HE and benefits

(7 Posts)
NettleTea Mon 17-Dec-12 23:07:52

This might be a really stupid question. I am a single mum, and self employed. I am seriously considering HE DS if things don't improve, and I am wondering about the practicalities of it all. At the moment I am fortunate enough to work in a field that is fulfilling but doesn't pay too well yet- tax credits and the like keep me afloat. I also work in an area where DS would be able to come with me the majority of the time, or stay with his grandmother nearby. I am concerned about the changes in universal credit and the thoughts that self employment is needing to earn a certain amount or you get sent to seek other employment. My elder DD receives DLA and I also get carers allowance for her, so I believe that I may be exempt from being sent off to work ft, but I don't know. What happens if you are HE? And a single parent - how does that work financially? I am assuming the Job centre don't regard HE as a job? Can't they refuse you benefits if you are not working (I am, and always have, but not earning a huge amount from self employment) or how can you HE without a partners wage coming in?

Saracen Tue 18-Dec-12 20:35:51

Hi NettleTea, I'm not in the same situation as you but I've heard it discussed on HE email lists. Whether you home ed is not directly relevant to benefits. You're right, HE is not considered a job nor is it like being a carer to a disabled person, so it doesn't give you any exemption from the requirement to seek paid work. You will be treated the same as other single parents who don't HE. The obvious practical difference is that they might make use of the free childcare which state school represents, whereas you won't.

If and when you find a job or self employment where you would need childcare to take the job up, you can consider the usual options such as a childminder or afterschool club, and you are likely to qualify for help towards the cost. If you can demonstrate that there is no suitable affordable childcare available then you won't be made to take up the job. Although in practice working parents often do use school as childcare, this is not supposed to be the primary function of school. So you cannot be told to use school as childcare if you have chosen to educate your child elsewhere.

Single parents are not required to seek full-time work regardless of whether their children are at school, are they? Isn't it something like 16 or 18 hours a week? In practical terms you will find that home ed is so efficient that working that number of hours doesn't affect your ability to educate your child.

Here's a forum you might like to join if you want to talk more about the practicalities of HE as a single parent. I am sure people there will be able to share their experiences of working while HEing as a single parent. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EO-SingleParent/

morethanpotatoprints Tue 18-Dec-12 22:53:39

Hi NettleTea.

Have only just seen your post as dh is self employed and we currently get TC/WTC. As far as I'm aware the same set of conditions apply to those working for an employer or self employed.
I did read about carers being exempt from needing to find full time work. Also the rules are different for single parents depending how old your dc are. I believe under 13 you are not required.
There is also controversey concerning hours worked and wage. I also read that if your wage for the hours you work ( say 26) was equal to or more than the minimum wage if you worked full time, then you are also not expected to seek more hours.

The info I read were from posts and links on here, so may be worth looking through the archives, I wouldn't worry too much as you seem to be exempt on possibly 2 accounts at least.

NettleTea Tue 18-Dec-12 23:32:51

Thanks guys, will have a look at that yahoo group and a search around here and see what I can find out. I had to speak to the teacher today as my yr2 DS has had yr5&6 boys pushing him over and calling him names sad he is such a sweet little boy, really sensitive and caring, and loves learning, reading, finding out. I am finding it difficult between a balance of him learning to stand up for himself a bit (though would say I would rather that people werent mean and he does speak out if he sees other people being treated unfairly too) and him losing that sensitivity that we dont see so much in many boys.

julienoshoes Wed 19-Dec-12 10:13:41

Fiona has some info here that may be useful

FionaJNicholson Wed 19-Dec-12 20:30:52

recommend you join this list where it is being discussed

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EO-SingleParent/

Universal Credit will bring substantial changes for the self-employed as the Government envisages a Minimum Income Floor, which will apply after the first or "trial year" of self-employment (known as "the start-up period." Regulations on the Minimum Income Floor and the Start-up Year were published on December 10th 2012. Lone parents already on benefits whose circumstances change after October 2013 will be invited to claim Universal Credit and will not be eligible for older benefits. For lone parents whose circumstances remain the same, the change will start to take effect from May 2014 to 2017 as existing claimants are migrated on to Universal Credit. The start-up period (exemption from assumed Minimum Income Floor and job-search requirements) relates to the first year of a new business, which must have begun trading in the 12 months preceding the claim for Universal Credit. (The controlled start in Greater Manchester and Cheshire will not apply to self-employed claimants)

NettleTea Thu 20-Dec-12 14:28:20

thanks, looks awful..... have joined the yahoo group

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