Utah is the second most liveable state in the US. That means it’s got a fantastic quality of life, great education, healthcare, good employment prospects and more. It’s also in the top ten healthiest states, and it figures high on the list of the safest states to live in as well. So, Utah is a wonderful place to live and to raise a family.
All of that is good news, of course, But, if you happen to be a single mom in Utah, it could be that you are experiencing certain financial difficulties with life. Being a single mom just isn’t an easy job, no matter where you live. Everything is down to you, and you alone. There’s no partner to share the day to day problems of bringing up kids, or to get up in the night when the baby cries. There’s no partner to go out to work and bring in the money, so you have to do that as well as take care of the kids, look after the house, pay the bills, do the shopping and cooking. No wonder life gets on top of you at times, and no wonder you need a little help to get by.
The good news is that Utah knows about these problems that you face, and has help on offer that can make all the difference. The trick is knowing where to turn to find this help.
Next, in Utah, is TANF. TANF is the Temporary Assistance program for Needy Families, and is exactly what it says. If you need the help, and are eligible, you can get up to 60 months of aid with vital things like child care, nutrition, housing and healthcare. Use the aid wisely and it could put you on the road to a much brighter future. Everything you need to know is on this link:
You might also have thought about Payday Loans. These are short term loans that can be useful if unexpected bills arrive just before payday, when money is in short supply. However, a lot of these loans have gotten a bad name for charging a very high interest rate and for imposing big fines for late repayments. So, if you need to take a loan like this, make sure you read the small print carefully and only ever borrow from a reputable lender like an established bank. Don’t turn to the loan sharks, it only creates more debt in the end. If you can find a grant or other form of state aid instead, go for that, it doesn’t have to be repaid.
Assistance with food
Food is an absolute essential of life. And, if you are a mom, you know just how important it is to feed your kids on the very best so they can grow up strong and healthy. The problem is that the best foods are also the most expensive in many cases. If you need help with nutrition for your family, this is what to do in Utah.
If you have registered for help through TANF, you can get nutritional assistance there. If not, Utah has a program called SNAP. SNAP (Supplemental Nutrtion Assistance Program) is the new name for the Food Stamps program, but you might hear it called by either name. Anyway, what happens in Utah is this: You, if you are deemed eligible, will be given an electronic card that can be swiped through a machine in participating grocery stores in return for food. You can’t get cigarettes or alcohol with your card, but you will be able to buy good stuff like fresh vegetables eggs, milk and cereals.
And, SNAP offers the chance to use your swipe card in exchange for seeds, 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. There’s nothing so good as fresh, home grown food.
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 Utah WIC program. WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children, and you can find more about it and your eligibility here:
Utah also has a Community Action partnership that offers help with nutrition for those in difficulty.
Then there are Utah’s Food Banks that might be of assistance with your family’s nutrition. The following link can tell you where to find the food banks, and how to get the help:
Assistance with childcare
Child care can be another royal headache for single moms. It is essential, as without it you can’t go to work. And if you can’t go to work, you will never have enough money to feed and clothe the kids or find a decent place to live.
It’s a tough problem, and one that faces too many single moms in Utah. So, make the most of the help you can get from your state. This is what is on offer in Utah:
Not all single moms will find that they are eligible for this help, but if this is you there are still things you can do that should help you find an answer. Make friends with other single moms in your neighbourhood 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. Just talking to folks in your neighborhood could throw up a solution to the problem.
Assistance with healthcare
Working through your list of problems you will almost certainly come to health care. It’s another thing you urgently need, but may find tough to pay for.
If you have a low income, you may be eligible for Medicid.
If it is health care just for the kids that you need, this is the link to follow. It take you to a page giving all the info about the Utah CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance program):
Assistance with housing
Ok, you’re getting there. Youv’e sorted your healthcare, your nutritional needs, your child care and some cash. So, you might now be wondering about housing. You need good, safe housing for a family, and the state of Utah wants to help you to find exactly that. In Utah, it’s done through the
HUD (Housing and Urban Development )programs. You can find help with rent, with mortgage repayments and even help to get suitable accomodations for you and the kids.
Once you have a home, your next worry will doubtless be how to pay the energy bills. If this is something that is troubling you, take a look at LIHEAP. This can help subsidize your payments so you can use the electricity you need to keep your home comfortable.
Assistance with education
You know, of course, that the key to a better future is a better education. So, you could be thinking about going back to college to get more qualifications that will lead to a better paid job. Or your kids could be ready to go to school, and you need to find a way to pay all the assosciated costs.
The good news is that education is also an area that attracts a large amount of funding in the form of grants, scholarships and loans. All you need to do is track down the right ones to help you. It isn’t possible to make a comprehensive list here as there are just too many, but the following ideas should point you in the right direction.
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 links below give you information about how to apply for FAFSA in Utah.
Perhaps you are thinking about taking a professional qualification, such as nursing? If so, there might be special funding for you. 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
If you happen to live in Utah’s main urban areas, you will probably find that public transportation answere most of your needs. It is affordable and reliable, so get to know it here:
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…and that makes life easier for everyone! Then, you might just find someone nearby who is happy to exchange lifts to work for a little help with their kids, or with the cooking, cleaning or gardening. Or, maybe you can afford to offer someone just a little cash to get lifts to work? There is usually an answer to most problems if you keep looking.
Utah really wants to help its single moms to enjoy life in the state, and it belives you and your children are important. So make the most of the help on offer and don’t miss out!