All parents want the best for their children. But the truth of the matter is, it’s not easy raising a child. It takes too much to ensure that your kid grows up happy and healthy. And it takes too little to inadvertently harm them in a way that will resonate in their lives forever.
For instance, even your home houses potential risks to your children. Consider an ill-maintained household. Something as seemingly innocuous as unclean air ducts could harm your kid’s health without you knowing. Such a situation can trigger or exacerbate pulmonary diseases, asthma, and skin allergies, to name a few. Long-term exposure to the dust mites, mold spores, and fungal spores emanating from these neglected air ducts could do irreversible damage to your kids’ health.
Yes, it’s easy to look at the problem and pinpoint the solution. In this case, that solution’s as easy as get those air ducts cleaned by a professional service provider. But for parents that are low-income or presently in between jobs, things are not that simple.
It’s challenging as it is to raise children. These challenges become even more pronounced with a limited resource. Thankfully, the government can be of help. There are programs in place to help low-income parents in raising their children, such as the following:
Home repair assistance
If you need to do repairs in your home but you cannot afford the costs, you can avail of the 504 Home Repair program, officially called the Single-Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants. This program is offered to very-low-income homeowners as well as the elderly.
For the program’s loan segment, the loaned amount can be used for home repair, improvement, and modernization. Meanwhile, for the grant segment, you can only use the money you receive for removing health and safety hazards from your home.
The maximum loanable amount is $20,000. For grants, you can receive as much as $7,500. The loaned amount is payable in 20 years with 1 percent interest. Grants are not payables, but if you sell your house within three years, they become good as loans you will have to repay.
It is also possible to combine the two segments of the program. If you need more than $10,000 for repairs but can only repay a portion of it, the government can issue you with a combination of loan and grant assistance.
Child Care and Development Fund
To avail of this government assistance, you must be low-income and acts as the primary guardian to children no more than 13 years of age. You can also qualify if you look after a young adult older than 13 but younger than 19 who’s not capable of self-care.
Another eligibility requirement is employment. If not employed, you must be enrolled in school or attending a work-related seminar that hinders you from taking care of your children on your own.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
The intended beneficiaries for the EITC are low to moderate earners. You must be a U.S. citizen or a resident alien with a valid Social Security number to qualify. EITC points are given to taxpayers based on income, filing status, and family size.
If your earned EITC exceeds your owed taxes, you will be eligible for a tax refund. The goal of the program is to allow low-income households to maximize their resources via lowered taxes.
Food Stamp Program
This program is officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP seeks to alleviate hunger among impoverished children. Beneficiaries are given a card called Electronic Benefits Transfer that works pretty much like a debit card. You can swipe it in accredited stores selling food deemed eligible by the government.
State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
This program exists outside of Medicaid. It’s intended beneficiaries are children who do not qualify for Medicaid because they do not meet the poverty threshold but are still incapable of paying for private health coverage. This program’s name depends on the state you live in, so it’s better to contact the relevant agencies for further details.
All children, regardless of background, deserve a dignified life, one where they have the chance to hone their fullest potentials and grow into well-adjusted adults. Unfortunately, the ideal is far from reality. According to UNICEF, one in six children lives in extreme poverty. In total, that’s 356 million impoverished children worldwide.
That is why government intervention is necessary, alongside continued assistance from the private sector. As the adage goes, it takes a village to raise a child. You cannot do it on your own, especially if you’re struggling financially due to systemic failure.