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Confused about benefits I can claim for

(86 Posts)
datedthedevil Mon 01-Apr-13 22:48:35

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

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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?

datedthedevil Tue 02-Apr-13 14:00:18

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.

TantrumsAndBalloons Tue 02-Apr-13 14:08:06

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.

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