When you get a divorce, child support is almost immediately set up so that the custodial parent begins to receive money from the other parent. However, if you are estranged from your spouse and seeking other forms of support, you may find it difficult. Here are the connections and difficulties associated with getting government benefits and child support.
Foodshare, W2, TANF, and Medicaid
Foodshare, also known as "food stamps," assists needy families with getting nutritious food. The W2 program is more commonly called "welfare," and provides a benefit check to parents every month. TANF is an acronym for "temporary assistance for needy families," and is a program whereby you are actively looking for work while working a part-time training program in order to receive money to help your family. Medicaid is health insurance for needy people that do not have health insurance.
All of these programs can help you take care of your children when your partner or spouse is in absentia or just after a divorce. However, there are some additional hoops to jump through. You may need assistance from a child support lawyer in order to get your public assistance applications through the government approval process.
The Connection Between Child Support and Public Assistance
Most public assistance programs require that applicants secure child support from the father (or fathers) of their children. (If the mothers are estranged, the same holds true.) In fact, in states like Wisconsin, the public assistance programs will actually help you locate your former spouse/partner for the purpose of extracting child support. This reduces the overall burden of government aid and forces parents to support their children.
On the flip side, if you want help finding your former spouse/partner, your benefit application will be put on hold. This creates a lot of problems for most single parents who are desperately trying to support their children on their own. Even if the public assistance office finds your children's father(s), it is your lawyer who still has to go after him/her to get an order for child support. The public assistance office does not do that.
Expediting Your Application for Government Assistance
If you want your application for government/public assistance approved faster, have your lawyer track down your former spouse/partner first. Then take that information with you when you apply for government assistance. Knowing that you are already pursuing this matter allows the assistance office to approve immediate support. When you start receiving child support, your benefits will be recalculated and adjusted accordingly.