Being a single mother is never easy. You, and only you, have to raise your kids in a difficult world. You have to make sure they are well fed, well educated, and that they are happy. You have to find and pay for decent housing and look after your kids’ health. And, when there are problems, you don’t have anyone to talk it over with. What’s more, when the world is suffering tough economic times, like it is right now, things can get even tighter when it comes to finding enough money to pay for everything.
However, in all of that, there is good news. Idaho has several programs in place that offer help to struggling single mothers and their children. All you have to do is find out what help there is, check what programs you are eligible for and get that application in. There’s even help available in completing application forms properly, giving you the best possible chance of getting the assistance you need. So stop worrying and read on!
Cash is always at the root of your worries. There never seems to be enough to pay the bills, buy food or get around. Actual hard cash hand outs can be difficult to find, but there are a few (a very FEW) programs that are legit and can give you a helping hand, if not directly, then indirectly.
TANF…Temporary Cash Assistance for Needy Families can also really help you. TANF provides temporary help to needy families, and it can be exactly what you need to get life back on a positive path. But, do be aware that the help is temporary, and anyone accepted on a TANF help program can only receive that assistance for a maximum of 48 months. So, explore all the options before you apply to TANF. If you fit the criteria, though, and think this is the help that will make all the difference to you, the link to Idaho TANF is below:
They do, however, stipulate that anyone receiving aid through TANF works a certain number of hours. If you don’t currently have a job, it may be possible to participate in a government work program.
Payday loans and other short term loans might seem to offer an answer to cash problems, but take care with these. Many of these loans have very high interest rates, and if you don’t pay them back on time can levy punitive fines too. If you do decide to use these loans, make sure you have checked the APR and the conditions very carefully.
Assistance with food
As a mother, you know that growing children need the best of nutrition to be healthy and to grow up strong. You don’t want to feed them on junk food, but good foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products and other nutritious staples can cost a lot of money.
It can be difficult, but luckily Idaho has help on offer for single moms with low incomes.
As mentioned above, there may be aid available through TANF. Use the link given in the section above.
If you have decided against TANF, or are not eligible for their help, you can consider WIC (Women, Infants and Children). WIC programs are aimed at people just like you…women who may be pregnant or breastfeeding, or who have young children. It provides help with the cost of good, healthy basic foods, and also dispenses helpful advice on how to feed your children best.
You might also look at the services offered by Idaho’s Food Banks. More information about these is on the link below.
Finally, take a look at the Food Stamps program. This provides a Quest card, which is scanned in participating grocery stores in lieu of cash to obtain essential, healthy foodstuffs.
Assistance with childcare
Going out to work is a necessity for single mothers. In a two parent family, it’s possible that you could enjoy the luxury of staying at home with the kids, but if you are a single parent it is down to you to bring in the money to keep your family. This means that you will need to find suitable and affordable childcare. There are two options for childcare: You can get someone to come to your home to take care of the children, or you can send them to a day care centre.
Both options can be very good, but both can be expensive and create yet another problem for single mothers.
TANF may be able to help (see link given earlier) or take a look at the webpage linked below.
This link takes you to the Idaho Child Care Assistance program, which helps you find good child care and also pays a portion of the costs.
Sometimes you can get help with childcare though getting to know other single moms in your town. If you get a few of you together, and work part time, maybe you can organize a rota for child care between you?
Ask around your community too, because there may be a church group or other community association that runs a crèche and offers subsidized prices for single moms.
Assistance with healthcare
No one, least of all a mother, wants to put her child’s health at risk by not having adequate health care cover. But, like everything else in life, health care cover is costly, sometimes too costly for a single mother to manage.
If you are on a low income it’s likely that Medicaid will be able to offer assistance. Medicaid deals with all aspects of healthcare for low income families, so see if you are eligible. If you qualify, Medicaid can also offer help with other aspects of life like transportation, so it’s important to apply if you fit the criteria. To find out, follow the link here:
If you find that you don’t qualify for Medicaid, Idaho has another program that can help. The criteria are easier to meet, so it could well be what you are looking for. This program is called SCHIP (State Children Health Insurance Plan).
Assistance with housing
No family should be without a decent home. Moms with young children are among the most vulnerable members of society, and it’s vital that you have a safe home to raise your children in. But guess what? Houses and apartments are expensive. Buying a place of your own is ideal, but may be out of the question for single moms, and even rent can cost more than you can afford without help.
Yet again, you need help. Residents of Idaho can obtain this help from the Idaho Housing and Finance Association. Here you can find several options. There is help in finding Section 8 housing, help with other forms of public housing and a Family Self Sufficiency Program.
The bills for utilities can be another headache. You need to keep the house warm enough in winter, and cool enough in summer, and this becomes even more important if you have babies or young or sick children. In this case, the website of LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance program) for Idaho is the place you should turn to for help.
Assistance with education
If you, or your children are about to enter college, you need to find ways to pay all the associated costs.
The good news is that education attracts a lot of grants, scholarships, loans and financial help. Chances are there will be one that is just what you need.
Start by looking at what the state offers. See if you are eligible for FAFSA. This is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The above link takes you to a FAFSA website where you can discover all you need to know about eligibility criteria, download a form, get help filling it in if you need to and find the codes to apply for assistance for your specific college.
Other possible sources of grants and scholarships are from the colleges themselves; schemes designed for specific subjects to encourage students to take up those courses or awards made to people (adults or children) who suffer from certain illnesses and disabilities. Members of ethnic groups or of religious communities may also be able to find help through their own groups.
Large companies (think household names like Coca Cola) have scholarship schemes running — you can search big sites like Scholarships.com to see what sort of scholarship programs you can round up.
Assistance with transportation
Unless you are very fortunate, you will have to look also at methods of transportation in order to get yourself to work and the kids to their schools or childcare centres. It’s ideal if you can have your own car, but how many hard pressed single moms can afford one? There is a program that just might help: Do a web search for the donate car program offered by TANF.
You can’t rely on that, so in case you aren’t lucky, get to know the public transport in your town and city. It’s usually reliable and affordable. Or, make friends with other parents in the community who may be able to share the costs of a running a car.
There is help available in Idaho. Don’t miss out on it