Help for Single Mothers in Illinois: The Definitive Guide
Illinois has a very high unemployment rate of 9.5% as of July 2011 and the joblessness in this state is expected to continue well in to 2012. This is unfortunate for single moms and low income families who usually survive on single incomes and even worse for unemployed low income families. Unemployment in areas such as Chicago Heights is a whopping 15%. Fortunately, the state of Illinois has various financial aid available for single moms including food stamp benefits, homeless prevention program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), child care assistance, and supportive housing. We will overview each of these programs, inform you of eligibility requirements and how to apply. Once you have applied to any of these social service programs, be sure to remain positive and comply with any requests they send you, including the request to interview you.
i) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
This program was formerly known as food stamps Illinois and helps low income families and single moms buy nutritous and healthy meals so they can live decent lives. Monthly benefits are placed on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that can be used to purchase food at major supermarkets across Illinois. Eligibility requirements include living in Illinois, must be citizens of USA or qualified aliens and meet income requirements. As an example, a household of 2 people cannot have monthly gross income that exceeds $1,579 to qualify for food stamp benefits. The maximum benefits such a household would receive monthly equals $367. Would you like to know how much SNAP benefits you are eligible for? Use this tool http://fscalc.dhs.illinois.gov/FSCalc It will ask questions such as household size, income/assets, expenses including rent/mortgage, utilities, child support payments, etc and will calculate your monthly food stamps benefit amount. SNAP benefits can be used to purchase important food items like fruits and vegetables, meat, fish & poultry, etc. They cannot be used to purchase tobacco, alcohol, vitamins or medicines, hot foods, etc. Application for SNAP benefits can be made online by visiting http://fspp.dhs.state.il.us/register/wb/wbHomePre.do
ii) Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)
Child Care Assistance Program in Illinois allows low income parents or single moms to attend school or work full time while their child receives quality care from a licensed child care provider. The costs of child care are shared between the parents and the Illinois state government based on a sliding scale. Would you like to find out if you are eligible for child care support? Use this tool to find out www.dhs.state.il.us/applications/ChildCareEligCalc/eligcalc.html It asks questions such as your family size, local county, gross employment income, TANF assistance and income from social security. It will then output your estimated Copay. It also gives you the address and phone number of a local child care office in your County. I was not able to see an online application for the Child Care assistance program, however you can request application forms by visiting this website https://www.inccrra.org/home