Virginia. One of the smartest states in the 50, and known as the ‘Mother of Presidents’ as it managed to produce no fewer than 8 US presidents. With Chesapeake Bay and some glorious countryside, there’s no doubt at all that Virginia is something special.
Still, special or not, if you happen to be a single mother you may find that life is a little tough. It isn’t simple, when you have to juggle all the household tasks with taking care of the kids and going out to work too. All the little everyday worries are yours and yours alone, and there’s no one on hand to help you, right?
Wrong! The state of Virginia has lots of help on offer to its single moms. All you need is the knowledge of who is offering the help, and how to apply for it. So, off you go!
Then in Virginia, there’s also a program called TANF. The program’s full name is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and it really is exactly that. It offers up to 60 months of aid: Financial help, advice and practical assistance in many areas of life that are important to single moms. The 60 months is a lifetime limit, though, so be sure to use TANF wisely and make the most of the chances it offers you if you are eligible.
You might also have wondered 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
Nutrition is one of the most important things in life. Kids can’t grow up strong and healthy without access to good nutrition, and if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have rcently given birth, it is pretty vital for you too. The problem is that the best foods, the ones you need the most, cost a lot of money and sometimes they cost more than you can afford to pay. So, what can you do?
Well, if you have registered for help through TANF, you can get nutritional assistance there. If not, don’t worry, Virginia has other programs in place that could be what you are looking for.
Firstly, there is Virginia’s SNAP. This is the replacement program for the old Food Stamps scheme, and issues electronic cards instead of paper vouchers. These are then swiped through credit card type machines in participating grocery stores to allow you to take goods.
And, SNAP and Snapet offer 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 Vitginia WIC program. WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children, and you can find more about it and your eligibility here:
Finally, have you thought about seeing if you could use the Food Banks and Pantries in Virginia? They are another very useful source of help with nutrition.
Assistance with childcare
Almost all single moms need a little help with childcare. Some of you may be lucky enough to have a friend or family member who is able to take on the role of carer to your kids when you are at work, but the vast majority have to go find the care and find a way of paying for it.
The even bigger problem is that child care is expensive and can end up taking far too much of your income away. If this is a scenario that rings true with you, check out the state help that’s on offer in Virginia.
However, it’s also true that not all single moms will find that they are eligible for this help. But, don’t worry, because there are still things you can do that should help you find a solution. 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 kind hearted or switched on employers might be prepared to set up a crèche or offer a little help to pay the costs of child care. It is amazing sometimes how just chatting to people can help you to find answers to your problems.
Assistance with healthcare
Health care policies are very costly. But, the irony is that it is those who can least afford them who often need them the most. Single moms who are pregnant, breastfeeding or who have recently had a child need regular healthcare. So do young kids, and those who suffer from long term illnesses or disabilities. It is, of course, these very moms who so often have low incomes and find it too hard to pay the premiums.
If you have a low income, you may be eligible for Medicaid.
If you are a Virginian single mom who doesn’t qualify for this program though, take a look at FAMIS. This is a healthcover scheme that is aimed directly at families with young children.
Assistance with housing
Next on the list of important things to sort out is housing. Of course, if you are a mom with young kids, you need a real safe, comfortable home. Once again, though, it’s the same old story of not having enough money. What you need to do is talk to the people at Virginia’s Housing and Urban Developemnt (HUD)offices. They can offer eligible moms assistance to pay the rent or mortgage and also help you to find a suitable home for your family.
Utility bills can also cause you sleepless nights. If you are worrying about the cost of heating or cooling your home in Virginia, try seeing if LIHEAP can help. If you fit the criteria, your energy bills can be subsidized, so you won’t have to shiver through the winter or roast in summer!
Assistance with education
Education is the key to a better career, to more cash and happiness with your job and your life. So, you may need to return to college to get more qualifications to improve your family life. Your kids too, need to get the best education they can. But of course, it all has to be paid for, like eveything else in this modern world.
But there’s good news! 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 Virginia.
Maybe you want to get a professional qualification, such as nursing? If so, there may well 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.
There are so many possibilities of help with education. It really is just a case of taking the time to look and ask.
Assistance with transportation
Single moms who live in the towns and cities of Virginia can take advantage of the good public transportation in the state. It is reliable and affordable.
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? Talk to people, ask around, check out ads in local shops and papers…maybe there is someone who is looking to share a car with someone just like you!
So you can see, Virginia has lots of ways to help you if you are a single mom.