Michigan. America’s Lakeland, an outdoor sportsman’s paradise where, or so it is said, all four seasons can be experienced in just one day! It is indeed a beautiful state, but if you’re a struggling single mother you may not be able to enjoy it the way others can.
A single mother has to cope with the day to day worries of bringing up a family without a partner to share the burden. Not only that, but if you’re a single mom, you also have to do all the work around the house, all the shopping, cooking and cleaning. You get to do the school run both ends of the day…and you probably have to hold down a job too. Worse, it’s down to you to pay all the bills. That can be a tough call on one wage.
There is help available! If you are a single mom in Michigan, and you’re experiencing financial difficulty, there are a good number of programs that can help you.
In Michigan, there is a cash assistance program that might help.
Next take a look at the TANF (Temporary Financial Assistance for Needy Families) program in Michigan, and see what it could do for you. TANF isn’t for everyone: apart from the eligibility criteria you also need to be working or agree to work a designated number of hours a week, and the assistance can only be given to any one person for a maximum of two years. However, the program is very effective and offers help in a number of key areas.
It’s also possible that you have heard of Payday Loans. These, along with other short term loans are designed to help you deal with unexpected expenses that occur before your regular wage payment of benefit arrives. However, appealing as they may sound, they can cause more problems than they cure. They often have a very high interest rate and also often impose large fines for late repayments.
Assistance with food
Growing kids need good nutrition. It’s a basic fact of life. All moms want to give nothing but the best to their children, and see them grow up strong, healthy and happy. This means buying fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, cheese, milk and other essentials. The problem is that many of these good foods are expensive…too expensive for a tight budget. So, you need help to get these goodies onto the table at home.
Luckily, Michigan has a few options for getting the help you need with your family’s nutritional needs.
One such option is SNAP. *The letters stand for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This is a system that works a little like the old Food Stamps system, but has been modernized to give you an electronic swipe card that carries credits to use on most foodstuffs in participating stores.
Then there is the Food Assistance Program.
Yet another possible source of aid with important foods is the WIC (Women, Infants and Children). This one is for you if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have children under the age of 5.
Lastly, have you thought about Food Banks and Pantries? Michigan has a great food bank program, so check out the details here:
Assistance with childcare
If you can’t find good, affordable child care, you can’t go out to work.
It’s as simple as that. But finding good, affordable child care is anything but simple for single moms. Day care centres cost a lot of money, and getting someone reliable to come to look after the kids at home can cost even more.
Here’s what to do. Firstly, check this link out.
It takes you to the state’s Department of Human Services who offer assistance to find and pay for child care for eligible moms. Chances are, if you have a low income and are finding it difficult to pay for child care, you will be able to get something from this.
However, if you find you’re not eligible, don’t give up. There are other ways to arrange childcare should you find yourself ineligible for a state help program. Make friends with other single parents in your neighborhood, and establish a babysitting circle. If one or two of you work different part time shifts, perhaps you can share childcare? Or, if there are several single moms, maybe those who go to work can club together to pay a little to a non working mom to take care of the kids? That way everyone benefits!
Talk to community groups too, as many churches or other groups offer crèche facilities to members.
Assistance with healthcare
Everyone knows how important it is to have good healthcare, especially if you are pregnant or looking after young children. Kids are always having accidents or getting ill, and although these are usually (thankfully!) minor problems, occasionally something more serious happens and you need to have hospital care. Then there’s all the routine stuff like vaccinations, optical care and dentistry to pay for. Normal healthcare policies can be just too much for single moms to afford.
Stop worrying. Michigan has programs in place for you and your family.
Michigan also has a Healthy Kids Program for the children, in case you don’t quite make the income cut off point for Medicaid. And for you (because moms need healthcare too!) there are the Transitional Medical and Transitional Assistance Plus schemes. Low Income Family programs could also be of assistance.
Assistance with housing
Finding suitable accommodation for you and your kids is yet another problem single moms have to face. It isn’t easy, finding the right place but when money is tight it gets even harder. As a single mom you need to feel safe as well as provide decent housing for your kids.
If you live in Michigan, HUD (Housing and Urban Development) is often able to provide rent assistance, and can also help you to find housing.
It could be that you will also need help to pay the utility bills so take a look at the LIHEAP scheme. Energy bills can be a real problem, and you can’t afford to not have warmth in winter (especially not in Michigan, where winters can be pretty cold and snowy!) while you have young children in the home. LIHEAP helps by paying part of your heating costs. Find out if you are eligible for their help here:
Assistance with education
You might need to go back to college to train for a profession, or to get higher qualifications that lead you to a good job. Or, it could be your children who want to go to college. Either way, college is important, and education is an invaluable tool to finding a better life.
Paying for it all can be tough, if you are getting by on very little money. So it’s good to know that there are thousands of grants, loans and scholarships out there for you to take advantage of. Scholarships offered can range from those given to exceptional students with talents in an academic, arts or sporting sphere to those awarded to kids or adults who have been outstanding in helping in the community. Colleges and schools award their own grants and scholarships, as do some employers.
Begin by taking a look at the FAFSA website. FAFSA stands for ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid’, and this is what you need to apply for in the first instance.
Certain professional courses, like nursing, also carry their own special grants schemes, so find out about any professional courses you may be considering.
There could also be extra awards if you or your kids have a disability or illness. Check it out on the internet, as many special needs awards are made across the US every year. Some churches or religious groups might even offer scholarships to their members.
Assistance with transportation
Running a car by yourself is can be very costly, so try getting together with a group of moms to share a car…gas and maintenance if you can share the expenses it isn’t so bad.
While some states have reliable and regular public transport systems only in their towns and cities, Michigan does a pretty good job of providing this service in its more rural areas too. Public transport is usually affordable as well, so get to know it!
Michigan has a lot of programs that will give you the help you need so don’t miss out!