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Confused about benefits I can claim for

(86 Posts)

Hi all,

I hope you don't mind me asking, I'm a little lost and would appreciate some advice.

I'm a lone parent with a 4 month old. I am on maternity leave from my employer who I have been with for two years. My annual salary is £28,400. I did work 37.5 hours a week prior to ML.

I will not be returning to work as my job was London based and I live too far away to sensibly commute.

I have not yet handed in my notice.

As of end of march my only income is SMP. Then as of end August SMP ends and I receive nothing.

I am currently waiting to hear if I qualify for housing benefit and council tax benefit.

Apart from child benefit, please could you tell me what I might be entitled to.

Someone has mentioned that I qualify for income support. Is this true?

Do I qualify for anything else? What are child tax credits?

Any advice really would be appreciated.

Many thanks for everything,

E x

WhoWhatWhereWhen Mon 01-Apr-13 22:50:59
glitch Mon 01-Apr-13 22:53:34

I think you will be able to.claim for income support and child tax credits. You have to apply for these from 2 different sources (I wrongly assumed it was all paid via the same office).

Kormachameleon Mon 01-Apr-13 22:55:45

You can claim benefits simply because you don't want to do your job anymore ? Or it's a bit far to travel ?


Roseformeplease Mon 01-Apr-13 22:58:18

Surely you can't just choose to give up work and plan for benefits? You will need to work to support your child / family. Not sure than the rest of us should be working to support your lifestyle choice.

expatinscotland Mon 01-Apr-13 23:00:43

Everything is changing, you know. I would seriously reconsider not working.

Katz Mon 01-Apr-13 23:01:39

Do you need to go back to work? You mention that you start on SMP at the beginning of April suggesting that your on enhanced mat pay at the moment. I know for my job I had to go back for 4 months after to keep the enhancement.

Where are you currently living, would it be possible to move closer to be able to commute? That's a decent wage you'd be giving up. Not sure what level tax credits kick in but surely you'd be better off working.

WhoWhatWhereWhen Mon 01-Apr-13 23:03:57

OP, as you have a child under 5 you will be able to get income support when your SMP ends.

And, I'm more than happy to support your choice to look after your child yourself rather than being away for 12 hours a day and paying for childcare, hopefully when you're ready you can find work nearer home.

Good luck

janey223 Mon 01-Apr-13 23:04:13

Could you work reduced hours/go part time? Or look for something closer in the mean time?

Do you have family to help with childcare?

expatinscotland Mon 01-Apr-13 23:06:01

Also, check your contract. You may have to return to work for a specified length of time or pay the enhanced pay back. Again, it's not a good idea in this economy and under this government to put yourself at the mercy of the state/benefits.

glitch Mon 01-Apr-13 23:07:05

I believe you can claim of you are a lone parent with a child under 5.
Juggling full time work, childcare, keeping a house going as a lone parent is not a straight forward matter. It is easy to judge before being in that situation.

expatinscotland Mon 01-Apr-13 23:07:46

Nothing to do with judging, but seriously, is this a good idea?

glitch Mon 01-Apr-13 23:09:02

Sadly it is sometimes the only practical solution.

janey223 Mon 01-Apr-13 23:09:56

And you'll qualify for income support, child tax credit, child benefit, council tax benefit and local housing allowance.

Btw wasnt having a go, accidentally posted too early! I don't intend to get a job (lost job at 5m pregnant) until my DS starts nursery.

Sorry to all who think they're supporting my lifestyle choice to be a single mum with a baby too but like the OP I've paid my taxes and will again in a couple of years, my job right now like hers is my LO. Working is very expensive and the very little I'd be better off is not worth losing precious time when they're so young.

expatinscotland Mon 01-Apr-13 23:14:07

'Sadly it is sometimes the only practical solution. '

Is it? So you're out for years unemployed and then you try to go back in in a triple dip recession or worse? And seriously, I would not put anything past this government. OP, they don't think it should be an option to just jack in your job because you have a baby. They will roll out the Universal Credit in October and they will steadily reduce the age at which your child needs to be, and it won't stay 5.

expatinscotland Mon 01-Apr-13 23:17:35

I would struggle like hell to find another solution, tbh. Be aware of the LHA caps in your area, too, if you are in private rented housing.

hwjm1945 Mon 01-Apr-13 23:23:48

I am annoyed to see OP is in effect deciding to live off me as it would be far for her to travel to work.OP where is the child's father? Will he contribute? Can you find something pt and or closer? Also you get v v little in benefits so you would be looking at grinding poverty

mrssmartarse Mon 01-Apr-13 23:26:07

Well first of congrats on you Lo thanks

I don't really know what benefits you'd get, but sod all the judgey pants on this post! Only you know what's best for you!
Get your butt to citizens advice and I'm sure they will help you out! Or Mathews money matters is a great site smile x

expatinscotland Mon 01-Apr-13 23:27:54

It is not judgy to suggest, given the agenda of this government, leaving a decent job voluntarily might not be a good idea at all, and, depending on your living arrangements, may make you, and your child, more likely to end up homeless.

TheSecondComing Mon 01-Apr-13 23:28:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

expatinscotland Mon 01-Apr-13 23:28:47

'Get your butt to citizens advice and I'm sure they will help you out!'

Be prepared to wait! Their funding was hacked today.

TheDetective Mon 01-Apr-13 23:31:48

Bloody hell. Some judgemental bastards in here. hmm

OP. I hear you on it being impractical to go back to work as a single parent with a young baby. I worked full time shifts as a single mum, and this was only possible thanks to my mum. My relationship with my son is not as strong as it was prior to this, thanks to him being bought up between me, my ex and my mum. If I had my time again, I'd still have to do the same - but wish desperately I didn't have to.

If you don't have family support, and live a long distance away then it won't be impractical, it will be impossible. Nurseries/childminders aren't open 24/7.

Moving house is very expensive on a very limited budget, I'd have found this impossible. All very well saying just move, but where do you find the money for rent and bond in advance, or if mortgaged - the money to sell, solicitors costs, stamp duty blah blah blah. Not to mention the actual removal costs.

Some people clearly aren't living in the real world.

OP, I'd of advised you to try but when I tried to use their calculator at the weekend it wasn't working.

Perhaps try CAB for advice? You may need to make an appointment.

PeneloPeePitstop Mon 01-Apr-13 23:33:37

On that salary I'd not go on benefits.
Income support is £62 a week. You'd get housing benefit for a 1 bed property for a baby, but only on the bottom 30% of rents in your area.

Tax credits for one child is not a lot really. Plus about £17 a week child benefit.

Oh, and you have to go to work when child is 5. Which if you leave the workplace now you won't go back o a £28k job.

TheSecondComing Mon 01-Apr-13 23:36:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

janey223 Mon 01-Apr-13 23:37:50

So what if she's living off 'you' she's paid her taxes off her 28k, the benefits system is supposed to help when you need it. Working full time, spending hours travelling and going home to put your LO to bed if they're not already there when you get home sounds a dream.

The trouble OP is that you might struggle to find a decent job once you do return so if you can go part time it might be a better solution, and they're extending who can apply for nursery at 2yo for 15.5hours so you may qualify so after a year your childcare costs would go down significantly.

Lj8893 Mon 01-Apr-13 23:39:30

I would suggest finding a part time job closer to home. You will get help to supplement you income and have the safety net of a job meaning when you are ready to work full time again you will have a continuous cv.

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 01-Apr-13 23:39:41

And a thread this weekend says nobody chooses a life on benefits!

Given the OP lives at home still with parents, isnt Mary so presume a father is involved its not that much tomactually suggest she contines to work rather than quit and live off other tax payers as she doesnt fancy travelling.

I hope UC stops this kind of behaviour and people cant claim if they voluntary leave work. God forbid the OP supports the child she chose to bring onto the world. In five years time with no experience its likely no employer will pick her from all the other candidates.

PeneloPeePitstop Mon 01-Apr-13 23:45:44

I'm on benefits. I'm a carer, three disabled kids.
I don't really have choices. In the OP's situation I'd try and ind a solution to avoid the benefits system ie work nearer home perhaps.

Currently the OP has a strong position which she may not have in future if she takes the benefits path. I m OT posting from a judgmental viewpoint at all.

expatinscotland Mon 01-Apr-13 23:46:45

'Moving house is very expensive on a very limited budget, I'd have found this impossible. All very well saying just move, but where do you find the money for rent and bond in advance, or if mortgaged - the money to sell, solicitors costs, stamp duty blah blah blah. Not to mention the actual removal costs.'

How is it being a judgy bastard after this first raft of cuts to welfare have come in just today? Do you honestly think they're done?

Entirely possible to move depending on the setting you're in, we'd need to know more, especially if you are in a HA property and willing to shift to a 1-bed or vice versa.

PeneloPeePitstop Mon 01-Apr-13 23:46:57

And I wish I could block HappyMumOfOne's posts. She ruins so many threads for me with her bigotry, any chance of that MNHQ?

Lj8893 Mon 01-Apr-13 23:51:55

Happymum...... Where does it say the OP lives with her parents?!

janey223 Mon 01-Apr-13 23:54:15

You're not entitled to a get a 2 bed until LO is 2 via social housing but if private renting LHA does cover a 2 bedroom place, your council website should have the rates.

TheSecondComing Mon 01-Apr-13 23:55:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

frazzled74 Mon 01-Apr-13 23:59:38

To be fair, the OP isnt choosing to live off benefits, sometimes it just isnt practical or possible to work. OP is there any way that you can return on part time hours? this would be better career wise for the future and you should benefit financially even if only a very small amount.It may be possible to find work nearer to home if you are in employment! If you worked part time you should still be able to claim tax credits and possibly housing and council tax benefit.Good luck with whatever you decide.

CandlestickOlder Tue 02-Apr-13 01:21:45

I think you'll really regret quitting your job OP. keep it and look for something closer to home. Much easier to get a job when you are in one.

And benefits will be affected by the fact you will have jacked in a job voluntarily.

Toasttoppers Tue 02-Apr-13 09:35:55

I think with the present governments attitude if you can remain in your job then do so.

Benefits legislation is always changing and I don't think there will be some huge repeal if/ when Labour get back.

expatinscotland Tue 02-Apr-13 09:43:51

This man thinks £71/week JSA is too generous, OP, and plans to act on it, and you want to voluntarily jack in a £28K/annum job? Seriously, that is madness and possibly a real threat to your ability to feed that child in the future. A

expatinscotland Tue 02-Apr-13 09:46:30
LIZS Tue 02-Apr-13 09:52:18

ATM it would be IS but by the summer we'll be in the midst of Universal Credits and very unlikely you'll get more than a basic income in benefits. Do you have savings, rent/own home ? You'd be better off finding something part time (at least 16 hours a week) locally to go to after summer or negotiating working from home with perhaps one or two office days a week.

Rainbowinthesky Tue 02-Apr-13 09:55:14

(Hmm) there are some very sensible posts here so not sure why people are jumping on them. Expat is quite right. There is also a good chance your 28 will increase over the years not to mention your pension. Lots of people work initially for very little or no profit with a baby but reap the benefits as the years go by as their wage increases and childcare descreases. You would be very short sighted to give up a well paid job especially now you have a dependent.

Lj8893 Tue 02-Apr-13 11:09:30

The OP has stated it is too long a commute for her to stay in her current job, so as ideal as it would be to stay in her £28k job she has already said it is not possible!

However I think it is very wise advice to suggest she searches for a similar position closer to home and not just rely on benefits. Not only for the financial security but for the career also. Being out of work for any period of time, long or short, reduces anybody's chance of gaining suitable employment when the time comes.

expatinscotland Tue 02-Apr-13 11:12:49

'The OP has stated it is too long a commute for her to stay in her current job, so as ideal as it would be to stay in her £28k job she has already said it is not possible!'

Then she really needs to consider whatever option there is to move closer and/or getting another job closer in because throwing oneself on the mercy of the state under this government unless there is truly no alternative is utter madness. They are not considering freezing or cutting the NMW. Jacking in a job like that when, make no bones about it, this government will ensure you work to feed your child or face a very harsh life, is not sensible in the long-term.

Lj8893 Tue 02-Apr-13 11:15:02

That's pretty much what I just said, although not in as much depth as you. No need to attack!

expatinscotland Tue 02-Apr-13 11:15:55

Stating the truth is not an attack.

Lj8893 Tue 02-Apr-13 11:21:29

Yes, but I had already said in my post that the OP should consider finding a similar job closer to home rather than relying on benefits!!! Granted you said it in much more detail than I but there was no need to quote half of my post.

expatinscotland Tue 02-Apr-13 11:23:41

Whatever, L, this isn't about you. Or me, for that matter.

Very foolish advice, IMO, all this, 'Yes, jack it in, luv yer baba' nonsense with a government hell bent on making things very hard for those in low-paid work, much less benefits.

Lj8893 Tue 02-Apr-13 11:28:24

I completely agree with you, it is crazy to jack in a well paid job, but also agree that it isn't even slightly ideal to be a lone parent working full time with a long commute on top and therefore not spending any time with your baby. But the answer to that isn't to just jack in work full stop, but to look for alternate options weather that be a job closer to home or moving closer to the current job.

redskyatnight Tue 02-Apr-13 12:58:10

OP - Is there any chance you'd be able to go back to work part time? Or maybe work some days from home? If you've only got to do the commute a couple of days a week maybe it would be more doable?

A bit of a rant I'm afraid...

Thank you for all your advice and opinions. I do appreciate your support and understanding.

Luckily I do not have to pay back any additional maternity pay. smile
My employer doesn't do part time hours. They turn down all requests for returning mothers. I work for a huge French it company who undertake the dwp assessments to see if people are fit to work. They are as awful to their staff as those they assess. My boss was a bit of a git so I needed to leave anyway.

To those who criticised me, please can I give you some more info before you judge me so very quickly.

I receive the salary I do after 9 years with the same employer and yearly pay rises. Those pay rises ended when I was made redundant in 2010. I then took my current job which at the time was ten miles from home. My employer was then acquired by another bigger company and we were all moved to reading, an hours drive away. A year ago I was moved to London so I did not choose to work in London. It was there or no job. It would take me over two hours to get to work from here. My boss would not let me work from home when I had severe spd so do not expect him to let me change my hours, not that this would help me anyway. They also will not be giving me a pay rise any time soon as I earn more than my peers due to me coming from another company. (They have told me this).

If I moved closer to work and was on my full salary I don't think I would qualify for housing benefit would I? Without housing benefit I don't know how I could afford all the rent and all the bills in London. Plus I don't want to be cut off from everyone I know.

As for my ex, he was emotionally and physically abusive and his behaviour got worse when I was pregnant. I finally got the strength to leave him after posting on here - everyone told me to leave him. He has just been made redundant so I have not been receiving anything through the CSA from him. He already has two children with his ex wife so the CSA contribution is £47 a week. For info the CSA has only just been set up and isn't due to start until 6th April.

With regards to keeping my current job and commuting -
My monthly take home was around 1775
Travel from here to London is 523 a month.
My rent is 825 for a really small two bed in a run down house (it's the cheapest thing I could find in my town and I need cheap due to the lha limits).
So that leaves me with just over £400 to pay all my bills (council tax is £100 a month alone), buy food, nappies, milk, parking at the station, run a car (I'm in a rural location so need a car) etc etc.

I don't know how I'd pay for nursery fees on top!

I have no family to ask to help with child care as mum isn't mobile enough to look after my ds and has severe depression. My aunt lives in Devon and uncle in Canada.
Moving closer to work isn't feasible as I need to be close to mum and ailing grand parents.

And before someone says I shouldn't have had my ds if I couldn't afford him, I could afford him before my ex went all crazy on me and flipped out.

As soon as he starts at school I will of course seek full time employment. I trained as a Montessori nursery teacher and would love to go back to that one day. I hate my current job as a pa so a career change is very welcome. I am going to look into becoming a virtual pa which I can do from home. If not this, I'll find something else part time. I'm also considering going back to uni at some point so I can do something more worthwhile career wise.

I think bringing up a child is the most important job in the world and I didn't go though everything to dump my ds
on someone who couldn't care less about him and is only doing so for a wage. I know that not all nursery workers are like this, but some are. I know as I've worked with them.

For those who are offended, ask yourselves, if the shoe was on the other foot, if you were me, what would you do? Stay at home and bring up your baby yourself or leave home at god knows when, get the train at 7am, get home past 8pm, collect your baby from whoever has him just in time to put them to bed? What's the point? I might as well put him up for adoption now.
If i put him in childcare i wouldn't get to hear what his first word was as no one would be paying him enough attention to notice or care. Can you honestly tell me hand on heart you would rather slog your guts out and never see your children awake than claim benefits for a few years?

I'm sorry about the rant, this has been a huge decision for me. I'm not a scummy benefit scrounger, just at the moment it's the only thing that makes sense. Even the lady at the citizens advice told me it was my best option.

The thing is, WRT putting your DS in childcare, not hearing his first word etc etc, how many parents do you think want to do that?

We did it to pay the bills.

And expat is spot on. No one is accusing you of being a "scrounger" but the whole welfare system is changing now.

LIZS Tue 02-Apr-13 14:13:59

Sorry but I still doubt you will do more than scrape by on benefits. Could you not find a way of using your Montessori training locally sooner - lots of childcare roles can be pt and are more flexible than commuting. If you start looking now you may find something for September.

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 14:19:38

I think you misunderstand.
I'm certainly not having a go, I claim myself and certainly don't perceive you to be 'scummy' in any way.

From inside the benefits system myself I would urge that you don't do it. If you think you have financial worries now they'll only worsen on benefits.

Finding new employment now when your employment history is recent is far easier than in five years when under income support rules you will be compelled to go on JSA and actively seek employment.

It's just a view. In work you'd get tax credits and possibly help with childcare costs.

Benefits are not going to meet your living costs long term.

expatinscotland Tue 02-Apr-13 15:58:10

'Can you honestly tell me hand on heart you would rather slog your guts out and never see your children awake than claim benefits for a few years?'

Hand on heart, I would look at any way, and I do many any way, to keep from having to go on full benefits in this government. You may very very very well find yourself in truly desperate straights in less than a year because the system is being dismantled.

You need to find other work now rather than assume staying on benefits for a 'few years' is going to be an option because this government is just getting started, and no successive government is going to be able to reverse it, EVEN if it means putting that child in nursery like that until you find a better job or a more suitable job.

If your LL is private he or she may not be able to accept LHA and you will need to find another place to live, anyhow. If you are in council/HA, you may find yourself having to top up the rent. You cannot get full council tax benefit anymore and you will need to pay some of that and your water, on top of your other bills.

You have skills, you owe it to your child to find a way to put those to use to at least partially support him rather than throw yourself and him to the mercy of a state that is making it very clear this ability to go on benefits becomes very difficult for most and non-existent for many more.

RedHelenB Tue 02-Apr-13 18:50:26

I would look for 16 hours a week childcare/TA job as you will get 70% of childcare fees paid or look into childminding. I agree that choosing to go onto benefits is very risky in this current climate. Nothing is more depressing than wondering where the next meal is coming from & it doesn't sound as though you will get much support from your ex.

HappyMummyOfOne Tue 02-Apr-13 19:42:52

Its a good job that people do use childcare isnt it otherwise you quitting work and living off those tax payers wouldnt be possible.

Given the choice, would i work full time or go on benefits in your shoes? Yes, i'd work, much easier to change jobs whilst in employment to something closer or less hours than to try and find work after doing none for a few years. Employers want recent experience.

It depends on your viewpoint though, i dont believe others should pay for my choices and see welfare as a dire resort for those truly unable to support themselves. Others see it as a entitlement as they have paid a few years tax.

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 19:45:53

sounds bigoted one trick pony klaxon

Viviennemary Tue 02-Apr-13 19:46:18

Not sure you can claim benefits if you make yourself intentionally unemployed by resigning.

expatinscotland Tue 02-Apr-13 19:50:40

I don't usually agree with HappyMum, but Penelope I do agree she's right about its being easier to get another job whilst in employment already.

A very, very poor idea to go onto full benefits unless you have explored every possible option, because this government is not going to allow it.

This OP has good skills, too.

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 19:54:20

Yes, I've said that a few times.

jellybeans Tue 02-Apr-13 19:54:29

'OP, as you have a child under 5 you will be able to get income support when your SMP ends.

And, I'm more than happy to support your choice to look after your child yourself rather than being away for 12 hours a day and paying for childcare, hopefully when you're ready you can find work nearer home.'

Totally agree with WWWW.

stephrick Tue 02-Apr-13 19:55:50

keep you're foot in the door of employment, you will have to work anyway when your child is 5, if you give it up now it will be harder to find a good paid job. I gave up a good job to bring up my DC, marriage broke down and now all I seem to get are min wage jobs because the world moved on and I didn't.

expatinscotland Tue 02-Apr-13 20:06:00

'And, I'm more than happy to support your choice to look after your child yourself rather than being away for 12 hours a day and paying for childcare, hopefully when you're ready you can find work nearer home.'

Unfortunately, this government and plenty of people disagree, which could leave this OP and her child in a desperate situation that can possibly be avoided.

If, for example, the LL cannot take the LHA then she'll need to find someone who will, under the caps, for a single mum on benefits or risk eviction and homelessness.

With UC coming in, it is likely she will be much worse off as those who will be are those with no wage earner.

And I'll bet London to a brick there will soon be vouchers, an end to sitting at home till they're 5 without harsh penalties and a raft of other changes in the name of 'austerity'.

jellybeans Tue 02-Apr-13 20:08:24

Don't listen to judgements OP. Have they been in your shoes? Some WM (not all by a long way) seem to resent those who stay home. I am a SAHM (since my 2nd child, was full time with the first) and have loved every minute. I would do the same in your situation, the child comes first. I also wondered if you could train as a childminder though when you are ready-if you want to obviously. I know a few mums who have done that so they could stay home.

jellybeans Tue 02-Apr-13 20:09:16

'an end to sitting at home till they're 5 '
How many SAHM sit around at home though? I am often run off my feet!

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 20:10:16

I know there were thoughts of ending income support at 3 and having to go to work then but I don't know how far that got.

The OP choosing to go on benefits wouldn't get judgment from me but being on the rough end and seeing what is happening us behind my posts.

expatinscotland Tue 02-Apr-13 20:26:17

'an end to sitting at home till they're 5 '
How many SAHM sit around at home though? I am often run off my feet!

That is not how this government sees it, jellybeans, and whilst I don't agree it's a highly inconvenient truth that they are running things and making changes and no one is stopping them. No one will and so they will continue. This is just the start.

We are looking at a triple-dip recession, this person has good skills, is young and will need to support this child for a long time and also herself.

I think it is extremely irresponsible to advice her to completely jack in employment for a life on benefits in this economic environment under this government.

expatinscotland Tue 02-Apr-13 20:29:03

Gideon thinks benefits are too generous, he's going to cut them more, and people think it's a good idea to tell someone to jack in all employment?

He's already held them at a 1% rise, making those on them who are not earning an average of £14/week worse off, factor in the caps and UC and the fact that the rental market is getting tighter and tighter and jacking in your job for benefits is a poor idea indeed.

expatinscotland Tue 02-Apr-13 20:31:26

And that's not judgement, it's a fact - things are already changing and more changes will come in October.

If she's renting, she will need to get permission from the LL to run a childminding business from the property. But it's well worth an ask!

KateDillington Tue 02-Apr-13 20:38:01


Could you live with your mum? You are unlikely to be able to cover even your housing costs on benefits. I am living in a tiny two-bed flat and sleeping in the lounge - but even so, my local housing benefit cap would only cover 2/3 of the rent.

In your position, I would live with my mum, and try and build your life back from there. I would get part time work so that I could look after my mum - and perhaps she could look after your baby occasionally to give you a break for an hour or two?

KateDillington Tue 02-Apr-13 20:40:14

What is your local housing benefit cap? £875 sounds a lot for a two-bed in a rural area - must be over the cap?

Perhaps rent a better place with your mum?

HappyMummyOfOne Tue 02-Apr-13 20:51:31

The OP was living with her mum in Jan according to others posts and given she intended not to work is likely to have already worked out how much of the rent will be covered by HB and hopefully has told the LL so as not to risk his/her asset if their mortgage or insurance forbid HB claimants like many do.

racmun Tue 02-Apr-13 21:38:47

That's what is so wrong with the benefit system. The op can't actually afford to work and is better of in benefits- that cannot be right!!!

With regard to wanting to look after her child unfortunately that isn't actually a possibility for everyone. Lots of friends have been broken hearted at having to leave their dc's at child care and go to work to be able to look after them and pay tax etc.

I don't think it is an acceptable life choice to jack your job in and claim off the state regardless of what tax you've paid in the past just because you want to look after your child yourself. Why should other working parents subsidise you doing that when they can't afford to themselves.

Surely the point here is that there should be support for people in the OP's position whereby the get help to continue working. At least the OP would still be contributing to the economy and not another burden on the state.

TheDetective Tue 02-Apr-13 22:25:26

Where do people find childcare for all these hours they are out of the home? 7am-7pm, or even later?

Nursery - no, childminder - mostly no, and on 28K, a nanny is a definite no! You need 60 hours childcare a week! That is over £1000 a month for one child. Who can afford that on one salary?

The childcare is capped at £175 a week for one child also. IIRC.

Gay40 Tue 02-Apr-13 22:36:02

Avoid, at all costs, going on benefit. New rules are coming in all the time - ones that aren't even publicised - which will make you weep with regret later at giving up that 28k job.

jellybeans Wed 03-Apr-13 00:13:30

'I don't think it is an acceptable life choice to jack your job in and claim off the state regardless of what tax you've paid in the past just because you want to look after your child yourself. Why should other working parents subsidise you doing that when they can't afford to themselves'

OP hasn't much choice though as has been pointed out above.
Also maybe we should try progressing to a system that gives all mums/parents more choice and not just resenting those that do get to do what they want? There is nothing wrong with not wanting to leave your small baby/child for 8-10 hours a day every day. I have done it and know how it feels and I have had to work also for the money although now am SAHP.

OP could use the time at home to plan for a new career, the old job clearly isn't suitable. Nothing wrong with putting the child's needs first! I'm sure not many people choose to be left alone with a baby. Why don't you blame the absent fathers?

racmun Wed 03-Apr-13 07:40:58

If the father has been made redundant therefore not working he could presumably look after the child which would enable the OP to work without the worry of child care costs? could be an option just because he's a crap partner doesn't necessarily mean he's crap dad.

Without regarding to wanting to look after you child yourself to see every single developmental step to be perfectly frank if EVERY parent had that view there wouldn't be hardly anyone working, paying tax to keep everyone not working.

As for planning a new career etc whilst on benefits for a few years it will undoubtedly be harder to get a job then than if she looks now before her mat leave ends.

Wow there are some real bigots on here. OP may not have phrased herself very well but I believe she's just being honest. Wouldn't everyone prefer to stay at home?

She doesn't earn a great amount, has no option for flexible working it seems and has a long commute. So on top of all of that she's going to have to put her child into a nursery in London full time as that's the only way she'll fit into 8-6 hours. If anyone can tell us where a London based nursery that does full time occupancy for under £200 a month (and that may be over generous on the £400 excl. bills figure) then please tell me. I'd love to know. I'm lucky enough to have my child in one of the best nurserys around which just happens to be one of the cheapest too and that, full time, would cost me just under £1k per month. Also rents in London can be far higher so she may cut the travel costs down but its likely to go straight onto rent, still leaving her unable to fund a nursery spot.

She's getting no financial help from the dad, so there's no extra there.

She would have to pay to work. It is completely understandable that this job is no longer viable.

OP - check out the early links and try money saving expert, they're good there on what you can and can't do and all the caveats. Not that you wont get judgy people but they tend to be able to do mathematics better. If you quit I think there's a 6 month JSA sanction but it may be worth talking to an advisor as the current job isn't financially viable.

Racmun - If you would be happy leaving your child/children with someone who was physically abusive to you, then that's your choice but I wouldn't personally and I can understand why other people wouldn't. Also as he's got 3 kids to support is it not better for him to be able to find employment and provide at least something to all 3? And if she did leave baby with him, and he found employment she's still in the same boat.

BTW - I'm not saying I think she should live on benefits, but the system is there to help people when needed and should help her until she finds something more financially viable/local.

janey68 Wed 03-Apr-13 10:36:12

Sounds like you're between a rock and a hard place OP. I'm
not being unsympathetic to your plight but i agree with those who say you'd be mad to just decide to try to live on benefits until your child is school age and then assume you'll slip back into a decent job. There's a lot to think about... Not just earning capacity but pension.. It seems like a long way off, but it's important to plan because state provision is changing already and will continue to do so. You have a useless ex partner so really you need to think long term and plan your future yourself.
If a return to your old job isn't possible then I'd move heaven and earth to find alternative employment. You have skills and earning capacity which you need to build on- the Montessori teaching could be a way forwards. You say you don't want to 'dump your child with people who don't care about him'- sorry but as a WOHM that did make me chuckle, as it's so far removed from the reality... But I guess as you haven't used childcare this is just your perception at the moment. It does make me wonder though, if this is how you perceive childcare, maybe you would be looking for an excuse to leave your job anyway? If your job were nearer and the logistics more doable then presumably you still wouldnt
Want to leave your son if you hold those views?
Some posters have suggested childminding as a way forward but I really don't think with your perceptions of childcare- that it's done by people who don't care about the children- makes you a good candidate for that; no way would I leave my kids with someone who felt that way

You've got a tough road ahead whatever way you choose but in your shoes I would do everything to remain in some kind of employment. The welfare system is only going to get tougher and like others say, relying on benefits may make it harder for you to find rental property too, so it's not just about the money in your pocket but the knock on too

dotnet Wed 03-Apr-13 11:53:13

You'll probably have looked at one of the benefit advice websites by now, so I expect you know how things stand. I'm thinking you'd probably find things VERY hand-to-mouth on benefits (I'm assuming you have savings, and depending on how much you have, doors on some state benefits may be closed to you.)
It's not right, though, how this govt thinks mothers are unemployed if they are working at raising children, and how it's discouraging them from doing so.
This MUST be something to do with ministers' own elite upbringings under the indulgent eye of a subservient nanny raising them for their upper class station in life.

Gay40 Wed 03-Apr-13 13:36:14

We are never ever going to get to the point where the taxpayer funds the choice of people to stay at home until their child goes to school. And why should they, tbh, when others go to work to fund it.
Very soon the rules are going to change so that 2 years old is the cut off point for the old IS option - currently 5 years old. Very similar to JSA - imagine going on a mandatory work programme for 30 hours a week and sorting out the childcare for that because the option will be no money for up to 3 years.
I'm not saying go back to the job with the horrendous commute. But don't consider a few years on benefits as a sensible option either.

Gay40 Wed 03-Apr-13 13:38:15

It's not right, though, how this govt thinks mothers are unemployed if they are working at raising children, and how it's discouraging them from doing so.

The fact remains that they ARE unemployed in economic terms, and the government doesn't give a toss who stays at home to look after children, but it isn't prepared to pay for it out of public funds.

StormyBrid Wed 03-Apr-13 13:47:59

Child tax credits - just over £60 weekly. Child benefit - £20.30 weekly. Income Support - £71 weekly. Housing benefit - dependent on rents in your local area, but probably around the £85 mark for you. Check local government website for LHA rates. You'll qualify for the two room rate. Council tax assistance - check with your local council; you'll probably be expected to fork out a few quid a week on that one.

Very much seconding what expat says - if there is any way at all you can not give up your job, then do it. Because it's not going to be a lot to live on as things are now, and benefits are likely to be cut a hell of a lot more.

TheSecondComing Thu 04-Apr-13 17:09:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

melhm Wed 10-Apr-13 03:15:08

Hi, I'm in a similar position as OP, well not actually. I'm six weeks into maternity leave with a six week old baby and five year old, and I'm bring made redundant from a job where I worked at home, 20 hours a week to suit me and with school holiday flexibility. I'm married. I'm not wanting to be on benefits and as homeowners (well mortgaged) we don't qualify for much I expect but I've worked and paid taxes for over 20 years so ill be using the website detailed above to see what we qualify for. I won't even get redundancy pay as I've not been there long enough, having been brought in as a condition of my then boss accepting her job there. It sucks!!

ssd Wed 17-Apr-13 09:40:42

op. if you've got any sense you'll listen to expat here, she's talking reality

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