Rhode Island is the smallest of the fifty states. Also known as the Ocean State, it also ranks tenth in the official list of the healthiest states of America. The state has a glorious seaside, wealthy industries and a good quality of life.
All of which is good news, of course, if you happen to live there. But, if you also happen to be a single mother, it’s possible that you have other things on your mind. Like, how to pay the bills, how to afford to feed your kids properly and how to pay the child minder so you can go to work. Single moms can have a tough time, as they have to be both mom and dad to the kids, earning a living, looking after the house, caring for the kids and cooking, cleaning and shopping too.
So, what you need to know is that there is help available for hard pressed single moms in Rhode Island. Here’s how to find out about it.
Check out the TANF program in Rhode Island. TANF stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and it is an excellent program that offers really useful help with many areas of your life. You can get up to 60 months of aid from TANF once you’re accepted, so don’t waste any time getting in touch.
Lots of single moms who receive only a low wage find that there are some bills or unexpected other expenses that arrive at the end of the month and there isn’t enough cash left to pay them. In this case, you might be tempted to take out a Payday Loan. If you are looking at doing this be very careful. Sometimes a short term loan can do the job and tide you over to that paycheck nicely, but take care to go to a reputable bank or trusted lender only. And, be sure you’ve read all the small print as you don’t want to be hit with high repayment charges or fines for late repayment.
Assistance with food
There is no stage of life when good nutrition is more important than in your pregnancy and breastfeeding days or for feeding young children. You and your kids need fresh vegetables and fruits, dairy products, nuts, fish and whole grains…and you need lots of them! If the money doesn’t stretch far enough to buy all these things, Rhode Island may be able to help you.
If you have registered for help through TANF, you can obtain nutritional assistance there. If not try looking at SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program). SNAP issues you with an electronic card that’s swiped through a machine in designated grocery stores in payment for or part payment for foodstuffs. Details are on this link:
If you have kids under the age of 5, or if you are breastfeeding, post partum or pregnant, you should be able to obtain help through the Rhode Island WIC program. WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children, and you can find more about it here:
You might also check out Rhode Island’s Food Banks for aid.
So, there’s no need for you or the kids to go hungry in Rhode Island. If you have any outside space, think too about growing your own veggies…even a window box will do for herbs and maybe some tomato plants! SNAP cards can be used to get seeds as well as food, and there is nothing like the satisfaction of feeding the family on home grown food.
Assistance with childcare
Child care can be a real problem for single mothers. You can’t go out to work unless you have someone you trust to look after your children, but what if you don’t know where to find such a person or group? And, even when you have found someone, what if you can’t afford to pay the fees?
Here’s what to do. Once more, if you are receiving help from TANF, they can also assist you with subsidized child care. If not, get onto Rhode Island’s Kid’ Count webpage:
If you find for one reason or another that these programs can’t help you get child care, think about other things you can do. Make friends with other single parents in your neighbourhood, because you might be able to form a group between you to take it in turns to babysit for each other. Maybe there is someone in your community who will take care of children for a small contribution from a few mothers…or in exchange for other services like a share of a car if you have one? Also, speak to your church if you are active in a religious community, as these often have child care facilities for members.
Assistance with healthcare
Health care is another problem that can seem insurmountable for single moms without a lot of cash. Policies are costly, but when you are in your child bearing years and when you have young children at home you need almost constant access to medical care. If you or your kids suffer from any long standing, serious health problems or disabilities your need is even greater.
If you have a low income, you could be eligible for Medicaid. Check it out before you look at other programs. Medicaid can cover all your needs, routine and emergency.
If Medicaid can’t help you, as there is a fairly low income level for eligibility, take a look at the other options available through the Rhode Island Healthcare Options Matrix.
Families with children may also receive help though Rhode Island’s Rite Share Rite Care program. This caters for moms whose income is too high for Medicaid, but not high enough to cope with paying for most private policies.
Assistance with housing
Wherever you live in Rhode Island, you need a safe, suitable home to raise your kids in. if you are finding it tough to pay the rent or mortgage, you could find assistance from Rhode Island Housing Department.
Once you have a house or apartment, you will probably wonder how you are going to manage to pay the energy bills. Again, there is help on hand in Rhode Island.
Assistance with education
Education is everything today. If your kids want to get on in life, they need to go to college and get those all important exams. If you want to get a better job and earn more money, chances are that you too may need to return to education. And, somehow, it all has to be paid for.
It might seem like just another problem to add to your list, but actually there is a lot of help on offer for education across the state and also in the whole of the country.
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 Rhode Island. Help is also available (if you need it) to fill in the forms correctly, so don’t be afraid to ask.
You might also like to know that some professional courses, like nursing, 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, or ask at the college you are attending.
There are many more 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. And, sometimes churches or other religious groups have education scholarships or grants for their members and members’ children.
Assistance with transportation
Rhode Island is a small state, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need transport to get around. If you live in a city or town, public transport is usually reliable and affordable. Get to know what is available and how it all works:
Cars can cost quite a lot to maintain and run, but if you can find a group of other single moms in your area maybe you can get a car sharing scheme running. You can split the costs and also share the driving…so everybody wins. Or you could see if there is someone in your area who can give you regular lifts in return for babysitting or other services.
Rhode Island has a lot of help for single moms, so don’t battle on alone.