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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

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

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!!

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

EagleRiderDirk Wed 03-Apr-13 09:01:31

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.

EagleRiderDirk Wed 03-Apr-13 08:58:01

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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?

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!

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 20:26:17

'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.

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.

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!

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.

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'.

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