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Newly Single Mum ( Bigamist Husband) benefits- I'm overwhelmed

(17 Posts)
Tiddlypoo8 Tue 02-Aug-16 17:31:37

Hi there.
I've just become a single mum to my DD 3 years old.
I thought I was married, but husband turned out to be a bigamist & my marriage is void, he's left & im in a 3 bedroom privately rented house where I live with my 3 year old.

I'm confused about what benefits I can get to help me stay here with DD & I've heard that with 2 of us and a 3 rd bedroom I may not get any.

I live in a 3 bedroom house that is £650 a month.
Council tax & tenancy are still currently in joint names of him and me, but my name is on there as my married name - I can easily change the tenancy, but how do I change my name on council tax in order to claim?

It's a bit of a mess. What documents & benefits can I claim for help with rent, council tax & bills?

I'm in a huge panic. I don't know what to do. Any help appreciated X

AnotherEmma Tue 02-Aug-16 17:40:15

So sorry about your ex, that must have been a horrible shock.

Are you working at the moment or are you a SAHM? If you are working, how many hours a week and how much do you earn?

Exactly what you can claim depends on your work and income, but you should be able to get:
- Working Tax Credits if you're working or Income Support if you're not working
- Child Tax Credits
- Child Benefit (if you're not already getting it)
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Reduction

There is a slightly different process for applying for each of these. But you should be able to apply for all of them online. If you'd like help I suggest you contact Citizens Advice as they're usually very good.

Don't forget that your ex is legally obliged to pay child maintenance for your daughter - is he paying anything?

Lastly I suggest that you contact your local council and ask if you can apply for council or social housing. You won't be high priority as you already have somewhere to live. But it's worth getting on the waiting list.

AnotherEmma Tue 02-Aug-16 17:45:59

Some useful links:
Benefits calculator at www.entitledto.co.uk
Child maintenance calculator at cmoptions.org/en/calculator/

Tiddlypoo8 Tue 02-Aug-16 18:02:49

Sorry forgot to mention, I'm a stay at home mum and I currently get

- child benefit £20 a week
- Employment Support Allowance (because I have severe clinical OCD and PTSD)

Tiddlypoo8 Tue 02-Aug-16 18:03:54

He's paid once and has said he'll pay £90 a week child maintainance until the army discharge him for his offences

AnotherEmma Tue 02-Aug-16 18:15:24

It's good that he's agreed to pay child maintenance. If he stops paying, call CMO for advice.

As you're already getting ESA and child benefit, you can also claim Child Tax Credits, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.

You can claim CTC at www.gov.uk/child-tax-credit/

To claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction, you need to go through your local council - look at their website and you might be able to apply online.

AnotherEmma Tue 02-Aug-16 18:26:43

You do need to get his name removed from the tenancy agreement ASAP. The council will probably want to see the tenancy agreement when you apply for Housing Benefit.

Tiddlypoo8 Tue 02-Aug-16 18:30:28

Ok my la slash is on holiday but as soon as she gets back that will need to be urgently changed

Tiddlypoo8 Tue 02-Aug-16 19:53:28

That was supposed to say landlady!

Tiddlypoo8 Tue 02-Aug-16 20:16:49

That was supposed to say landlady!

AnotherEmma Tue 02-Aug-16 20:20:42

Lol yeah I thought so grin

BaronessEllaSaturday Tue 02-Aug-16 20:28:15

Get the application in for the Housing benefit as they won't back date it but you will be given time to get anything like the tenancy agreement to them so don't worry about that for now.

Have you claimed the ESA since he left or were you already on that. If you were already on it you need to speak to them because if it's contributory you need to let them know so you go straight onto income based when the 6 months is up and if income based then him leaving will affect the rate.

child tax credits ring up first thing tomorrow and get the claim started. Every thing takes time to start up unfortunately.

AnotherEmma Tue 02-Aug-16 20:38:31

Actually you can do the first step to apply for child tax credits online, you don't have to call them. So you could even do that now. And child tax credits can be backdated up to one month so request backdating when you apply.

VodkaValiumLattePlease Tue 02-Aug-16 20:50:32

Is your ESA income related or contributions based?

AnotherEmma Tue 02-Aug-16 21:08:46

It doesn't really matter whether the ESA is contributory or income-based. Either way the OP needs to tell DWP about her change in circumstances (ie her ex moving out).
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/employment-and-support-allowance/while-youre-getting-esa/esa-reporting-changes/

VodkaValiumLattePlease Tue 02-Aug-16 21:37:00

Anotheremma yes she does need to report her changes, but it does matter which benefit she's on as it affects what else she's entitled to.

AnotherEmma Wed 03-Aug-16 07:49:21

Not really. It may affect the amounts. But whether OP is on cESA or ibESA or both, she can still apply for the benefits I listed (CTC, HB & CTR).

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