Raising a child as a single parent can be more difficult in many ways than raising one as a member of a two-parent family. Children have many needs that can put quite a financial strain on someone who is trying to get by on a single salary. Fortunately, the government has programs for cases like this, and financial assistance is available to those who qualify. For instance, a single parent making a large salary would not be able to take advantage of this assistance, but help is available for someone who doesn’t make a lot of money.
Help with child care expenses is one way in which the Department of Health and Human Services assists those in need. Single parents with jobs naturally need child care, especially if they are working more than one job to make ends meet. This agency doesn’t directly pay benefit recipients; it funds state child care assistance programs through its Child Care and Development Fund. To receive assistance, the single parent should apply at his or her state or local agency and show that child care is actually needed because of a job or schooling. Also, maximum income limits apply, and the child must be under 13 years old or has special needs.
Help with medical expenses is also available from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. It’s no secret that a child’s medical expenses can be very high, and Medicaid will often cover these expenses if certain requirements are met. Women who are pregnant and have a low income can apply for assistance, and if they are on Medicaid when their children are born, the benefits will extend to both the mother and child. In addition, parents of children aged 18 or below who make a limited income can also qualify, in addition to those with children who need full time nursing care.
In addition to Medicaid, parents with limited resources can also obtain insurance for their children via the Children’s Health Care Insurance Program (CHIP). Started in 1997 and reauthorized in April, 2009, this program provides health care coverage to millions of children through funding from the Federal and State governments. The program is run by each state, which then has the ability to design the program, set eligibility rules and coverage levels, and oversee the administration.
Head Start is another way in which single parents can receive assistance from the government. This program is one that aims to promote school readiness by making funds available to local public and private agencies that provide child development services to needy parents. These programs help out with education, health, nutrition, and other child development needs, and can be applied for at a local Head Start or Early Head Start office.
Although raising a child as a single parent can be difficult, there is help out there for those who need it. Thanks to the Federal Government’s Department of Health and Human Services, many programs are available to assist with child care, education, healthcare, and other needs, for low-income single parents and dual-parent families who are in need as well.