Oklahoma. Where the corn is as high as the elephant’s eye and the surrey has a fringe on top. The state has much to sing about, and it’s a lovely place to call home. However, as a single mom there are probably other things on your mind. You have to raise the kids, get in the shopping, maintain the house and go out to work…it’s a big call for one woman to handle. On top of all that, you have all the money worries.
Sometimes it seems all a bit too much. A little help with the finances would go a long way to making life better, right? Well, here’s the good news Oklahoma has lots of help on offer…so all you need now is to know how to find it.
Oklahoma also offers TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) which is a great program. It allows each eligible person to receive its aid for up to 60 months, and can help with work, child care, nutrition and healthcare among other essentials of life. Check the program out for Oklahoma here:
If you are having a hard time making the cash stretch out to the end of the month and that all important paycheck, you might be thinking about taking on a Payday Loan. Payday Loans are short term loans that can help to pay those unexpected expenses that crop up just when cash is short…but take care as they can have very high interest rates. They also often impose high penalties if you can’t pay them back on time. If you can avoid taking on a loan like this, do so…grants are much better if you are able to find them as they don’t have to be repaid and there are no interest rates to pay! But, if you do have to get a loan, make sure you use a reputable lender like an established bank and avoid the loan sharks.
Assistance with food
There are few things more basic and important for growing children than good nutrition. And, if you are pregnant or have recently given birth, nutrition is vital for you too. Kids need lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, grains and dairy food to grow up right, but it can be tough to find enough cash to buy what you need on a low income.
Single moms who live in Oklahoma might be able to get assistance with nutrition through the SNAP system. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and it is the new name for the old Food Stamps program. SNAP gives you an electronic swipe card that is put through a machine in participating grocery stores across the state in payment of part payment for food. Information about the card and the program is available on this 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 Oklahoma WIC program. WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children, and you can find more about it here:
You may also have heard about Food Banks and Pantries. Oklahoma is very active in the fight against hunger, and has an excellent Food Banks system. All the details are on the link below:
Assistance with childcare
Child care is essential if you are to be able to get out to work and improve your financial situation. You have to find a suitable person to come to you home to care for the kids, or find a good crèche to take them in day care…and even once you’ve found child care, you have to find a way to pay for it. The depressing truth is that all too often this ends up costing a high percentage of your income, making you wonder if it’s worth going out to work at all!
If this seems familiar, why not take a look at Oklahoma’s Child care subsidies through the Department of Human Services. It can make all the difference; even though you may still have to pay something towards the costs yourself…it all depends on personal circumstances.
If you can’t meet the eligibility criteria for the above program, don’t worry. There are still things you can do. Ask around your community: Churches or other religious groups sometimes offer child care for the children of their members, while there may also be other community groups in your neighborhood that can help. Might your employer offer subsidies towards child care for employees’ children? Perhaps there is a crèche in the town that has assisted places for single moms’ children?
If you are still finding it hard to get affordable childcare, why not see if you can 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
Health care for the family is likely to be another of your long list of worries. Health care policies can be very expensive, and yet good health care is something no mother can afford to be without.
Start by looking at Medicaid, to see if you meet the eligibility criteria. Medicaid, if you are eligible, covers pretty much all your needs, be they routine or accident or illness based.
There is also Sooner Care, a Medicaid program specially set up to cater for mothers, kids and people with disabilities. The Sooner Care program also offers health screening.
Assistance with housing
If you are a single mom you really need suitable, safe housing in which to raise your kids. But, rents and mortgages can be prohibitively costly if you can’t find help or subsidies. If you live in Oklahoma, you may be able to find this help from the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency. This works with HUD and helps you find Section 8 housing as well as help with rent payments and even mortgages.
Of course, getting a house or apartment isn’t the end of the expense. Oklahoma can sometimes see extremes of temperature, and you will need to be able to heat or cool your home accordingly. Aid with energy bills can be obtained for eligible families through LIHEAP in Oklahoma.
Assistance with education
Education is everything these days. You can’t get a better job and a better income unless you have good qualifications, and your kids also need to go to college to secure their own futures. It all has to be funded somehow. So it’s good to know that there is a lot of help available, in Oklahoma and across America.
First, check 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 Oklahoma. Help is also available (if you need it) to fill in the forms correctly, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Some professional courses, like nursing for example, carry their own special funding for students. If you want to do something like this, search on the internet to see what help is available.
There are 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. Medical conditions can also attract help, should any of your family suffer from them. Cancer sufferers or those with long term disabilities can get extra help in most cases. Again, look on the internet, as many special needs awards in cases like these are made across the US every year and if you are entitled to help you don’t want to miss out. Further, some churches or other religious groups have education scholarships or grants for their members and members’ children.
Also, don’t forget that 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
It’s unlikely that you will have a problem with transportation if you live in one of Oklahoma’s cities or large towns. Public transport is reliable, well organised and affordable, so get to know it and make the most of it.
Cars can be costly to maintain and to run, but if you can find a group of other single moms in your area maybe you can get a car sharing scheme running. Or you could see if there is someone in your area who can give you regular lifts in return for babysitting or other services.
If you chase up all the links given above, there’s a good chance that you will find the help you need to improve your family life in Oklahoma.