Dear Penny: I’m Pregnant and Need Financial Help. Where Can I Go?
I have no food and drinks at home. I ask my parents to help me, and they tell me no, that they’re not going to help me at all. I'm really needing some money to pay for newborn baby girl stuff and formula, bottles, baby crib… I don't have anything for my baby. I'm due Feb. 25, and I don't have anything at home ready before I give birth. Can you please help me? I'm a single momma, and I really need help. I live in Pittsburgh, Texas.
I can only imagine the stress of your financial circumstances. The most important thing you can do right now is care for yourself to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy environment for your growing baby.
I’m sorry you haven’t found help in your immediate family, but you still have options! Several community and government resources exist to support you through pregnancy, infant care and beyond.
Nationally available resources include:
- Food banks: Find a local food bank/pantry for your immediate needs. FeedingAmerica.org can help you find one near you.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Many people qualify for SNAP benefits and don’t even know it, so look into this regardless of your circumstances. SNAP provides a debit card loaded with funds each month to buy food at participating grocery and convenience stores. You’ll qualify for higher benefits once your baby is born to buy food for both of you.
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): This program provides up to six months of cash payments for families who earn below the income limit.
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant and Children (WIC): Apply online or call your state’s health and human services department to see if you’re eligible for food and health care assistance through WIC.
- Rental assistance and vouchers: Check with your state or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for options to help pay for housing.
- Private organizations: Organizations like the Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul’s offer a range of social services, from providing meals and food vouchers, to help with bills and clothing.
- Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Visit healthcare.gov or call 800-318-2596 to learn what kind of health insurance and health care support you’re eligible for. Once your baby is born, you could get her health coverage through CHIP or Children’s Medicaid. If you don’t qualify for any other health coverage, you could qualify for pregnancy care under CHIP, as well (called perinatal coverage).
- Healthy Start: This national program provides medical care and case management while you’re pregnant and until your baby is 18 months old to help you meet basic needs and care for her. Search for “Healthy Start programs in [your state or county]” to find resources.
- Cribs for Kids: Enter your location at CribsforKids.org to find the nearest distribution center for this national charity. (Be leery of “pregnancy centers” in your area that require you to complete a class in order to receive the crib; many distribution centers provide cribs without that burdensome requirement.)
- Free samples: You can get a small start on diapers, bottles, pacifiers, breastfeeding supplies and other free baby stuff by taking advantage of free samples from companies. (Search “free baby stuff” at The Penny Hoarder to find a whole list!)
Ask Dear Penny!
Get practical money advice from Dana Miranda, the voice of Dear Penny and a Certified Educator in Personal Finance.
DISCLAIMER: Questions will appear in The Penny Hoarder’s “Dear Penny” column. We are unable to answer every letter. We reserve the right to edit and publish your questions. But don’t worry — your identity will remain anonymous.
Public benefits are tricky to navigate, so start by connecting with someone who can guide you through the systems. Contact your local YWCA (via ywca.org) or the department of human services for your county (Google “[Camp] County human services”). If you’re seeing a doctor now, talk to them about your circumstances, and they should be able to direct you to resources for future infant care, as well.
Our best wishes to you and your growing family!
Dana Miranda is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance®, author, speaker and personal finance journalist. She writes Healthy Rich, a newsletter about how capitalism impacts the ways we think, teach and talk about money.