Public Assistance for Mothers and Babies

There are many programs that provide various types of support to mothers and children. These programs are primarily need based and can be very important to the health, safety and well being of your family.

Let’s take a look at a few of the more widespread and popular programs. The programs below are federal programs, but services are provided at the state level. Many states have assistance programs, too, so remember to check with your state for what they have available.

  1. Women, Infants and Children (WIC). This agency provides grants to states for food, nutrition education and health care referrals to pregnant or postpartum mothers, infants, and children up to age five. The program provides essential foods like juice, milk, cereal, bread, cheese, and more.
    • The programs are administered at the state level, so you’ll have to track down the WIC program in your state.
    • There is a registration and qualification process.

  2. Food Stamp Program. The food stamp program is also referred to as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It exists to help lower-income people purchase food. Although it’s a federal government program, it is run by state or local agencies. Anyone can apply to the program and there are numerous requirements.
    • You’ll need a social security number and if you are physically able to work, you must participate in a training program. Food stamp applications are available at any social security office.
    • The amount of assistance you can receive varies based on income, amount of your utility bills, assets, and more. There is an online tool available at http://www.snap-step1.usda.gov/fns/.

  3. Medicaid. Medicaid is a program that provides medical care access for
    low-income families and other groups. Medicaid covers pregnant women and children under the age of 6, providing that certain income levels are not exceeded.

  4. Housing assistance. Low-income families can get reduced housing costs. Public housing developments are available, as well as an option to receive subsidies for non-public housing. Eligibility is income-based.
  5. Child Welfare Information Gateway. This is an information resource developed to connect lower income mothers and families to resources and tools related to child welfare, child abuse, neglect, child care, adoption, and more.
  6. Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). In the past, this service has been referred to as ‘welfare’. The program provides cash payments to families in need. The income requirements are very low, but the program is available to those that need it. More information can be found at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/.

Many programs exist to help lower income families. It’s not always easy to track down the assistance that you need. The phone book and Internet can be extremely helpful in your search efforts. Keep in mind that most federal programs are administered at the state level, but many states have their own programs as well.

Help is out there for you and your baby if you have a genuine need. Be sure you’re taking advantage of all the services that are available to you. Good luck!

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