Raising a child on your own is hard enough, let alone trying to support a family on one income. That’s the challenges single mothers face each day.
Through the state’s programs and initiatives, Florida actively reaches out to these families — providing the much needed financial safety net.
These include, among others, cash and food assistance, reemployment assistance, child care subsidy, and Medicaid.
If you are a single mother from the “Land of Sunshine”, given below are some of the help that you might be entitled to.
The purpose of TCA program is to provide temporary financial assistance to eligible families with children under age 18 whose income is not more than 185% of the poverty level.
Eligibility is determined through the ACCESS Florida which has automated eligibility processes for Temporary Cash Assistance, Food Assistance and Medicaid.
If you’re eligible for TCA, you may receive monthly benefits — up to $303 a month but limited to a total of 48 months. You must also participate in work related activities for a specified number of hours per week.1
The Food Assistance Program helps improve the diets of low-income Floridians, regardless of age, by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost.
SNAP benefits are modest. The amount of benefits received is based on household income, other financial resources, and family size. For example, a single mother of two who works full-time may only receive $373 in benefits per month.
Unless otherwise exempt, all work-eligible participants will be required to participate in the SNAP Employment and Training program, operated by Local Workforce Development Areas across the state of Florida.2
If you wish to apply for food assistance, call the Department of Children and Families (DCF) at 1-866-762-2237 or apply online at ACCESS Florida — the official portal for Floridians to apply for public assistance.3
Florida Medicaid provides medical coverage for Florida residents who meet the program’s eligibility requirements. This mostly includes children from low-income families as well as pregnant women.
In Florida, Medicaid covers children under age 19 with family income below 133% of the federal poverty level; and pregnant women up to 191% of poverty level.
As Florida is not expanding Medicaid coverage, most low-income adults without children and some parents may not be eligible. However, you may still be able to get financial assistance to pay for coverage in the marketplace.
How do I apply for Florida Medicaid?
Applications for Medicaid are made through ACCESS Florida or the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Families who only want to apply for Medicaid for their children may submit a Florida KidCare application.
Florida KidCare offers affordable, low-cost health insurance for the uninsured children of Florida. The program covers children from birth through age 18. Currently, more than 2.4 million Florida children are enrolled in Florida KidCare.
Florida KidCare covers Florida children from birth through the end of age 18 through four government-sponsored health insurance programs
- Medicaid — Birth through 18 years
- MediKids — Ages 1 year to 4 years
- Florida Healthy Kids — Ages 5 years to 18 years
- Children’s Medical Services Managed Care Plan — Birth through 18 years with special needs
Children with family incomes up to 210% of poverty are eligible for SCHIP. No interview required, just fill out and mail the easy, one-page application. Many families pay $15 or $20 per month, but most families pay nothing at all.
All Florida KidCare programs are applied for with one application. You can apply online or call 1-888-540-KIDS (5437) to have an application mailed to you.
Families in Florida who are trying to work or get training to work may be eligible for financial assistance through School Readiness Program. These services range from extended day to extended year, and school age care for children.
Depending on the family income, you will pay a fee for each child for whom you receive financial assistance. The co-payment is based on family income and family size and is paid directly to the child care provider.
To learn about eligibility criteria and find out more, contact your county’s early learning coalition. You can also call the Child Care Resource and Referral Network at 1-866-357-3239.
Head Start is a national school readiness program that provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services for low-income pre school children ages 3 to 5.
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.
For detailed information regarding enrollment, eligibility, and available services, please locate a Head Start program in your county.
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) are federally funded programs that assist schools and other agencies in providing nutritious meals at reasonable prices to children whose families meet income requirements.4
You may apply for school meals at any time throughout the school year by submitting a household application directly to your school. If you are a SNAP recipient, your child automatically qualifies for free school meals.
Florida’s LIHEAP assist eligible low-income Florida households in meeting the costs of home heating and cooling. Eligibility is determined by the local agency providing LIHEAP services in the county in which you live.
In Florida, LIHEAP assistance is not a monthly benefit. Depending on the availability of fund in your county, you may receive assistance up to three times a year — but not every month.
You must contact your local LIHEAP provider to find out if money is available, how to apply, and how to get an application. No web-based application available at this time.
Families with income up to 200% of the poverty level may also be eligible for Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). Preference is given to elderly or physically disabled residents, and families with children.
Reemployment Assistance Program provides temporary wage replacement benefits to qualified individuals who are out of work through no fault of their own that meet Florida’s eligibility requirements.
Florida provides up to 12 weeks of UI for new claimants in 2017 — based on changes in the state’s current unemployment rate. The maximum weekly benefit amount remains at $275.
All claimants filing a new claim are required by law to register for work through Employ Florida Marketplace before claiming benefits. Unless otherwise exempt5, all reemployment assistance claims must be filed online.
FSAG, Florida’s largest need-based grant program, provides assistance to degree-seeking, resident, undergraduate students who demonstrate “exceptional” financial need and meet other eligibility criteria.
The annual award amount may vary each academic year. The minimum annual award amount is $200 and up to a maximum of $2610 for those with the lowest EPC.
Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after October 1st each year. Funds are limited and awards are made based on the priority consideration deadline.
This need-based grant provides approximately $3,000 per academic year, subject to state budget appropriations. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply.
It is recommended that the application be completed prior to May 15th, as these funds are limited and will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.References
- For single parents with a child under age 6, the minimum average participation requirement in work activities is 20 hours per week.
- To find a LWDA near you, visit http://www.floridajobs.org/onestop/onestopdir/
- How do I apply for Florida food stamps?
- Income Eligibility Guidelines for School Meals
- Please review the Exemption Notice. Call 1-800-681-8102 for more information.