Unemployed women are not forced to endure a pregnancy without assistance. Every U.S. state has a program that offers benefits to ensure women in financial need have access to proper nutritional and medical resources to maintain a healthy pregnancy. In addition to the pregnancy-related benefits that an unemployed expecting mother can receive, a number of other non-pregnancy related benefits are also available, such as unemployment compensation, rent assistance and utility bill benefits -- key necessities when preparing for a little one.
Future moms with zero or limited income can qualify for medical assistance through her state’s Medicaid program. If she's eligible for this benefit, she'll receive critical prenatal care, labor and delivery services and care for any complications that arise as a result of the pregnancy -- the stuff that makes certain both mom and baby are okay. Medicaid benefits remain active for 60 days following the end of the pregnancy to cover the necessary post-natal services and check-ups for both mother and child. Medicaid is a federal program, but each state has the authority to establish its own eligibility requirements.
Two types of nutritional assistance are available to pregnant women who are unemployed: Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program -- SNAP for short, formerly called food stamps -- and the Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, supplemental nutrition program. SNAP covers all types of unprepared food, such as those purchased from a grocery store. WIC narrows spending down to specific foods, such as milk, whole grains, cheese, juice and fresh produce. WIC also provides special foods for infants after the baby is born. Applicants in need of nutritional assistance are allowed to be on both programs at the same time, and if the applicant qualifies for SNAP, she's an in for WIC.
State Disability Income
Some states don't pull the plug after helping unemployed expectant mothers with healthcare and nutrition. If the expectant mother lives in a state that requires employees to contribute to a disability insurance fund, she may be entitled to disability income for a period before and/or after she gives birth. As of publication, states that offer this type of assistance include California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.
Many, but not all of the benefits available to unemployed pregnant women are dependent on household income. If a future mom is married or living with her partner and that person is employed, that income just might be counted when eligibility for these benefits is determined. Each program has different household income limits, so even if the mother doesn't qualify for a particular benefit, she might still qualify for another.
With a background in taxation and financial consulting, Alia Nikolakopulos has over a decade of experience resolving tax and finance issues. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and has been a writer for these topics since 2010. Nikolakopulos is pursuing Bachelor of Science in accounting at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.