South Dakota: A state with a rich history and cultural heritage, the stunning scenery of the Black Hills Mountains and rolling acres of golden sunflowers. It’s also one of the safest states in which to live. Now, that’s good news. But, if you happen to be one of South Dakota’s single mothers, maybe it’s not quite enough.
Single moms need all the help they can get, just to get through the days. Looking after kids is a tough job, and it gets tougher when you’ve no one to share it all with. Then you are the one who has to clean the house, maintain the car, do the shopping, cook and go out to earn a wage. No wonder you might find life a little difficult at times.
What’s the really good news about living in South Dakota is that the state has lots of help on offer to ease those financial headaches. All you have to do is read on and follow the links.
TANF is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and it can provide all the help you need to get back onto your feet and become really self sufficient. TANF can give you financial help and support in various key areas of your life for up to 60 months…so don’t hang around, check it out!
Do you find it hard to get bills paid at the end of the month? If so, you could have thought about taking out a Payday Loan to tide you over to the next pay check. However, stop before you sign and see if there could be another solution. If there is any way of getting a grant instead, do it, as a grant doesn’t have to be repaid and won’t charge you interest. But, sometimes you need to take a loan…so here’s how to keep safe. Go to a reputable bank or similar well known institution. Avoid those loan sharks at all costs!
Read all the small print before you sign. If you don’t understand anything, ask.
Check that the interest rate is in line with government recommendations, and that there are not very punitive fees attached to a late repayment.
Payday Loans can help, but they should be seen as a last resort.
Assistance with food
Food matters. It matters most for those who are very young, or who are in the stages of life when they are pregnant or have recently given birth. Single moms need access to good nutrition for both themselves and for their kids, but the top quality foods like fresh vegetables, dairy products, fish and nuts can be too expensive for single moms on an already tight budget.
If you have registered for help through TANF, you can get nutritional assistance there. If not, try taking a look at South Dakota’s SNAP. The letters stand for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is the new name for the old Food Stamps program. It provides eligible South Dakotans with an electronic swipe card that’s accepted in exchange or part payment for food stuffs in participating grocery stores across the state.
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 South Dakota WIC program. WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children, and you can find more about it here:
Food Banks are another possible source of help with nutrition. Check out what South Dakota can offer on the link below. There are several outlets in the state:
You may not know, but SNAP offers the chance to use your swipe card in exchange for seeds too, so if you have any outside space you can start a vegetable patch of your own and have really fresh food for a fraction of the cost! If you live in an apartment and don’t have any yard space you can still grow herbs or maybe tomatoes in a window box.
Assistance with childcare
Single moms often find that child care is a real headache. You need to go out to work, for sure, but it isn’t always easy to find affordable child care of the quality that you want for your kids. Some moms even find that paying for child care takes almost all of their own wages!
Here’s what you can do if you are a resident of South Dakota. If you are receiving help from TANF, they can also assist you with subsidized child care. If you are not involved with a TANF program, check out this link. It takes you to the web page for South Dakota’s Child care assistance program, and has all the information you need to see if you are eligible for the help and how to apply.
There are other ways to find child care too, if you can’t get accepted onto these programs. Just getting to know other single moms in your neighbourhood can help, as you could get together to start a babysitting circle, or maybe club together to pay another mom to stay at home and look after a group of kids. Some churches or community groups offer child care at affordable rates too. Even some enlightened employers might be prepared to set up a crèche or offer a little help to pay the costs of child care. You’ll get nothing if you don’t ask, so get asking!
Assistance with healthcare
When you are pregnant, post partum or breastfeeding your kids, you really need access to pretty constant healthcare. Young kids also need routine medical care, and also need to see the doc or dentist when there is a problem. The trouble is, healthcare policies can cost just too much money for many single moms.
If you have a low income, you may be eligible for Medicaid. Check it out before you look at other programs. Medicaid can cover all your needs, routine and emergency.
If you don’t qualify, don’t panic! There are other options in South Dakota. The Medical Assistance program may be what you are looking for:
Or, if it’s healthcare for the kids that you need, take a look at this. It’s the South Dakota CHIP (Children’s health Insurance Program).
Assistance with housing
Housing that’s safe, comfortable and in a pleasant environment is yet another thing that you need but could find hard to pay for if you are a single mom on a low income. Fortunately, South Dakota has help on offer through the South Dakota Housing Authority. You can get help with finding housing, with rent payments and even maybe mortgage payments.
Getting a house or apartment isn’t the end of the problem, of course. If you’re worried about how to pay the cooling bills through the summer or the heating bills for winter, help could be on the cards. There’s a scheme called LIEAP that can cut the stress of paying these for you.
Assistance with education
Education is the key to opening the door to a better future. This is true for you, and for your kids. Education also, however, is expensive, so to get to college or to send your kids to school, you need help with the costs. Luckily, education is a field that attracts a huge amount of financial aid, and some of it comes from unexpected sources. Make it your job to find out about all the grants and scholarships that might apply to you and your family.
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 about how to apply for FAFSA in South Dakota.
You may not know, but 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, some churches or other religious groups have education scholarships or grants for their members and members’ children.
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
State transportation is a very useful and affordable choice if you happen to live in one of South Dakota’s cities or larger urban areas. Get to know it, and use it! You can get more information about how it all works on this link:
Cars can cost 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. There may be someone nearby who is happy to exchange lifts to work for a little help with their kids, or with the cooking, cleaning or gardening. There is usually an answer to most problems if you keep looking.
So, if you’ve followed the advice and the links above, you should be looking at a better life in South Dakota.