Being a single parent presents a wide variety of unique problems. But, you know this. No long intro this time. Let’s just jump into the resources available to help you out.
The American healthcare system is a racket…I mean, flawed (yeah, let’s go with flawed). The new tax code set to go into effect at the start of 2019 gets rid of the affordable care act’s individual mandate (aka Obamacare’s tax penalty, depending on your political leanings). That means you are no longer required to have health insurance, but you really really should.
The price of medical treatment is grossly inflated to both, benefit from and justify the existence of health insurance companies. You could go to the ER with a hurt leg and pay as much as $1,500 for an X-ray and a recommendation to take some ibuprofen.
If buying your own insurance seems like a financial impossibility, Medicaid is there to help you. You could get health insurance for as little as $0 a month. You really have nothing to lose.
Unless you live in a bustling metropolis with ample access to public transportation, you’re going to need a car; you might need one even if you do. Not having access to transportation is one of the most reported barriers to employment across the board. Moreover, being able to take your child to and from activities is a necessity in and of itself.
Fortunately, there are various charities that exist to help single parents (and others in need) get access to cars. You can try Wheels 4 Hope, Vehicles for Change, Cars for Moms, and a whole host of government-run programs all designed to get you mobile.
Daycare is another huge concern for working parents. There are quite a few programs designed to help you out. If you fall below a certain income, there are state programs that will help you pay for daycare. The federal government also has the Head Start program which helps prepare children under five for school. Head start is free under certain conditions but can have a fee if the child stays longer than a specific timeframe.
If you don’t qualify for low-income assistance, but would still struggle to pay full price, you can always look into scholarship programs from private institutions.
It is a shame there is so much stigma on government food and cash assistance. Most of the stigma is derived from misconceptions and flat-out lies propagated for the purposes of political rhetoric. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families offers financial assistance to families struggling to find gainful employment. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (better known as food stamps) allows low-income families not to have to spend the bulk of their low income on food. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (mercifully shortened to WIC) helps new mothers pay for nutritious food during the early developmental years of their child’s life.
There is so much help out there for single parents; you just have to know where to look for it. Challenges are still going to arise. Hopefully, knowing you have places you can turn will give you peace of mind when they do.