, as education attracts a lot of financial help. It’s easy once you know what to do.
The first thing to do is to find out 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 North Carolina. Help is also available (if you need it) to fill in the forms correctly, so don’t be afraid to ask.
If you are taking a professional course like nursing, find out if there is special funding to support you. Many of these types of courses do offer their own funding.
There plenty of other ways of getting help with the expense of education as well, ranging from individual or specific to college scholarships to sponsorship from an employer.
If you or your children suffer from disabilities or long term illnesses, grants for education costs may be found. 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. Maybe 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 have been particularly notable for their help in the community there may be scholarships on offer for them too.
Assistance with transportation
If you are worried about the costs of running a car, why not consider car sharing with a group of moms from your community?
If you live in one of North Carolina’s more urban areas you should have no difficulty using public transportation. Public transport is affordable and reliable. As an example, the services for the city of Asheville (for others, simply internet search) are found here: