Federal and state governments frequently cooperate to provide financial assistance programs that help new parents.
Having a newborn baby often means lost income and/or employment combined with extra medical expenses. The one-two punch can prove deadly to family finances.
The type of help available through public sources varies. The state where you work or live in plays a big factor. Local governments have unique laws and programs. In addition, individual circumstances can affect outcomes.
State Assistance for Income or Job Loss
Government financial assistance programs addressing income and job loss are sparse and inconsistent. Each state offers different resources, and most do not even touch the issue.
Many new parents face earnings and/or job loss when mom and/or dad take time off from the job.
Government disability programs provide income assistance to a very small set of people. The state where you work and the length of time you are incapacitated determine the benefits you might receive.
- Mandated short-term disability exists in only five states: California, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. People with temporary work absences are out of luck in 45 other states.
- Social Security Disability is available in all 50 states. However, it does not cover temporary work absences, which are far more common than permanent medical conditions.
Government unemployment benefits replace income after a job loss. In this case, each state offers a program. However, each has a unique set of rules regarding two common scenarios.
- After a disabled employee recovers
- After a family caregiver is available to work
Family Leave Laws
The government also offers assistance with potential job loss through family leave regulations. Once again, each state has unique laws that offer employment, earnings, and healthcare benefit protections for parents in the workplace.
- FMLA offers unpaid job-protected leave across the country to qualifying workers at covered employers.
- State-based leave of absence laws run the gamut. Most have nothing, while others pick up where FMLA left off.
- Longer job protection time off
- More employees able to qualify
- Paid leave benefits
Government Assistance with Health Insurance
The federal government provides financial assistance with health insurance. However, new parents need to access the benefits through state-based public Medicaid or with private plans via a local online exchange.
Single mothers with only one income source frequently meet the guidelines as the level of help tracks earnings.
Health Insurance Premiums
Government-based health insurance premium assistance makes healthcare more affordable. Expectant and new parents often need immediate help because of the high costs of childbirth.
- Medicaid covers low-income families
- Pregnant mothers have higher limits
- Premium subsidies lower private plan costs
Unreimbursed Medical Expenses
The federal government also provides cost-sharing assistance with unreimbursed medical expenses. These subsidies improve the actuarial value of silver-level plans purchased through state exchanges. Qualifying families face smaller out-of-pocket costs.