Arizona has one of the highest poverty rates among U.S. states with roughly one in five Arizonans, are living in poverty.1
One can only imagine the daily struggles poor single mothers face as they try to both parent and provide for their children.
In the state of Arizona, several programs cover the needs of single women raising children alone, providing support when it is needed most.
These programs help provide basic necessities including cash assistance, food, child care and medical coverage.
The Cash Assistance Program provides temporary cash assistance and supportive services to the most vulnerable Arizona children and their families. Eligible families are limited to no more than 12 months of cash benefits.
On July 2016, Arizona became the first state in the nation to implement a 12-month time limit, the nation’s shortest. Thus, the reach of cash assistance has fallen dramatically, just 7 of every 100 poor families with children received cash assistance in Arizona.2
Those receiving cash benefits are required to complete and sign an agreement to engage in work activities through the Jobs Program — Arizona’s mandatory employment and training program.
The Nutrition Assistance Program provides healthy food to low-income families with children and vulnerable adults. Its main purpose is to help Arizonians add more nutritious foods to their diets.
The amount of benefits depends on household size and income. For example, a single mother with two who works full-time could receive as much as $422 in Nutrition Assistance benefits per month.
If you do not qualify for Nutrition Assistance benefits, or need help with food during the application process, you may visit any of the TEFAP Food Distribution sites (“Food Pantries”) near you.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) provides emergency food and nutrition assistance to people experiencing homelessness, low-income senior citizens, families with children, at no cost.
The state agency in charge of administering TEFAP in Arizona is the Coordinated Hunger Relief Program. It supervises the overall distribution of commodities.
Coordinated Hunger Relief Program
The Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC) provides supplemental foods, nutrition education and referrals to health care, at no cost, to those who are considered to be “at nutritional risk”.
WIC serves Arizona’s pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, and infants and children up to age 5 who meet WIC eligibility guidelines.3
To be fully eligible for the program, applicants must be determined by a health professional to be at nutritional risk and have income not exceeding 185% of the federal poverty level.
Medicaid provides medical coverage for Arizona residents who meet the program’s eligibility requirements. This mostly includes children from low-income families as well as pregnant women.
As Arizona is expanding Medicaid coverage, uninsured adults age 19-64 with income up to 133% of the federal poverty level and children up to 147% FPL may now gain coverage.
You can apply online for Medicaid using Health-e-Arizona Plus — Arizona’s one-stop-shop for easy Medicaid enrollment — the same application used to apply for nutrition and cash assistance.
KidsCare is Arizona’s health insurance for children under 19. Children ages 18 and younger that qualify can get medical, dental and vision services; all three services combined in one simple plan.
KidsCare covers children in families with income from 133% to 200% of the federal poverty level. Those with income below 133% qualify for Medicaid with no monthly premium.
Depending on your household income, KidsCare costs as low as $10 a month but no more than $50 a month for one child or no more than $70 a month no matter how many children are in the household.
Under federal law, Native Americans enrolled with a federally recognized tribe and certain Alaskan Natives do not have to pay a premium. Proof of tribal enrollment is required.
Head Start and Early Head Start (EHS) programs promote school readiness for children in low-income families by providing comprehensive educational, health, nutritional, and social services.
Early Head Start is open to children under 3 years old in low-income families, while children 3 to 5 years old participate in Head Start. Pregnant women may also be eligible for Early Head Start.
Head Start and Early Head Start Programs across Arizona are currently accepting applications. Call 1-866-763-6481 to locate the program serving your community.
Child care assistance is available to eligible Arizona families with children 12 years of age or younger. Among other requirements, applicants must meet income criteria4 and are required to pay a portion of the child care costs.
Due to limited funding, a statewide waiting list may be implemented to prioritize eligible families waiting to receive child care assistance.
Unemployment insurance benefits provide temporary financial assistance to workers unemployed through no fault of their own that meet Arizona’s eligibility requirements.
Those who file for a new claim may be entitled to up to 26 weeks of benefits and are required by the state law to register for work at Arizona Job Connection.
In Arizona, there are no physical offices where you can walk in and apply for unemployment benefits. Filing for initial or weekly claims can only be made online via the Internet or by phone at 1-877-600-2722.
Utility assistance program helps low-income households meet their home energy needs. The amount of assistance is based on household size, total household income, fuel type, and type of residence.
To qualify for the LIHEAP program, you must have an income that falls within the program guidelines. Priority is granted to households with the elderly, disabled or a young child under age 6.
The availability of LIHEAP assistance is not guaranteed and is limited to once in a 12 month period. To apply for LIHEAP, contact the local Community Action Program (CAP) in your area.
The AzLEAP grant provides need-based awards up to $2,500 per academic year to Arizona resident students who meet the eligibility criteria. The average amount awarded is closer to $1,000.
Applicants must have substantial financial need — be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).References