Indiana is said to be one of the best states in which to bring up a family. It’s a calm state with a decent standard yet relatively low cost of living, and a lower than average crime rate. Now, all of that is good news for all mothers living in Indiana. Good as it sounds, though, if you are single mother you may still feel that you are struggling to make ends meet.
Life is tough for single moms, even in a place like Indiana. For a start, you don’t have a partner to share the worries that raising a family can bring along. You also don’t have the luxury of deciding to be a stay at home mom. If you’re a single parent, it is you who will have to go out to work to earn the money to pay the bills.
No one can take away all the worries of single parenthood, but at least if you are living in Indiana you should be entitled to some state assistance to make your life a little easier. Help may be available in various important areas of life, like with cash, food, education, healthcare, childcare, housing and even those pesky utility bills.
TANF is a useful program to know about. The letters TANF stand for Temporary Financial Assistance for Needy Families, and this is exactly what the program offers. Note the world ‘temporary’, though. There is a lifetime limit on TANF programs, so make sure you think all the implications through before you apply. TANF can help you in various ways if you are eligible. It does have a requirement that you work an
agreed number of hours per week, however, but if you don’t currently have a job they will arrange a work scheme for you.
Single mothers who are having a hard time with cash may find themselves looking at Payday or other short term loans to tide them over. Some times these can be worthwhile, but many are overpriced and impose very high charges that can make life tougher than it was before…so be careful. Use them only as a last resort, and check out all the potential charges before you sign up.
Hard cash may be king, but help with other areas can save you a lot in the long run. Indiana has plenty of help offered for single moms, so check it all out.
Assistance with food
Good food and plenty of it is vital for healthy, happy kids. All moms know this, and all moms want to feed their kids the best. You want to give them access to fresh fruits and vegetables, to cheese, milk and other quality essentials, but you can’t always find the money you need to buy the best.
Indiana knows this can be hard, so here’s how the state plans to help you. First, there’s a food stamps program. Known now as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) it provides eligible moms with food stamps to exchange for certain foodstuffs. More information on this is available below:
If you’ve got children under the age of 5, or if you are a pregnant or breastfeeding mom, there is also the WIC (Women and Children) program.
Finally, have you thought about Food Banks? It’s yet another way that the state of Indiana can help you to get great nutrition for yourself and your family, even when money is tight. Here’s how to find them in Indiana.
Assistance with childcare
Chances are that childcare is going to be among your pile of worries too, if you are a single Mother. You have to go out to work to earn money, but how do you manage to get a job if you don’t have a reliable person or affordable day care centre to mind the kids while you work? It’s a tough problem.
Moms in Indiana who need help to find and pay for child care can join up to the Child Care and Development program. The link below shows you how to apply for this help.
Even if you can’t meet the criteria to be eligible for state assistance with child care, don’t panic. There could be help sitting right under your nose! Ask about the local community…sometimes church of other religious groups have crèches, as do some employers. Maybe you and a few other single moms can get together to form a babysitting circle? There’s usually something you can do.
Assistance with healthcare
Healthcare is always a worry when cash is tight…and also always a worry when you have kids. Kids will often need doctors and hospitals as they fall prone to childhood illnesses and accidents. Hopefully most of these will be minor, but you will still need to see the doctor at times. Then there’s all the standard stuff like vaccinations, dental and optical care. Paying an expensive policy that covers you can be just impossible. Perhaps, if your income is low, you will find you are eligible for Medicaid.
Not everyone qualifies for Medicaid, however, so it’s good to know there are other options. Affordable healthcare may be offered by your employer, for example. If not, check out this link to CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).
So, that should take care of the children’s health. But what about you? The answer might be found on the link below through the Healthy Indiana Plan.
Assistance with housing
Yet another one to add to your seemingly endless list of things to pay for is housing. It’s a basic requirement of any family: To have a good, safe and decent home. However, hard pressed single moms can find the costs of buying a house far too high, and even renting can be out of reach if you are on your own and have a low income. Here’s where to turn for help in Indiana. It’s the Indiana Housing and Development Authority, and the webpage with all the info you need about Section 8 housing, subsidized rents, help to buy and more is there.
Even once you have your home, you need to keep paying those utility bills. They can mount up real easy, and heating is a necessity in an Indiana winter. So, what can you do? Find out if you qualify for the Indiana Low Income Home Energy Assistance program, that’s what.
Assistance with education
Education is bound to enter onto your list of costs sooner or later. Your kids need to get their educations, and you yourself may also need to go back to school to get the qualifications you want so you can find a better job and earn more cash.
The good news is that there are lots scholarships, grants and loans that can help with the cost of education. The first port of call is FAFSA
The above link will take you to FAFSA’s website. It tells you everything you need to know and offers help filling in those all important forms too. To get the codes you need for schools in Indiana, the next link is the one you want.
Don’t forget to ask the individual schools or colleges about any grants or scholarship programs they may have too.
Other programs offer help for people studying certain subjects, or training for jobs where there is a need for qualified professionals such as nursing. Even businesses and celebrities have scholarship schemes. Get on the internet and search for anything that might be there that fits your situation.
Grants and scholarships are often offered to ethnic groups, to people suffering from some illnesses or disabilities, and to members of religious communities. It’s surprising what you can find. It all takes time and a bit of effort, but the results can be more than worthwhile.
Assistance with transportation
Another thing you might consider, if you live outside a big city and really need your own transport, is getting together with a group of other single moms to share the costs of buying and running a car.
If you live in a city, chances are that public transport will answer your needs. Get to know all about Indiana’s public transport systems here.
So, life in Indiana doesn’t have to so hard, even for single moms.