If you are a single mother and struggling to make ends meet, every day can seem like an uphill battle. It can make it hard to have a strong quality relationship with your children and provide everything they need. If you are struggling there are several programs that are available to you, that can help you move toward a better life for you and your children.
Child Care Subsidy Program
Often one of the hardest aspects of being a single mother is trying to work or go to school, and find quality child care. In many areas, child care fees can take a huge portion of a mother’s paycheck. That is why the Child Care Subsidy Program in Maine exists. This program offers vouchers that can reduce the financial burden of child care.
To qualify for the Child Care Subsidy Program your children must be younger than 13 and you must be considered to be a low income family. The income requirement is assessed by the monthly income of the household, the number of people in the household and the household assets. To apply for the Child Care Subsidy Program visit http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/ofi/public-assistance/index.html.
The Child Care Subsidy Program of Maine provides you with vouchers that can be used to pay for approved child care services. The amount that you are granted through the voucher program will depend on your assessed income and the amount of hours that you work. The program will not pay for you or someone in your household to watch the children.
SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
SNAP is Maine’s food stamp program. It offers vouchers each month to qualifying families in order to help pay for food each month. The program allows for families to choose what they want to spend the vouchers on with limited restrictions.
In order to qualify for SNAP, you must have an income that meets the requirements based upon the number of people in your household. For example, a family of four must have a monthly income of $2,422 or less to qualify for benefits. The family must also have limited resources at their disposal and everyone in the household that is able must be working or actively looking for work. To apply for SNAP visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/outreach/states/maine.htm.
The benefits that you will receive from SNAP are determined by your income and the number of people in your household. The money will then be transferred to an Electronic Benefit transfer card at the first of every month. The card is then used like a regular debit card at most grocery stores.
Housing Choice Vouchers
If you find that you cannot afford rent or you are afraid that you may soon be homeless, then you can apply for housing choice vouchers. This vouchers will give you access to rent subsidy programs where you can have affordable rent that is determined by your income and the people in your household.
In order to be eligible for housing choice vouchers you must be considered low income. This determination is based on your monthly income and the number of people living in your household. In most cases your household income must be less than 30% of the median income in your area. If you income is less than 50% of the median income in your area, you may still qualify, however the majority of the funds go to families below the 30% margin. For more information and how to apply visit http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mh/Housing/section-8/eligibility.html.
Housing choice vouchers can be used at any apartment that is approved and allows subsidized programs. The vouchers can be used for any approved housing and does not have to be used on subsidized housing projects. However, even if you are determined to be eligible, the high demand for the vouchers means that you may be put on a waiting list. It is important to apply early to ensure that you get benefits as soon as possible.
WIC (Women, Infants and Children)
If you are pregnant, nursing or have children under 5, you can also get assistance from WIC. WIC is a program dedicated to ensuring that mothers and children have access to healthy nutrition to ensure lasting health and development of children.
In order to be eligible for WIC your household must be considered low income based upon household earnings and the number of people in the household. This means that your income must be at or below 185% of the U.S. poverty income guidelines. The program is open to pregnant women, nursing mothers, women who had had a baby in the past six months and children under five. In order to apply you must visit a WIC office near you and they will guide you through the process.
The WIC program offers monthly checks that can be used to purchase healthy and nutritious foods for you and your family. They also offer breastfeeding supportive, nutrition counseling and immunizations. The program can also help give you access to necessities for your infant so that you can provide them with the best care possible. To find out more about Maine WIC visit http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/local-public-health/wic/index.shtml.
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
If you are looking to go back to school or to start school but are worried that you do not have the money you can use the FAFSA to try and get student aid to go back to school. When you fill out your FAFSA you are also automatically considered for the State of Maine Grant Program. Both of these programs will offer you money to help pay your tuition costs. The money is need based and there are deadlines that you must adhere to depending on the semester that you would like to enroll. To learn more visit http://www.famemaine.com/files/Pages/education/students_and_families/Maine_Financial_Aid.aspx.
These are just some of the programs that can you reach your goals of self-sufficiency and providing a safe and stable environment for your children. Many of these programs are only temporary solutions and you should use them to try and find out how to better your life for you and your children.