The natural state of Arkansas has historically been a poor state. Though prices are low here, that doesn’t help much if there’s little or no money.
For single mother families who live on little to no income, even the barest essentials are a struggle to afford.
The state of Arkansas offers various benefit programs for single mothers; each with its own set of eligibility guidelines.
The primary aim of these programs is to support their most basic needs until they are able to stand on their own.
Arkansas TEA is a time-limited assistance program to help needy families with children become more responsible for their own support. It aims to reduce dependence of needy parents on public assistance.
Benefits may include cash payments, childcare assistance, help with transportation, employment-related services, including job-readiness activities, and other supportive services.
Arkansas’ cash assistance benefit level for a family of three is the third lowest in the country at only $204 per month and it’s limited to no more than 24 months, unless otherwise transitioned into Arkansas Work Pays.
For more information about Arkansas Transitional Employment Assistance, call the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services at 1-855-225-4440.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps lower income families buy the food they need for nutritionally adequate diet. SNAP provides a monthly benefit for eligible families in Arkansas.1
According to USDA, the average monthly benefit per recipient is $113 or $397 per household with children. Nearly 400,000 people in Arkansas received benefits through SNAP.2
SNAP benefits are used in place of cash to buy food. If eligible, you will receive an EBT Card, which allows SNAP benefits to be issued and accessed electronically.
Applications for SNAP and TEA can be done online via ACCESS Arkansas or in person at the local DHS county office. Either way, applicants are required to complete an interview for their eligibility determination.3
WIC provides supplemental foods, nutrition education and referrals to health care, at no cost, to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5.
In Arkansas, participants receive food checks and Cash Value Benefit (CVBs) checks which can be used at WIC-authorized grocery stores.
To be eligible, applicants’ income must fall at or below 185% of the poverty level. And those who receive Medicaid, ARKids, TEA or SNAP are automatically eligible.
As Arkansas is expanding Medicaid coverage, nearly all uninsured Arkansans age 19-64 with income up to 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL) may gain coverage under the ACA.
Online enrollment is now available through ACCESS Arkansas — where uninsured Arkansas can apply for Medicaid, ARKids First! and other State’s benefit programs.
Beginning 2015, nearly all Arkansas enrollees earning between 50% and 138% of the poverty level would have to participate through monthly contributions of between $5 and $25 to their Health Independence Accounts (HIA) — capped at 5% of their income.
In exchange, the state will contribute a “matching” $15 monthly deposit to enrollees’ HIAs. Those who don’t may have to pay more of the cost of their medical services, and in some cases may be refused services.4
ARKids First provides health insurance coverage for more than 70,000 Arkansas children who otherwise might have gone without. ARKids First has expanded and will now offer two coverage options — ARKids First-A and ARKids First-B.
ARKids First-A is Medicaid for children. ARKids First-B is for children under age 19 whose families who earn too much money to qualify regular Medicaid but too little to afford private coverage.
Under the ACA, children in Arkansas with family incomes up to 211% of the poverty level — about $43,000 for a single mother of two, are eligible for ARKids First! or Medicaid.
Arkansas CCAP is the state subsidy program targeted at low-income families who need help paying for child care. It provides assistance with payment for child care on a sliding fee basis for eligible parents.
As a condition of eligibility, you will need to meet the work requirements — at least 30 hour per week, and have a child under the age of 13. Some exceptions can be made for those that are disabled.
In order to apply for assistance, contact one of the Program Eligibility Specialists in your county at 1-800-322-8176 and request an application.
Another great resource is Arkansas Better Beginnings. ABB is run by the state, that provides parents with information on quality child care providers and places to find help paying for child care. You can call them anytime at 1-800-445-3316 for advice.
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides one-time per year financial assistance to eligible households to offset the costs of heating and/or cooling dwellings.
Eligibility is based on income and benefit amounts are determined by the household’s historical energy usage. Households with the elderly, disabled or a young child under age 5 are given priority consideration.
Unemployment insurance provides temporary financial assistance to workers unemployed through no fault of their own. In Arkansas, receipt of benefits is limited to no more than 20 weeks.
If you meet the eligibility requirements of the law, you’re entitled to supplemental income while you are looking for a new job, up to a maximum of $451 per week.
GO! Grant provides $1000 grants to full-time and $500 grants to part-time students based on financial need. Students must be an Arkansas resident for at least 12 months prior to applying for the grant.
Eligibility is based on the family’s adjusted gross income as reported on the FAFSA. For more information, contact the ADHE financial aid division at 1-800-54STUDY or 501-371-2050.
Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund (ASPSF) is a scholarship program available to low income single parents in Arkansas “to enable them to attain self-sufficiency through post-secondary education.”
To qualify for the scholarship, applicants must be single parents who have primary custody of their children, and demonstrate sufficient financial need as determined by the FAFSA.
Scholarship amounts range from approximately $500 per semester to as much as $1,000 per semester. Eligibility guidelines and application deadlines may vary by county.