Minnesota can be a great place to live, especially if you enjoy snow sports and don’t mind the long, cold winters. Many people say that Minnesotans have the friendliest attitudes in all of the States. One thing’s for sure, at least. If you are a single mother living in Minnesota and you are struggling to pay the bills or to feed your kids, the state will try to help you.
Life can be real tough for single moms. You’ve got the work of two parents to do, and you have to pay the bills all alone! It’s harder even for you to go to work to earn money because you have to first find the cash to pay for childcare. The problems can seem never ending.
So, if you’re a single mom having a difficult time in Minnesota, here’s how to find the assistance you need.
If you’re stuck for cash, TANF might be able to help. Its full name is the Temporary Financial Assistance for Needy Families program.
It’s important to know that if you are considering TANF, the program is only able to be used by each person for a maximum of 24 months. There is also a work element. All the details are given on the above link, so read it carefull
If you are finding it hard to get to the end of each month on the cash you have, you might have been considering taking on a Payday Loan, or other short term loans. They sound good, offering just the amount of cash to you need to tide you over to pay day. But, interest rates are often very, very high, and fines for late repayment can be catastrophic. Look very carefully at all the terms, rates and conditions before you take on a loan like this.
Assistance with food
Good food is vital for growing kids. As a mom, you know this, and you want to feed your kids the best. That means giving them food like fresh fruit and vegetables, calcium rich dairy foods like cheese and yoghurt, and other fresh, local produce. These foods can be very costly, though, and a single mom’s budget may not stretch far enough. So, what should you do?
If you live in Minnesota, here’s how to go about finding help with buying good food. There are quite a few programs you can apply to for assistance.
Minnesota has a program called the Food Support Program. If you are deemed eligible, (details can be found on the link below) you will be given food stamps to exchange for part of your grocery bills in participating stores.
If you aren’t eligible for that, take a look at the Food Assistance program.
Another possible source of aid with important foods is the WIC (Women, Infants and Children). This one is suited to you if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have children under the age of 5.
Minnesota also has Food Banks. You can find out where the nearest Food bank or Food Pantry is to where you live by clicking on the link below.
Assistance with childcare
Finding reliable, quality child care that is also affordable is another of life’s challenges for single moms. Sometimes you can feel like giving up the fight to keep holding down a job when the kids are such as worry and expense. But, there’s help to find and pay for child care on offer for you in Minnesota, if you know where to look.
The state has the Child Care Assistance program. Here’s how to get all the information you need and to apply. The program helps with the sourcing and payment of childcare for kids until they are 12 years of age.
It is possible that for one reason or another, you can’t obtain help from the CCAP. If this is the case, try looking at some of the following suggestions:
Make friends with other single parents in your neighborhood, and see if you can establish a babysitting circle, or maybe you work different shifts and can help each other out? Or, a group of you can chip a little cash in and pay another mom to look after the kids while you go out to work, effectively creating an income for her too!
Sometimes churches and community associations offer crèche facilities, so get to know about them if you can.
Assistance with healthcare
Health care can be a major headache. Many single parents are hard enough pushed to find cash to live and eat without having to fork out even more for expensive Health Care Policies.
Of course, you know all about Medicaid, and it is an excellent program. However, not everyone is eligible for it. If this is you, check out the ways Minnesota can help.
First, there’s the MinnesotaCare program. It’s not quite so strict on income eligibility as Medicaid, so check it out.
Chances are, it will be able to assist you to get health cover at an affordable rate.
If your children have disabilities or long term serious illnesses you need extra help. And, TEFRA is there to help. You can find details here:
Assistance with housing
Raising a family means you need suitable accommodation. Single moms with young families often feel extra vulnerable, making proper housing even more important. It isn’t as easy as that, though, when even sourcing the right place to live is tough, and paying the rent or mortgage is like Mission Impossible on a single income!
To find assistance with various aspects of housing, you can go to the website of The Housing Trust Fund Rental Assistance program.
There’s HUD as well, which can help with rent subsidies and Section 8 housing.
Winters in Minnesota are long and cold. If you have babies or young children, this means your heating bills will be sky high and hard to pay at times. Don’t sit and shiver! LIHEAP can pay a portion of those bills to help you and your kids stay toasty warm no matter what the weather’s doing outside.
Assistance with education
You can’t get a decent job without a decent education, and it could be that you need to go back to school to better your prospects. Or, it could be your kids who need to go to college.
Although education costs can be high, there are literally thousands of grants, scholarships and loans that may be available to you. It can take a bit of work finding the right one, but start by applying for FAFSA.
FAFSA stands for ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid’, and this is what you need to apply for in the first instance. The link below gives you information, lets you download the forms you need to apply and gives you the school codes for Minnesota too. If you are a bit unsure about filling in the form, ask for help. It’s important to get it right.
If you want to do a career based course, like nursing, it is possible there may be special grants to help. Other ways of getting help with the expenses of education can range from college scholarships to sponsorship from an employer.
There are also extra awards if you or your kids have a disability or illness. Cancer sufferers can get help in many cases. 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
It might sound like a dream come true, but there is a scheme in operation that actually donates cars to a few lucky people. It’s certainly worth finding out about even if there are no guarantees. If you do need a car, why not offset the expense of running it by car sharing with a group of other single moms? That way you can take it in turns to do the school runs too!
If you live in an urban area, public transport should be able to take car of your transportation needs. Get to know what’s on offer in your city.