Assistance for single mothers in Delaware, especially those with low-incomes, is readily available. Childcare, health care, housing, food, school lunches, and educational assistance is offered by a number of state agencies. The number of single parents raising children under the age of 18 in Delaware was 32,278 in 2011, according to the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. Many are below poverty level. Needy Delaware single mothers usually will find the help they need to raise their families in these difficult times.
The Delaware Assist website, https://assist.dhss.delaware.gov/, is the place to start to determine eligibility for public assistance for single mothers or other low-income individuals. Delaware Assist, operated and maintained by the State of Delaware, allows people and organizations to explore most state assistance programs in one place. After entering their pertinent information on this easy-to-use website, individuals receive an estimation of their eligibility for food, medical, or cash assistance. The Delaware Assist website allows individuals 180 days to complete their application. People can log in and out of the system as needed. The Delaware Assist program is accessible for handicapped individuals. Most information about assistance for single mothers in Delaware can be found by starting with this website.
The State of Delaware has a number of programs designed to help low-income single mothers in the state including:
Delaware Child Care Services
Finding affordable childcare assistance for single mothers in Delaware who must work or go to school can be very difficult. The State of Delaware Child Care Service program was designed to help in these situations. Parents of children under 12 (or over 12 if the child has special needs) are able to obtain assistance to pay for childcare in a licensed day care center or licensed day care home. Parents may also choose a relative, friend or neighbor as their childcare provider if they obtain a Child Care Certification Provider Agreement from Delaware Social Services.
Income and family size are taken into account when determining eligibility for the program. The income limit is set at 200 percent or less of the Federal Poverty Level. Program participants who work often must pay a portion of the child care cost. The amount a parent expected to pay is calculated based on need. In cases of child abuse, childcare may be provided in order to protect the child.
Another innovative program, The Delaware Kinship Navigator Program, is designed to assist grandparents or other individuals over the age of 55 who are raising the children of others.
Medicaid – Diamond State Health Plan
Many low-income pregnant women and children under 19 who are not able to obtain or afford health care are eligible for the Medicaid program. This public health insurance program provides coverage for hospitalization, medical tests and medical and dental care. Eligibility depends on the size of the family, income and age. Under the Delaware program, however, individuals can work, own a car, and have a home and still be eligible for the Medicaid program. Most Delaware individuals using Medicaid are enrolled in the Diamond State Health Plan.
Delaware Healthy Children Program (DHCP)
Children under the age of 19, who have little or no coverage from another medical care program, often are eligible for the Delaware Healthy Children Program, or DHCP. This program, administered by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, provides medical care for children in families whose income is less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Depending on income there is a small monthly fee associated with this program. If three months are paid for, the fourth month is free. In most cases, children of Delaware State employees are not eligible for this program, however.
The Delaware State Housing Authority and HUD
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) works with The Delaware State Housing Authority, other state agencies and charitable organizations to provide housing assistance for single mothers in Delaware. Depending on the situation, housing assistance is available for those who require rental assistance, emergency shelters, shelters in cases of domestic violence, and assistance to pay utility bills.
Delaware works with homeowners, renters and property owners to provide subsidized housing and tax credits to those in need.
“Section 8” is a federal rental assistance program that provides “housing choice vouchers” to help very low income participants to procure affordable housing. The renter pays a portion of the monthly rental fee and the housing choice voucher is used to cover the rest.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The Delaware Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides assistance to single mothers in Delaware to help with the cost to fuel their homes. Energy costs covered include electricity, natural gas, kerosene, propane, coal or wood. Both renters and homeowners are eligible for this program, but income must not exceed 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
FOOD AND NUTRITION
Delaware Food Supplement Program
Supplementary food assistance for single mothers in Delaware is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. Eligible families are issued a Delaware Food First card. Benefits are transferred to this EBT (electronic benefits card) on a monthly basis. The maximum family income must not exceed 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Level in order to meet eligibility requirements.
Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
Single mothers who are pregnant or have children under five years old can benefit from the Delaware WIC assistance program. WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children. This nutrition program helps pregnant, post-partum, and breastfeeding mothers and their small children. Benefits provide financial assistance to cover the cost of healthy foods like milk, eggs, bread, fresh fruit and vegetables. Nutrition education, breast feeding support and health screening are also vital parts of the program.
Delaware food banks are administered by local non-profit or charitable agencies, and are an important source of emergency food assistance for low-income individuals and their families. Food bank directories are available from the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.
TEMPORARY CASH ASSISTANCE
Delaware Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Cash assistance for single mothers in Delaware is available under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Applicants must be caring for minor children in order to qualify. The program is administered jointly by several state agencies. Its purpose is to help people with temporary needs until recipients are able to work. Benefits are available only for 36 months, but 30 hours of work-related activity is necessary in order to receive benefits. Work requirements are reduced if the beneficiary is in school. In addition, parents must certify that their minor children are attending and are current with all immunizations. Parenting classes are also mandatory.
Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
FAFSA stands for “Free Application For Federal Student Aid” This form, available online, helps students, including single mothers; determine their eligibility for a variety of educational financial aid packages. Individual Delaware colleges, vocational institutions, civic organizations and charities offer grants or scholarships to single mothers seeking to increase their education and job skills.