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Lost my job and I don't understand the benefits system?

(17 Posts)
borninastorm Mon 01-Jun-15 18:03:08

I have today lost my part-time job. I got 'let go'.

I'm the sole breadwinner as my partner is a full-time mature university student.

I've no idea what we'll be entitled from the benefits system and I can't find anyone to phone up and ask it's all online.

I've tried using the benefit calculator on Entitled To but it says the figures quoted will be inaccurate as they can't calculate correctly when dealing with a full-time student in receipt of a student loan.

To prevent drip feeding - We have two children under 16. I had a decent paid part-time 24 hours a week job and received top up working benefits including working and child tax credits and housing benefit. My partner gets a student loan that includes a tuition fees, maintenance loan and maintenance grant - the maintenance grant and loan total around £6,000.

Can anyone help me get my head around what we can claim while I look for another job?

And also does anyone know if the working tax credit rules apply for couples when one is a student - will I need to find a job working at least 24 hours cos all the jobs I can find are for less than that?

butterfly133 Mon 01-Jun-15 19:45:32

Sorry to hear that. I don't know the answer but thought a reply would help this get the attention it needs. Other than that, I should say I had a friend in a complicated situation, single parent, let go from job and doing temp jobs. She said the benefits office were really good and helpful so I'd suggest getting there as soon as possible and letting them give you the info. Good luck, hope you find work soon.

QueefOfTheDamned Mon 01-Jun-15 19:49:26

Your partner should be able to access money and benefits advice through his place of study.

LIZS Mon 01-Jun-15 19:51:54

If you were "let go" presumably you were paid in lieu of notice. I think you'd need to make a joint claim.

emilyharrymum Mon 01-Jun-15 19:55:11

You aren't entitled to working tax unless one or both of you is working 24hrs.However you are entitled to full child tax credits, child benefit and also free school meals. I think you will also be able to sign on in your name, a for partners of students. This may qualify you for housing benefit. Your partners loans and bursary are completely discounted for tax credits.

emilyharrymum Mon 01-Jun-15 19:56:03

Jsa not isa

OrangeVase Mon 01-Jun-15 22:03:44

This is the link to the CAB pages. if in doubt ring them - they know their way around the system and will be able to guide you.

I am sorry to hear about your situation. Good luck OP

Aermingers Mon 01-Jun-15 22:06:37

If it makes you feel any better, the same thing happened to me recently and I'm starting a new one before my notice has even run out for same hours, a bit more money. Seems to be quite a bit about.

borninastorm Mon 01-Jun-15 22:44:38

Thank you everyone for you kind words and advice.

Tomorrow morning I will contact CAB and also the benefits agency and see what's available for us.

WickedCrip Mon 01-Jun-15 22:50:43

When you contact CAB have details of your income for this year and last year (for both you and partner), rent or mortgage and council tax. Another place to look is

WhyCantIuseTheNameIWant Mon 01-Jun-15 22:53:07

I am not sure if things have changed, but we were in a similar situation about 7 years ago.
We had to go and see "student finance" ( I think they have now got a new name). They were the people who issued the student loans.
Ex bf was the breadwinner. I work 20 hours. Ds was about 3? In nursery while I worked.
We got loans for tuition fees but we also had a few grants, as bf had me and ds as dependants.
I would definatly go and chat with the CAB. They are really helpful. Sometimes hard to get hold of, but good when you get to them.
Also, if you can get to a job centre plus (I think), and get an appointment with a benefits advisor. This will probably take more time to arrange, but be more help in the long run.
Good luck.

laundryelf Tue 02-Jun-15 07:25:14

I would advise getting to the job centre as soon as possible as they do not back date your claim or at least they didn't 3 years ago when I lost my job.

foreverton Tue 02-Jun-15 07:33:06

Op, sorry to hear of your situation. Are you with a credit union? Only asking because they usually have their own version of the CAB which will probably be quicker to access.

Also, inform HB/CT of your change in circumstances, as well as Tax credits.
Benefits seem to be applied for over the phone now so there is a chance you could get all of your questions answered today, good lucksmile

sashh Tue 02-Jun-15 08:40:24

You need to go to citizen's advice, the rules keep changing.

You may (would under old rules) be just as well off. You claim as a a couple but in your name, the student loan used to be disregarded in full, you will get some money for yourself and the children and may get some for your partner.

HB should continue and CT benefit should also continue.

Agree with claim ASAP and start your claim on the day after you last worked.

Roomba Tue 02-Jun-15 10:25:24

Unless Universal Credit has been brought in in your area (in which case I have no idea, sorry...)

You should be able to claim Contribution Based Jobseekers Allowance for six months. After that time, if you are still looking for work (hope not, fingers crossed for you), it will switch to Income Based JSA (which you need to fill another form in for - no one will tell you this and you'll wonder why your JSA has just stopped IME). Income Based JSA will take your partner's income into account, so any grant will be factored and you'll be unlikely to get anything much.

You can claim CTC as normal, though you need to notify them that your work has stopped. You will lose the WTC but your CTC may well go up a lot to compensate for this anyway.

If you've worked in a particular profession for a long time, you may be able to restrict yourself to only look for that type/similar work for the first few weeks. It depends on the discretion of your advisor and how likely they feel you are to get more work of that nature within the next few weeks really. I you are told that you need to do any work, for any wage, at any time, don't argue the toss over it as it is purely hypothetical. If you are applying for sufficient suitable jobs, they won't be trying to force you to work night shifts for min wage, especially if you have children to care for. Do make it known about any childcare responsibilities and health issues you have to work around though, as this will help them find you the most suitable jobs to apply for.

Most importantly, you need to claim NOW. You can't backdate claims for anything these days, so get on the phone right now and get the ball rolling (or do it online - think that's the preferred way these days plus you then have a record of your claim). As soon as you've started the claim process other doors open too such as access to 'crisis loan' type loans from local councils, charities, food banks etc. i you desperately need it whilt waiting for money.

Roomba Tue 02-Jun-15 10:31:53

Oh, also I think it unlikely that you will get WTC if your partner is a student. I once, in my previous jobcentre job, rang HMRC to see whether this was possible, and they said no, as the student wasn't receiving taxable income.

They also said this applied to Apprentices, which surprised me, as my Apprentice in question was being paid a wage each week and worked 30 hours. But as it came in under the taxable threshold, they said NOPE, no WTC. The advisor he had spoken to a day before said he should get WTC. I asked for a manager to double check for me -she did and said that the second advisor and she were correct unfortunately.

borninastorm Tue 02-Jun-15 21:54:56

I'm so glad I turned to mumsnet, always get such good advice here. Had a meeting at work today to finalise all the details. So tomorrow I'll be making all my phone calls and registering for JSA.

It's all a minefield and really scary, but I feel as though I can face it now.

Thank you all.

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