Washington state is one of the most vibrant and diverse of the 50. From the bustling city of Seattle, home to 60% of the state’s populace, to the National parks, wildlife reserves and wilderness lands, Washington is always an exciting place to be.
However, exciting or not, if you are a single mother who is finding it tough to find enough cash to get to the end of each month, maybe life isn’t as peachy in Washington as it should be.
Before you get down, you need to know that Washington state has lots of reserves ready to give you help with all sorts of impotant areas of your life. There’s no need for single moms to feel alone in Washington, you just need to know where to find that all important help!
Washington also offers a program known as TANF. TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) is designed to give each eligible person up to 60 months of support, financial and practical, to get you back on your feet and help you to become self sufficient. The 60 months is a lifetime limit, so be sure to use it well, but if you are able to be accepted onto this program don’t miss the opportunity.
If you worry about receiving unexpected bills and other expenses at the end of the month when money is really short, you might have thought about taking out a Payday Loan. This is a short term loan that can be useful to tide you over ’til payday, but they have a downside too. 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
All moms want to do the best by their kids. And, doing the best by your kids means feeding them properly. You want to be able to buy good, fresh, nutritional foods like vegetables, fruit, eggs, milk, yoghurt and fish to be sure your kids grow up strong and healthy. But the trouble is, you can’t always afford these things.
Here’s how to get help with nutrition. If you have registered for help through TANF, you can get nutritional assistance there. If not, don’t worry, Washington has other programs in place that could be what you are looking for.
Firstly, in Washington, there is 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 also 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.
Washington also has a program called the Washington Basic food Program. Check your eligibility here:
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 Washington WIC program. WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children, and you can find more about it and your eligibility here:
If none of the above options are open to you, have you considered looking at what the Food Banks of Washington can do for you?
Assistance with childcare
The need to get a job and go out to work is pressing for single moms. After all, there’s no one else in the family to earn the money! But, for a single mom, going out to work also means finding and paying for reliable, quality child care.
Child care is expensive and can end up taking up far too much of your income . If this is a scenario that rings true with you, check out the state help that’s on offer in Washington.
Of course, it is possible that you won’t be able to obtain help with child care through this program if you don’t meet the criteria. But, don’t panic yet, because there are still things you can do that should help you find a solution. Make friends with other single moms in your neighborhood 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
There is no doubt at all that moms who are pregnant or have recently had a child will need to see doctors on a regular baisis. Kids too need access to routine medical and dental care throughout their young lives. Then there are the cases of illness or accidents, and what about those children or moms who suffer from more serious or long term conditions? Medical care is essential. But, like everything else, it has to be paid for and policies can be prohibitively expensive.
Try first to see if you qualify for Medicaid. Low income families can often receive all the help they need from this well known healthcare program.
If you live in Washington but you aren’t eligible for Medicaid, try this program. The Washington State Insurance Pool offers a lifeline to those whose income is just too high to get Medicaid, but who still need assistance with medical bills.
Assistance with housing
If your income is quite low and you are a single parent, housing may well be another worry on your long list. Once more, though, there is help on hand in Washington. The Housing Division of the Department of Commerce can help with rent subsidies to make it easier for you to find safe, suitable home.
Utility bills can also be a big source of stress. If you are worrying about the cost of heating or cooling your home in Washington, 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! It’s important to have a comfortable temperature in the home when the kids are very young, so get the help if you need it.
Assistance with education
You have to face it these days: Education is vital if you and your kids are to have a brighter future. Employers look for qualifications, so what’s stopping you from getting them? Money, that’s what. But, did you know that there are literally thousands of grants, scholarships and loans available across the state and the US for education? 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 Washington.
Perhaps 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 takes a bit of time and effort, but the results are so worth it!
Assistance with transportation
Public transportation is excellent in Washington’s cities and large urban areas, so if you live in one of these, make the most of it. Find out about it all on this link:
Cars do cost a lot to maintain and run, and this can be quite worrying if you don’t have much spare cash. 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!
Washington state wants to help its single moms get on their feet and be able to raise their families in a great environment. Find the help you’re entitled to and start enjoying life in Washington.