Single parents used to be something of a rarity but nowadays they are increasingly common and single parent benefits are a lifeline to many of them. Governments all over the world are recognizing the impact of splintered families on the economy and the many children affected by this trend.
Divorce and separation, as well as unwed mothers are all on the increase and the net result is more and more children are being raised by one person who has the total burden of responsibility. Unfortunately it is often the poorer communities who suffer the most here and if the vicious cycle of poverty is not broken it will continue to affect generations to come. Finding and utilizing single parent benefits can make so many lives much easier and ensure the well – being of children into the future.
Who Qualifies For Single Parent Benefits?
Single parent benefits depend on many factors such as your income and the number of children you support, how many other people live with you and the presence of disabilities. These are the most basic questions you need to answer regarding the children you are seeking benefits for:
- Is your child under the age of sixteen?
- Is your child under the age of nineteen and still studying?
- Is your child under the age of seventeen, out of school and intending to study or begin training?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then you could qualify for assistance through benefits for single parents provided by the state. Even if you are not the biological parent but have looked after a child for some time you could, in certain circumstances, be eligible for benefits.
It is in the best interests of the child or children in your care to seek out whatever assistance is available. Bringing up children requires huge financial and emotional demands, so don’t try and go it alone. The internet is a fabulous resource for obtaining information but there are many other avenues you could try. Your local church is often a good place to start. They often have feeding programs, can offer financial aid or can put you in touch with other agencies dedicated to social upliftment and providing single parent benefits. Don’t forget to visit your local schools, libraries and community centers. They have bulletin boards where information is displayed for the public. All of these might have useful information and tips on how to go about getting the help you need.
Networking with other single parents is probably one of the best resources available to you. You can pool information and save time and effort by sharing ideas and problems. If there is no one in your immediate locality then you have the option of a virtual community on the internet. Join a forum for single parents there so that you can ask questions and get advice on the quickest and easiest ways to access for single parent benefits.
What Kind Of Single Parent Benefits Are Available?
Benefits range from income support for you and your children to free milk and lunches at school. It could be a great relief knowing your children don’t have to go through school on an empty stomach. Hungry children cannot concentrate in class so see if you qualify for this program. Check with your local Child Services department if you are pregnant, you may be able to get help with vitamins and other health benefits, as well as cash. There are also facilities for prescriptions, vision tests and glasses, dental treatments and travel vouchers. All of these could ease your financial burden. In certain states you may qualify for food stamps or SNAP, which stands for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, so this is worth investigating. You will need to apply by going through a pre-screening process. Eligibility is dependent on your annual household income, the number of people living in your household and other factors such as disabilities, suffered either by you or some other member of the household.
Some states offer Children’s Health Insurance to care givers of children under the age of nineteen who do not have any other form of health insurance, including Medicaid. The care giver could be a parent, grand-parent or guardian as any of these could qualify for single parent benefits. This could be provided at no cost to you if your income is below the specified level. Other state funded programs provide health care coverage or contribute towards the premiums of employer or private health insurance plans.
Most states offer single parent benefits which include unemployment insurance benefits in the form of temporary financial aid for those who have been retrenched and assistance for children with special needs. Further programs specifically cater for pregnant women, infants and toddlers where education, health, nutrition and social services combine to ensure school readiness. Childcare is also offered in the package.
The most comprehensive source of information on benefits for single parents can be found at the government website called Benefits.gov. Here you will find the following list of categories to help you ascertain what benefits are available and which ones you qualify for. The numbers in brackets represent the number of benefits available in that category.
- Child Care/Child Support (76)
- Counsel/Counseling (31)
- Disability Assistance (50)
- Disaster Relief (27)
- Education/Training (75)
- Energy Assistance (106)
- Food/Nutrition (270)
- Grants/Scholarships/Fellowships (64)
- Healthcare (98)
- Housing (52)
- Insurance (148)
- Living Assistance (67)
- Loan/Loan Repayment (60)
- Medicaid/Medicare (55)
- Social Security (19)
- Tax Assistance (16)
As you can see there are huge amounts of opportunities for you to apply for single parent benefits. To narrow down your search you are required to enter all your personal information about your income, dependents and situation via a very thorough questionnaire called the ‘Benefit Finder’. This pre-screening information is used to match your data with more than 1000 Federally-funded assistance and benefits programs. Whilst the questionnaire might take some effort and time to complete, it is your best chance at obtaining grants and relief for financial and other child related issues. To get the most from this site you will need to be as accurate and truthful as you can when completing the questionnaire. Make sure you have all your facts and figures together and follow the guidelines provided to the letter. Provide as much detailed information as you can. This way you will be guided to the most appropriate benefits for single parents for your current circumstances. You can then apply for these on line. Don’t short change yourself or your family by providing inaccurate or dishonest information. It will only backfire in the long run.
This site is your single most inclusive resource for both single parent benefits information and how to go about getting them. Instead of running from one agency to another and spending huge amounts of time and frustration you can use this site as a one stop shop for all your single parent benefits. The site is user friendly and extensive, offering you choices and options you might never have known existed before. There are several ways to search the site. The best way is to use the ‘Benefit Finder’, of course, but you also have the choice to browse by category such as housing or healthcare, or by Federal Agency, State or other resources.
Are Benefits All About the Children?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. Single parent benefits in the form of healthcare and federally funded school feeding programs benefit the child directly but looking after the primary care giver or single parent is just as important. This ensures that children are looked after indirectly. Basic needs such as proper nutrition, adequate health care, housing, clothing and education are the first considerations in bringing up happy well-adjusted citizens, but they are not the only ones. Sometimes when you are struggling just to keep your head above water, trying to meet the emotional as well as financial needs of your children, there might not be room in your thinking for more ambitious undertakings. However, it is just as important to your child as it is to you to make the most of yourself.
There are other factors that influence happiness and fulfilment besides having a roof over your head and food in your stomach and one of those is furthering your education and single parent benefits make allowances for this. If you can add to your skills you can find a better job with better pay. This will not only ease the financial pressure but will contribute to a heightened self-esteem. There is no greater gift that you can give to a child than a good example. No matter what your circumstances are, you can do something to improve them. Search out single parent benefits that will help you to advance your education or even start a business. There is help available if you are willing to look for it. You can find a way to do this part time if you have to. Enlist the help of family, friends and the community. It is amazing how many people are willing to help if you just reach out and ask for it.
While the government has money available in the federal student financial aid fund there are also certain colleges that make funds available specifically for single parents. One such college is the College of DuPage Foundation. Even if you did not get your high school diploma there are institutions that will help you to achieve this. If you think you are too old to attend college there are also scholarship funds available expressly for the purpose of helping older applicants. When your children reach college age they will be much more willing to consider tertiary education if they have seen you making an effort to attain it. Then you can apply for federal and state grants made available through single parent benefits or apply for scholarships and bursaries through private institutions. Children are reliant on your support until they are independent so it is vital to give them the best start possible. Instilling a love of education and the opportunities it offers is a way to give them that start.
What Other Single Parents Benefits Are There
There are many websites with great information on how to get single parent benefits but one of the most extensive and helpful is helpforsinglemother.net. It provides a plethora of facts, tips and direction. Even if you are a single dad or grandparent struggling with the responsibility of raising a child or children on your own, you will find this site invaluable.
You can find advice on all the aspects covered here already and much more on things such as emergency assistance, grants for home improvement, what to do if homelessness is imminent, free computer learning for your kids, getting free samples and many more topics, both useful and interesting. It proves there is a whole world of help out there if you know where to find it. It also takes a bit of the sting out of the situation by providing comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone.
How Much Will Information On Benefits Cost Me?
Even though you can access plenty of sites on the internet promising to sell you information on all the single parent benefits out there, you really don’t need to pay a cent. You can do everything yourself without parting with any of your hard earned cash. Benefits for single parents are there to help you so why would you ever need to pay for the information? Well, of course you don’t, unless someone persuades you that you do. There is a vast amount of material available on the internet and elsewhere, you just need to do a bit of research to find out what is best for you. Take the time and make the effort, and you will soon see that the rewards will be well worth it.
Single parenting is tough, but armed with the right facts about single parent benefits, a good attitude and a dose of enthusiasm, it can also be a great learning and growing experience.
Originally posted 2011-08-03 23:13:09.