It can be hard enough for anyone to survive in these very tough economic times, but single moms can find it tougher than most. You have all the responsibility that is usually shouldered by two parents, and you have it all to do alone. There are all the usual worries of bringing up a family, but there is also the added worry of bringing in enough money to pay for the food, the rent, the healthcare and everything else. Some days, the problems can seem insurmountable.
So, what you need, if you are a single mother living in the state of Georgia, is to know that there is help available for you, and how to get that help. You are not on your own, even if it feels like it. Help may be just a click of the mouse away.
Government grants that offer cash help do exist, but can be hard to track down. It is worth taking a look at the link below to see if you can get advice on eligibility.
Your next step may be to see if TANF can help. The program…full name Temporary Cash Assistance for Needy Families, can be an excellent step to putting you on the road to a better life, but you should be aware that it is meant to be exactly that…a temporary leg up, not a lifetime support system. Each person can only receive TANF aid for 48 months, so look at your other alternatives first. TANF also includes a work program requirement, so you either have to have at least a part time job or take part in a TANF work scheme to qualify.
Payday loans and other short term loans might seem attractive, but it’s important to be careful with these. A lot of these type of loans have very high interest rates, and if you don’t pay them back on time can levy high fines too, making a bad situation even worse.
Assistance with Food
Good food is something that every mother wants to be able to give to her children. You don’t want to raise your kids on cheap junk food, you want to bring home fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products and other good quality basics so your family can grow up strong and healthy. But, it isn’t always easy to find enough cash to buy these things. Sadly, many junk foods are cheaper.
Georgia state recognises the problems and so has put in place schemes to help you get access to proper nutrition. Programs range from the excellent SNAP program, which gives vouchers of food stamps to help with the shopping budget:
to the WIC (Women Infants and Children) program. This one is designed to help moms especially. It caters for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or who have young children. If this is you, take a look at how it can help you here:
Don’t forget that Georgia also has a Food Bank service. You can find details of the locations of the food banks and how to see who is eligible for assistance by clicking on the following links.
Even if you have very little cash, Georgia’s food assistance programs should ensure that you and your kids can have access to the food you need.
Assistance with childcare
Childcare is another area that could have you tearing your hair out with worry. Good, reliable childcare can be prohibitively expensive, and not many single moms have that much cash to spare. The problem is, if you want to go out to work (and it’s a necessity, really) or to college to get the qualifications you need to work, you have to have someone to look after the kids. Some moms are fortunate and have family nearby who can help, but it isn’t so easy for others.
Don’t panic. Help is possible in Georgia through the CAPS program.
- TANF may also be able to help (see link given earlier).
Other possibilities include making friends with other single parents in your neighborhood to form babysitting circles or to share childcare, which at least allows you to work part time. If you’re an active member of a church or other religious community, see if they offer day care services. Some employers will implement crèches if there are enough employees in need of the help.
Assistance with healthcare
Healthcare is yet another thorny issue for single moms. You can’t afford to take any risks with your children’s health, but healthcare policies can be so expensive they are completely out of reach if you are trying to live on a tight budget.
If you have a low income, you might be eligible to receive help through Medicaid. All the details you need to apply are found on the link below:
There’s also a special kids scheme, as part of Medicaid in Georgia. It’s called PeachCare for Kids, and it covers preventive medicine such as vaccinations, dentistry and advice as well as helping with costs of treatment for illness and injury. Medicaid does require you to have a pretty low income, but the PeachCare scheme is a little less stringent on criteria.
Assistance with housing
When you have kids you really need a safe, good place to live. As a single mom you feel more vulnerable than most, but housing can be hard to find and costly. The help you need may be waiting for you at Georgia’s Department of Community affairs. There are voucher schemes to help with rent payments, and maybe assistance to buy your own home at a lower than usual price.
Finding enough cash to pay the utility bills can be a real worry too. Georgia has good, temperate climate, but winters can still be cold and summers hot, so moms with young children need heating and cooling systems in place. Help to pay these essential bills can be found though the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP. A list of contacts for your area can be found here:
Assistance with education
Education is necessary to get a good job. It is important for your kids, as they grow up, and it’s important for you too. You can better your prospects and your income if you can get onto a college course and gain new qualifications. However, education can also be very costly, often more than you can afford as a single mom.
The good news is that there is lots of help out there, if you know where to look.
Start by looking at what the state offers. See if you are eligible for FAFSA. This is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The above link takes you to a FAFSA website where you can find out if you are eligible for state help with education, download a form, get help filling it in if you need this, and discover the codes you need to apply for assistance for the college you want to attend. Filling in the form properly is really important, so do ask for assistance with it if you have any worries about this.
Schools and colleges have a lot of sponsorship schemes in place for their own and potential students, so remember to check these out. Also, consider scholarships aimed at students of certain subjects and courses. For example, if you want to study for a nursing qualification, there could well be financial help for you.
Locally based scholarships might be available though the Georgia Student Finance commission.
Grants and scholarships can also be found in unexpected places. If you or your kids have a disability or illness, do an internet search to see if there is specific assistance available associated with that. Sometimes churches or religious groups offer scholarships to their members, as do some employers.
Finally, look at large companies like Coca Cola to see what their schemes cover, and even Google the names of celebrities. David Letterman has a well known scholarship, while there are many more to be found if you keep looking.
Assistance with transportation
You might think that no one is going to give you a free car, but then again, you might just be wrong! There are no guarantees, but the US has a car donation program which might, just might, benefit someone like you.
Even if you are that lucky, a car is a luxury not all of Georgia’s single moms can afford. Gas costs a lot, and there are other expenses to budget for too to keep a car on the roads. You might look at sharing a vehicle with other mothers in the town, perhaps, and take it in turns to run the kids to school or help each other get to work?
If not, and having a car is out of the question, get to know the public transport in Georgia’s towns and cities. Buses can be quite cheap to use, and cheaper still if you buy a season pass.
Living in Georgia can be great, but not if you’re fighting for every penny you need to survive. So, use all the information above to help Georgia to help you to a better life for you and your family.