Most women who are on maternity leave from their jobs do not get paid while they are away. For this period of time, the family may suffer financially. Public assistance for such women is often available in the form of either emergency cash or food help. Every state is different in its requirements, so, if possible, look into the type of help that is available to you before you begin your maternity leave.
Call your local department of health. If your county doesn't have its own specific health department, call your state's health department. Ask if the state offers emergency or "bridge" benefits to those on maternity leave or who are out of work for several weeks or months and not getting unemployment.
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Fill out an application for food stamps and emergency cash benefits. Getting food stamps, if you qualify, will enable to use what cash you do have for such things as paying bills and buying diapers.
Gather the birth certificates, Social Security numbers and driver's licenses (or state IDs) of everyone in your household. The state identification will only be needed for those over 18.
Locate your tax returns as well as the last two paycheck stubs for everyone who is currently employed in your home. You will also need to find household bills such as your electric bill, rental agreement or mortgage payment, water bill, car payment and any other monthly bills you have. You will need to show your income and expenses. It will be important to show the amount of income you are losing during your maternity leave.
Find your last bank statements. The agency you apply with will want to know how much you have in savings and checking as well as any investments you might have.
Submit your application. You may have to visit the agency office in person and be interviewed. If this is difficult for you, ask if you can be interviewed over the phone.