Help for Single Mothers in Montana: The Ultimate Guide
The state of Montana has a high unemployment rate of 7.7% which makes lives for single moms who survive on single incomes especially difficult. This gets worse for those single moms who are unemployed because jobs are few and there is lots of competition. Fortunately, there is financial aid available for single moms in Montana who are either unemployed or working but barely making ends meet. In this article, we will overview Food stamps program in Montana, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid Montana, Child care Assistance and other related programs. We will also provide links to their respective websites so you can download application forms and submit them quickly. Remember, feel free to apply to these programs if your income is low because there is lots of financial aid available out there! The best way to succeed in obtaining financial aid is to remain positive and comply with instructions from each financial aid agency.
i) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
This was formerly known as Food Stamps in Montana and aims to provide nutritious healthy meals to low income families and single moms who are taking care of their dependents. Once eligible, monthly benefits are loaded on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that can be redeemed at major supermarkets and grocery stores around the state. Food stamp benefits can be used to purchase important food items like fish, meat & poultry, fruits and vegetables, etc. They cannot be used to purchase tobacco, alcohol or personal hygiene products. Eligibility requirements are recipients must live in the state of Montana, be US citizens or qualified aliens and meet income requirements. As an example of income limits, a household of 2 people cannot have more than $1,579 in gross or $1,215 in net income to be eligible for SNAP benefits. Also, abled household members may be required to perform work in exchange of receiving food stamp benefits. This program is administered by the Department of Public Health & Human services and you can visit their website below.
ii) Medicaid Montana
Apart from healthy and nutritious meals, families need to protect their health through affordable health insurance; this is the purpose of Medicaid in Montana. Medicaid aims to provide health care for residents of Montana including doctor visits, emergency care, dental & vision health, prescriptions, etc. Medicaid is jointly funded by Montana State government and the Federal government and income requirements must be met before families are eligible. Also, all households must not have more than $3,000 in liquid assets to be eligible for Medicaid. This excludes the value of your home and 1 vehicle. To apply for Medicaid, you must visit a local county office in Montana. Medicaid offers different versions of health insurance based on needs of low income families and their living arrangements including newborn children, transitional families, extended families or pregnant women. The best way to learn about all of these is by visiting the website below, it provides indepth information beyond the scope of this article.
iii) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) aims to provide urgent cash benefits to low income families and single moms who are in a tough financial situation. As the name states, this is temporary assistance and limited to 60 months in an adults’ lifetime. In a household of 2 family members, the maximum monthly gross income should not exceed $777 to receive TANF benefits which would equal $401. To be eligible, the family’s total assets should not exceed $3,000 excluding the value of their home. TANF benefits are normally provided to minor children, refugees with children or pregnant women. Other eligibility criteria include the individual or family must be a citizen of USA or a qualified alien and must live in the state of Montana. Individuals should also comply with program ingegrity reviews and attend any interviews as requested. Application for TANF can be made at any public assistance office, you will find their addresses here www.dphhs.mt.gov/contactus/humancommunityservices.shtml
iv) Child Care Assistance Montana
Child care assistance in Montana is administered by the Early Childhood Services Bureau whose aim is to increase affordability and quality of child care. This bureau provides “Best Beginnings” childcare scholarships to low income families who send their kids to licensed child care centers in the state of Montana. As a rule of thumb, these scholarships are provided to families whose gross income is less than 150% of federal poverty levels. The cost of child care under this scholarship is shared meaning working parents must also chip in to the cost of care. A co-payment is based on a Child Care sliding fee scale. There are also maximum gross income limits for Non-TANF families. As an example, a household of 2 cannot have a gross income of more than $2,289 to qualify for child care scholarships. It is best to apply and let a child care specialist count your income as some income sources may not be included. This works in your favour as your gross income is reduced and eligibility is granted. Families receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits may qualify for expedited processing. To apply, you can download the PDF forms in English or Spanish by visiting http://dphhs.mt.gov/hcsd/childcare/bestbeginnings/index