Facing an unplanned pregnancy with limited resources and support can be a very frightening experience. However, there are some sources of financial help available if you find yourself in that situation.
Federal Programs for Pregnant Women
There are several governmental organizations that offer assistance to pregnant women. Many of these services are funded by the federal government but you may have to apply through your state's health department or agency first.
Women, Infants, and Children Program
The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program offers nutritious food and education. You can also get some screening services with referrals to other agencies as appropriate. Women are eligible for services throughout pregnancy and up to 6 weeks after birth or the end of the pregnancy. If you are breastfeeding, you may qualify for up to one year or for 6 months after birth if you are not breastfeeding.
The WIC program issues checks, electronic cards, or vouchers so that you can purchase specific foods to improve the nutrition of the recipients. Examples of these foods include infant formula and cereal, fruits, vegetables, eggs, cheese, peanut butter, and other healthy foods.
To be eligible for this assistance, your income must be at or below 185 percent of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines; these guidelines are issued every year by the government. If you or other family members participate in another benefit programs like Medicaid, you will automatically be eligible for this service.
Medicaid is a state-administered program that may allow you to obtain important heath services - especially during pregnancy. Eligibility for this program varies according to state. Generally, eligibility depends on age, disability, pregnancy, income, and resources.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program can also offer assistance if you are pregnant with no resources. TANF is federally funded but administered by the state; the goal is provide temporary financial assistance at the same time while helping you find a job to better support yourself. The financial aid can be used to purchase foods, clothing, housing, utilities, and medical supplies.
Low income families with children and pregnant women who are in the last three months of pregnancy are typically able to receive these benefits. Each state has specific eligibility requirements like with Medicaid. In order to apply, you should contact the director or office in your state.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
This program (SNAP) was previously known as the food stamp program, which allows low-income and no-income families to purchase food. SNAP now issues debit cards that can be used to buy groceries. Eligibility requirements vary from state to state but you need to be close to the federal poverty line to qualify.
To get more information and to apply, you should contact your state SNAP office.
Some charitable organizations offer assistance - both financial and through support - to women who are pregnant. The organizations can offer counseling as well as help you prepare for your baby's birth with clothes, baby items, and cribs. These centers also may connect you with appropriate health centers, parenting classes, and assistance finding housing. They may also guide you through the birthing process and can help you find counselors to discuss what your next options are.
You can look for assistance at local pregnancy center by checking the Option Line website.
There are a variety of religious organizations that may offer help to pregnant women. Since financial pressures and lack of support may contribute to the decision about abortion for some women, these groups seek to financially support women who may want assistance in carrying the pregnancy to term. This groups may supply clothing and baby items as well.
Some organizations offer housing assistance like Heather House, which offers a two-year residential program that supports women during their pregnancies and helps them learn skills to become self-sufficient. You may be able to find assistance through your church as well.
There is some controversy surrounding pregnancy resource or crisis pregnancy centers because they may offer counseling while trying to steer women away from considering an abortion. This may make for an uncomfortable session while you are looking for help. But once you have made the decision to keep the pregnancy or adopt, these organization can be very helpful.
Adoption agencies may offer financial assistance if you are interested in placing your baby up for adoption. This assistance may come from the agency itself or from the prospective adoptive family. Agencies like Adoption Services can help women in a variety of states with the adoption process and can help with medical and legal bills. Other examples of adoption agencies that may help you with financial assistance are Hope Cottage in Dallas, Independent Adoption Center, and the Barker Foundation.
Financial Help Is Available
If you are looking for financial resources while you are pregnant, there are many options available to help you carry your baby to term and to help provide your needs.