Help for Single Mothers in Oregon: The Ultimate Guide
Life for single moms who live on single incomes or who are looking for work becomes especially difficult as the job market is weak and work is hard to find. Fortunately, the state of Oregon has several financial aid programs for single mothers including the Oregon Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Oregon Medicaid State plan, Oregon Subsidized Housing for Low Income families, etc. In this article, we will describe each of these programs, how to apply and give you beneficial websites where you will find more information. Because the information is exhaustive, we will only summarize points.
i) Oregon Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Formerly known as Food stamps Oregon, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is administered by the US Department of Agriculture and provides nutritious and healthy meals to low income families and single mothers who would otherwise not be able to afford basic food. Once a single mom is eligible to receive food stamps, this money is loaded on a Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card which can be used at major supermarkets to purchase food items. Essential food items that can be bought include breads and cereals, fruits & vegetables, meat, fish & poultry, etc. Non-essential food items such as beer, tobacco, cigarettes, vitamins or household products cannot be purchased with this card. How do you apply for benefits? You can download application forms by going here http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ASSISTANCE/FOOD-BENEFITS/Pages/Eligibility-Apply.aspx How do you know you are eligible to receive food stamp benefits? A good way to find out is by going here https://aix-xweb1p.state.or.us/caf_xweb/SNAP_Estimate/frmEstimate.cfm This is a food stamp benefit calculator courtesy of Oregon Department of Human Services and will ask you several questions including your income from your job, household expenses including rent, utilities, medical expenses, etc.
ii) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Needy families and single mothers with dependents receive cash assistance to help them become self sufficient under the TANF program. The goal of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is to reduce the number of families living in poverty. While applying for TANF, eligibility for food stamps and health care benefits is first determined. A TANF counselor will work with the entire family to assess its current immediate needs, how to make their lives better, what programs/resources are available including child support or social security. TANF also helps single moms look for jobs in their field and update their skills. Application for TANF can be made by filling this PDF file and printing it out https://apps.state.or.us/Forms/Served/de0415f.pdf Upon completing this form and mailing it to the address provided, you may be asked to come to an interview. Make sure you are punctual and attend the interview.
iii) Oregon Medicaid State Plan
Oregon Medicaid offers various healthcare options for low income families including single moms and their children. Healthy Kids is a program offered by the State of Oregon that offers medical services and health insurance coverage for all kids under 19 years of age and coverage includes doctor visits, mental health, dental care & vision, prescriptions, hospital emergencies, etc. Eligibility requirements are the kid must live in Oregon, be uninsured for at least 2 months before applying, as well as income requirements. E.g. in a family of 2, the maximum annual income can be $29,568 and there will be no monthly premiums on the health insurance. For a family of 2 making between $29,568 to $44,280, there is a low cost premium. Full qualification and guidelines can be read here: www.oregonhealthykids.gov/families/qualifications.html HealthyKids is also offered to those low income families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), see above. To apply for health care benefits, fill out the online application form by going here https://apps.state.or.us/mbs/ This is an application form for Oregon Health plan and Healthy Kids.
iv) Oregon Subsidized Housing
Subsidized housing in the state of Oregon is offered by Oregon Housing and Community Services group. There are many rental assistance programs including the Low Income rental assistance, rent guarantee program and discounted rentals. The rent guarantee program offers individuals with bad credit histories or those that have not been able to pay past rents assistance by settling the rent with their landlords and moving them in to permanent housing. Applications for any housing or rental assistance program must be made through a participating local community action agency. Section 8 Housing offered by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development also offers rental assistance by placing single moms and low income families in apartments with reduced rents. For instance, if the apartment rents for $900, the low income family would have to pay $400 and the difference would be paid by the Department authority. To apply for subsidized housing in Oregon, do an apartment search using your Zip code here www.hud.gov/apps/section8/step2.cfm?state=OR