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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

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?

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