Benefits help please!

(30 Posts)
Outnumbrd Fri 03-Jan-14 22:35:51

I've just found out I have a place to do Postgrad at a very good college. It means a move to London but I'm a single mum with 4 children. Can anyone advise about Tax Credits, income support, housing benefit and whether I'd be entitled to these. Also I am hoping to swap my council house as I couldn't afford to rent privately. However if I can't get a swap how much HB would I get in London for a 3/4 bed house rented privately?
I currently work so changing from a wage to student is a bit daunting I will be doing some self employed teaching once I'm established and settled though.
Thanks in advance!

sunshine401 Fri 03-Jan-14 22:39:05

Hi you will still get child tax/benefit. You will not get income support or housing though you will have tp apply for student finance

Outnumbrd Fri 03-Jan-14 22:39:14

Forgot to ask, as a student (postgrad) can I get help with childcare from tax credits?

sunshine401 Fri 03-Jan-14 22:40:32

If you work 16 hrs plus then you can claim working tax smile

Outnumbrd Fri 03-Jan-14 22:40:36

Really? Is student finance a lone? Is that from the college? Thanks for replying

Ragusa Fri 03-Jan-14 22:41:03

What type of course is it? This may have a bearing on what you will get.

sunshine401 Fri 03-Jan-14 22:41:40

You can yes but you are better getting childcare costs through student finance

sunshine401 Fri 03-Jan-14 22:42:51

Yes if you are postgraduate you will have to apply for student finance "loans/grants"

You can get housing benefit if you are a lone parent and a student.

sunshine401 Fri 03-Jan-14 22:45:19

Not when you are entitled to student finance. smile

Only if your student finance gives you a high income. If you are still low income (which on the usual loans you will be) you can still receive benefits. It's right there on the government websites.

Outnumbrd Fri 03-Jan-14 22:49:21

Oh gosh it's so confusing prob more confusing than the course!! It's a postgrad at music college so won't attract government funding/grants I don't think. So should I go for HB or student finance?

SoonToBeSix Fri 03-Jan-14 22:50:46

I had hb and student finance

Outnumbrd Fri 03-Jan-14 22:51:44

Thanks for your replies I'll google student finance now smile

Ragusa Fri 03-Jan-14 22:52:02

I would go to a CAB to see if they can help. No student finance generally for postgrad courses unless they are medicine, social work, teachibg and a few others sad sorry.

thepobblewhohasnotoes Fri 03-Jan-14 22:53:44

You might well be able to get help with housing if you're a single parent. You can for undergrad, IIRC. I've no idea for post-grad.

What I do know is that it's hard tp get good advice about what you're entitled to as a student. No point in asking the DWP or job centre, they won't give that kind of advice. The "turn2us" benefits calculators don't work for srudents either. Throw into the mix that you're a parent-student and that complicates things further. Student Finance England phone line staff have no clue about student patents. Last year for example, I was told on three separate occasions that I wasn't e titled to the parent learning grant as my partner had claimed it. That was false, we were both eligible to claim, I only found that out after speaking to my uni.

The best place IME to get good advice about student finance is from your uni. They will have a "student services" team (or similar) dedicated to helping support students through uni, and should have advisors there who will be up to date with what's available.

Outnumbrd Fri 03-Jan-14 22:54:16

A bit of a different thing now... Does anyone think I'm being selfish? I have a small amount of savings which will now go on this course, part of me thinks I should be saving this to spend on my kids future Uni/lives etc..

thepobblewhohasnotoes Fri 03-Jan-14 22:56:44

Cross posts!

You're right, it is confusing. But there will be someone at your uni who's job it is to make sense of it. They can help you. If your uni is like mine, you don't need to have started the course to make contact with the student support people, just call and ask to speak to them.

Outnumbrd Fri 03-Jan-14 22:57:01

Ragusa, I thought so!

Outnumbrd Fri 03-Jan-14 22:58:37

Thanks I'll contact them next week then, I just don't want to spell my life and circumstances out to them if that makes sense!

thepobblewhohasnotoes Fri 03-Jan-14 22:58:58

Not selfish at all! You are using this money to invest in hot family's future by making yourself more employable.

thepobblewhohasnotoes Fri 03-Jan-14 23:01:02

If you ask to speak to whoever deals with the money side for students, it should be totally confidential, it won't be your course leader or a lecturer or anyone like that.

Ragusa Fri 03-Jan-14 23:01:44

Of course you're not being selfish. Unless you've got zillions stashed away then sad to say your savings aren't going to make much of a dent on your DCs's future HE costs anyway. That's the world we live in now sad Regardless of that, you are prefectly justified in following your dreams - now that's an important life lesson to teach your kids.

Seriously, Citizen's Advice will be well placed to give you guidance - their advisors are well-trained. And the uni advice service, as others have suggested. Benefits and students is a minefield area, so definitely worth seeking specialist advice.

Outnumbrd Fri 03-Jan-14 23:03:10

Well I am in an ok but more boring career now which I'm giving up to follow my heart so I guess that's where the guilt lies! It's such a fantastic opportunity though I'm amazed I was offered a place so now have to go for it!

thepobblewhohasnotoes Fri 03-Jan-14 23:04:32

One of the first things you should find out is if you're eligible for the childcare grant. You can get 80% of fees paid (up to a weekly cap, I forget what). It made doing uni possible for me.

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