6 Ways Victims Of Domestic Violence Can Access Financial Support
Are you or a loved one trapped in an abusive relationship because you don’t see a way to financially support yourself should you leave? Are you asking yourself questions like…
How can I afford to rent an apartment? How can I afford to feed my kids? How can I create a new life if I can’t pay for it?
Abusers often use tactics of manipulative control over their victim’s finances (aka financial abuse) as a way to keep their victim isolated and fearful of leaving. Abusers may cut off access to joint bank accounts, ruin the victim’s credit, and terrify their victim into giving up their job.
However, here’s what your abuser doesn’t want you to know: you can get out, you can get to safety, and you can get money to live.
As you go about putting together your safety plan for leaving and creating a safe new existence for you and your children, please know that key financial support is available to you right now. See which of the following resources could be a good match for your needs.
Sources of Financial Support for Victims of Domestic Violence
Temporary alimony and child support: As part of the restraining order process, or as a separate request that is sent to the courts, you can get temporary alimony to pay for things like rent and utility bills. You can also get temporary child support to provide your children. There is a section on the restraining order application that asks if you need these things, or you can file separately with the courts.
Court-ordered access to bank accounts and credit cards: Was your abuser taking your paycheck from you and depositing it in an account you were prohibited from accessing? Do you have known joint bank and credit card accounts, but your ATM and credit cards were kept from you? You can file in the courts for access to what is rightfully yours. Tip: Your employer may be able to provide you with banking information showing where your paycheck was cashed. If possible, gather other records, including old bank statements. A judge can re-establish your access to this money or provide other remedies. You can speak confidentially with a family law attorney for free to learn your best path forward.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): In New Jersey, this federal assistance program is called Work First NJ. It provides monthly cash, short-term housing support, child care, job search and readiness for pregnant women and adults responsible for children under the age of 19. Income restrictions apply and the adult must be under or unemployed.
Section 8 Low Income Housing: As outlined in the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 2013, victims may be able to access emergency subsidized housing, regardless of gender. If you already live in Section 8 subsidized housing in New Jersey, the VAWA also provides protections against eviction if you have a difficult time paying rent as a result of the abuse. Many domestic violence agencies and shelters can help victims find out their eligibility for a housing voucher.
Help with buying food: New Jersey’s SNAP (Supplemental Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is the state’s “food stamp” program that provides help to pay for food at supermarkets, farmers markets and other approved stores. Emergency SNAP benefits are available with no fixed address needed in order to qualify.
Help with health insurance: If you are having trouble obtaining health insurance or lack the ability to pay for it, the NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid program may be able help pay for medical bills, doctor visits and prescriptions for certain low income individuals or families.
To check eligibility and apply online for SNAP, Work First NJ and NJ Family Care/Medicaid, visit NJHelps.org.
More FREE resources on how to get help:
WLG Recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month With FREE Legal Resources
Our attorneys can help you with restraining orders, temporary spousal support and child support, and obtaining other forms of court-ordered support. You can get out. You can live well with your children and you can stay safe. Call us for a free confidential consultation with an attorney: (888) 888-0919.