Life in Iowa state can be great. Summers are hot, and winters can be cold and snowy…all good fun if you like the great outdoors. Iowa’s cities are vibrant and exciting, and the overall cost of living is lower than the US average. What’s not to like?
Well, nothing…but if you happen to be a single mom even a lower than average cost of living can seem too big an ask. Meeting all the costs associated with housing, education, heating, transportation, healthcare and childcare can seem like an impossible task if you are on a low income and have kids to take care of.
As a parent, you will always have the worry of bringing your kids up right. That’s down to you. But, as a single mom in Iowa, it’s good to know that you aren’t totally on your own. The state offers a whole lot of programs that can help you to finance the necessities of life, so maybe you will get to have some fun with your kids in this great state as well!
If you are having a really hard time, check out what TANF might be able to offer you too. TANF is the Temporary Financial Assistance for Needy Families program, and it offers help with many areas of life. It isn’t meant to be a lifetime program though, and each person is only entitled to its aid for up to 2 years, so be careful how you use that time. However, it is a great program that can really help to get you back on your financial feet. Check it out here:
Take car if you are considering taking out a Payday Loan or similar short term loan. These can look attractive if you are in trouble with the bills, but they often have very high rates of interest and big fines if you can’t pay them back on time. See them as last resorts only, and make sure you choose carefully to find one that has a reasonable payback rate and time scale.
There are plenty of ways that Iowa can help you out even if you can’t get a cash handout. Take a look at the information below and find out what you are eligible for.
Assistance with food
Every mom wants to give her kids the best start in life, and that means feeding them properly on fresh, healthy food. Unfortunately, fresh, healthy and top quality food also costs a lot more money than junk, so sometimes you need help to give your kids the best.
Luckily, if you live in Iowa and are a single mom on a low budget, Iowa has programs to get you and your kids access to great nutrition.
Moms who are on the Medicaid scheme can take advantage of Iowa’s
Food Assistance program.
If your kids are very young (under the age of 5) or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding you could be able to get help from the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program. Here’s all the information you need to see if you could qualify, and how to get the help.
The Iowa Food Banks scheme is another useful one for many struggling single moms. It’s part of the Feeding America initiative, so follow the link to see where your nearest food bank is and how to get the aid.
Assistance with childcare
If you are a single parent you not only have to be the main carer for your kids, but you have to be the breadwinner too. Unfortunately, that means that you have to leave them so you can go out to work to bring home enough money to look after everyone. Given that you have to work, it is also a fact that you will need reliable, good child care. This may be in a day centre or in your own home, but it may also be very costly.
If you need help to find and pay for quality childcare, Iowa suggests its Child care Assistance Program. It’s aimed at moms with kids under 13, and it could be just what you need. Check it out on the link included here:
There are other things you can to do to solve the problem of child care as well. One idea is to see if there are other moms in the locality who can share childcare with you, or set up a babysitting circle. Then there may be a crèche in your town run by a local church or other religious or community group. It’s definitely worth asking around.
Assistance with healthcare
Kids have accidents and illnesses…they also need access to regular check ups at the doctors, the dentists, the opticians…and if they have a more serious illness or accident the hospital bills can really rack up if you don’t have adequate health cover. You too will need healthcare if you are pregnant or have recently given birth…and if any illness should befall you. Paying for expensive private health cover is often out of the question on a tight budget. And, it’s another worry single moms can do without.
Perhaps, if your income is low, you will find you are eligible for Medicaid.
Next up is a great subsidized health insurance program for kids, known as Hawk-I (Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa). Depending on your circumstances you may have to pay some of the costs, but some moms will find their kids can be insured for free.
So, you’ve got the kids covered. Now, for yourself (because it’s important that you stay healthy and well too) there is the Iowa care program. This offers cover to those who don’t qualify for Medicaid, but still have relatively low incomes.
Assistance with housing
If it is help with housing that is worrying you, you might find that the HUD of Iowa can alleviate those worries. Here you could be given help to find safe, suitable housing for you and your kids, to pay the rent and even to purchase you own home.
Iowa is a state that can see some real extremes of weather…it can be scalding hot in the summer time and it can sure get cold in winter. Chances are, to keep your kids comfortable you’re going to need heating in winter and cooling in summer. To see if you are eligible for help to pay all those heating and cooling bills, take a look at LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program).
Assistance with education
It might be you who needs to go back to school to get qualified for a better job, or it could be that it’s your child who is about to enter college. Either way, it’s you that needs to find a way to pay for it all.
So, you’ll be pleased to know that there are hundreds of ways that you could get help meeting those costs.
The first thing to look at is FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
The link to take you to Iowa’s site to get the school codes you’ll need is this:
Remember that it isn’t just the school or college you are applying to that can provide grants and scholarships. There are lots and lots of other sources of funding for education. Multi national companies like Coca Cola have scholarship schemes in place, as do celebrities such as David Letterman and Bill Gates. Get on the internet and check it all out…you might find help coming from surprising places. Be aware too, that the subject you want to study may attract sponsorship. If, for example, you want to go into a profession like nursing there is a very good chance that funding will be made available.
Grants and scholarships are often offered to ethnic groups, to people suffering from some illnesses or disabilities, and to members of religious communities.
Assistance with transportation
Not many single moms can dream of buying a car. However, there is a scheme that takes donated cars and allocates them to needy people…so before you give up on the idea of having your own car, have a look. Do a web search for the donate car program offered by TANF.
Think too about car sharing with other single moms in your area. That way you can share the costs of running a car and also the driving duties like the school run!
If you live in a city, public transport will answer your needs. All Iowa’s big towns and cities have well established buses and other public transport systems in place, and most are very affordable.
Life in Iowa just got better for single moms!