Financial Help for Single Pregnant Womenby Amber Keefer
A single pregnant woman can have a difficult time of it financially. Aside from housing expenses and money for food, you will have additional medical expenses for prenatal care. Pregnancy is a physically and emotionally stressful time for any woman. If you have the added worry of not being able to manage financially, it can be an even more stressful period in your life. Fortunately, there are free and low-cost programs available for pregnant women who are eligible to receive help.
Women, Infants and Children is a federal program that gives grants to states to provide healthy foods and nutrition information to pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, and to infants and children under the age of 5. You must be income eligible and have a nutritional need to qualify to get free supplemental foods, such as milk, cereal, eggs, juice and cheese. State agencies use income eligibility guidelines to determine a woman's eligibility to participate in the program. Some states set lower income limits. The Food Stamp Program, currently known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is another federally funded program designed to help single individuals and families with little or no income to buy food. You must meet the income limits to qualify.
Contact the county department of social services where you live to determine what kinds of government assistance may be available to you. States receive block grants from the federal government to operate programs to assist needy families. Depending on whether you meet the income guidelines, you may be eligible to receive cash assistance, food stamps and medical assistance to cover your pregnancy. Single, pregnant women who meet the income requirements can receive cash assistance benefits through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. You must contact the federal Department of Human Services office in your county to apply.
The local health department in your county may offer free prenatal vitamins and prenatal care to low-income pregnant women. If this is not the case, the county health nurse can provide you with information about medical assistance programs or affordable health insurance. Contact the offices of the state and federal legislators representing your district or state if you don't know where else to turn for help. Their offices will direct you to available assistance programs.
Medical assistance programs, which are supported by state and federal funds, often reach out to pregnant women and children in need. Visit your local or state Human Services Agency to complete an application. When you complete the application for financial assistance, you will need to show proof of income, assets and housing costs. Medicaid is a federally funded program administered by the individual states. Each state sets its own eligibility guidelines and determines what medical services the program will cover. Low-income pregnant women fit into one of the eligibility groups recognized by federal and state law. If your income is to high to qualify you for Medicaid, you may still qualify for a medical-assistance program provided by your state. Another option is to find out if you meet the criteria for low-cost health insurance offered by your state.
Contact your local United Way organization for information about charitable organizations that are looking to help women. The United Way can also refer you to job training programs, career counseling services, emergency assistance programs, food banks and free health clinics available in your community. Churches and other nonprofit organizations often offer programs for pregnant teens or adult, unwed pregnant women in need of help.
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