Financial Help for Single Mothers: A State-Based Approach
The federal government’s red tape might seem very intimidating, but in fact financial help for single mothers may be more difficult to obtain at the state level. You’re not just dealing with Washington to get help for single mothers, but with state offices, caseworkers and paperwork which are difficult to manage even though they’re as close as the state capitol.
On the other hand, with big endeavors come big potential rewards. The state can offer much more, and more varied help for single mothers than the Washington juggernaut, in many cases.
Your first step is to find out the official name for the state department dealing with human services, call them, and make an appointment. A call may require you to hunt down the right office, then the right extension, and then to be on hold for a long time, but it’s a better bet than an e-mail, which any office worker can find easy to ignore. Be sure to check out our STATE ASSISTANCE section where we show you information for each particular state.
Before you hang up, make sure they tell you exactly what you need to get accomplished before the appointment: Some states require a ton of paperwork, others a simple form listing family facts and income. Some paperwork can be downloaded and completed at home, others may require that you get to the appointment early to fill out forms, before you can begin the process of applying for state help for single mothers.
Also, be sure to get and double-check an exact list of what documents you’ll need to bring along (examples: Social Security cards; phone or utility bills; pay stubs; birth certificates; rent receipts; proof of current marital status). It is heartbreaking to go to the trouble of setting up an appointment to get help for single mothers, only to be turned away because you’re missing some documents. Finally, find out before the appointment ends whether you will (if approved) need to report on or recertify your status on an annual basis. Another heartbreak occurs when help for single mothers is cut off because the recipient failed to follow instructions on reporting.
It’s impossible to say how much help for single mothers will be confirmed before you leave the appointment. When you get home, make a file for everything relating to the process, and put all paperwork in there. Important: Open every piece of mail that arrives at your home, and be sure to read it with care! Much help for single mothers goes unclaimed or disapproved because someone threw away or mishandled or lost a crucial piece of “snail mail.”
Do not hesitate to call your original state contact if you have any questions. Remember, the state workers are not there to turn down requests; they’re there to help those in need of help. You may be surprised how much financial help for single mothers can be provided by the state, if you just think to ask about it politely but frequently!