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Tax credits as a single parent - does this sound right?

(46 Posts)
Myownperson Mon 03-Oct-16 20:35:12

I have completely fucked up getting benefits. Left husband couple of months ago. We split savings. I have since used part of mine on solicitor fees, house refurbishment in a new home, paying bills etc. H paying child maintenance (above required rate).

Money I have left is well under the £6k limit for income support. But i have still been on the joint account which has much more in it - but is Hs money. I haven't had decision yet but not expecting to get income support due to officially being on that account.

So i have tax credits to live on which cover bills and not much else. and top up money to last a couple of months.

Its a joint mortgage so I'm not expecting help with that.

So I really really need a job. I haven't worked in years so clueless about how employable I will be but working on it. I have tried the online benefit calculator and for a random £20k salary it seems I could be entitled to £1000 per month tax credits. As it's theoretical I had to make some data up, like pension contributions etc. Does this sound like it could be right? It sounded a lot to me.

Will CAB give me help on this? I mean more than just how to make an application?

Any thoughts very welcome. For the record, I am really keen to work but it could take a while and one of my DC is a toddler so would need to find childcare.

I had a fantasy about claiming income support for a while and throwing myself into finding a good job but realistically I'll now settle for any job.

AnotherEmma Mon 03-Oct-16 20:38:31

Yes CAB will help you work out your benefit entitlement (including the rules about divorce/separation, savings etc) and they can even help you apply if you want.

I think you may well be entitled to income support as well as tax credits. How old are your children?

nbramley4 Mon 03-Oct-16 20:39:53

That does sound quite a lot. When I was on my own with a child, I was earning 15k a year and I got about £600 a month? That was a while ago, but I remember thinking at the time that I was surprised at that much. You say you have done the online benefit calculator. Did you use the tax credit one? I have quite often used that and it has always been quite accurate. Also, did you put childcare in? Because you get more money to help with childcare so that could explain why it's high.

As for your situation, if you can possibly get yourself off the joint account, that would be good, but that shouldn't affect your tax credits (not sure how it works with income support), but if it is affecting your benefits, come off the account - especially as it is 'his' money and you can't get any.

Just remember though, as you were married, 'his' money is also your money! I've just been well and truly screwed over by my ex because I was too fed up of it all to fight him any more, and although I am glad it's all over, a bit of me is still P***ed off I let him screw me over. Make sure you get what you are entitled to.

Good luck.

Hermanfromguesswho Mon 03-Oct-16 20:43:05

I earn about 10k a year and I get £750 ish a month in tax credits. I think that's the maximum you can get and you'd get less on a 20k salary...

Etak15 Mon 03-Oct-16 20:46:41

Depends also on how many children you have

Afreshstartplease Mon 03-Oct-16 20:48:00

How many DC

AnotherEmma Mon 03-Oct-16 20:48:06

The actual amount depends on the number of children, whether anyone in the household has a disability, how many hours you work, how much you earn, whether you have any other income, childcare costs, and whether you have savings.

So there is absolutely no way any of us can tell the OP what she will get. Not without knowing the answers to those questions and more besides.

AnotherEmma Mon 03-Oct-16 20:48:28

Cross posts!

Fleekorunique Mon 03-Oct-16 20:53:56

It sounds very high, is that £1600 a month wages the take home pay?

Myownperson Mon 03-Oct-16 21:03:05

DC are 2 and 6. I have already applied but have had several confusing calls from benefits staff where I was juggling toddler and talking on phone. I am below the threshold for savings for income support but the money is in my current account, transferred from joint account and twice referred to as a "gift" from DH for me to live on??!

But there is more than £6k in the joint account anyway so over the IS allowed level. My name is now off that account but wasn't when they called me*. I'm still hoping I might get IS.

(*So probably looks fraudulent now that I'm off it but I'll save that worry!)

For the theoretical situation of getting a job, I realise no one can say for sure - it sounds like it would most likely be less.

Yes, i input in my best guess at childcare costs. 2 DC, full time hours. The £1k per month was the child and working combined.

Sounds like CAB appointment could be useful and some kind of careers advice.

Its such a random exercise as all made up. Just trying to work out how low I can go in terms of salary when im looking for jobs.

Afreshstartplease Mon 03-Oct-16 21:05:18

Sounds right to me

At one point as a single parent I received just over 300 pw Inc childcare costs. I had 3DC at the time

AnotherEmma Mon 03-Oct-16 21:07:05

I suggest you do a benefits check based on your actual current circumstances. Then once you have a better idea of possible salary and childcare costs, you can ask CAB to do a "better off" calculation to see how your benefits would change.

AnotherEmma Mon 03-Oct-16 21:08:33

Btw if your husband is giving you money towards mortgage/other expenses that is arguably child maintenance and it's therefore not counted as income for benefits calculations.

Myownperson Mon 03-Oct-16 21:12:41

Sorry to be confusing. I have applied for IS and Child tax credits in current situation. I will oresumably get the tax credits but income support is sounding unlikely.

I had a return to work plan but without IS I need a job pretty much immediately. I need to know what level to pitch search/applications. Can't go so low that I can't live on it.

Being out of work so long means there is no natural level for me to re-enter.

Jayfee Mon 03-Oct-16 21:16:20

My friend told me 21 hours free childcare???? Government initiative

AnotherEmma Mon 03-Oct-16 21:17:37

You should get income support as the savings threshold is £16k not £6k. Savings under £6k are disregarded, and for any savings between £6k and £16k, they assume you get some interest (even if you don't) so this is counted as income and it slightly reduces the amount of income support you're entitled to.


How much exactly do you have in savings? I could do a quick calculation for you if you like. (It would be an estimate without the full details.)

Myownperson Mon 03-Oct-16 21:19:19

Ahh... that's very different. So it would reduce it but not rule it out. Combined £15k.

Myownperson Mon 03-Oct-16 21:21:25

Not relevant but if that sounds a lot my share is £5k ish and I have damp to sort! And I'm living of it at moment.

megletthesecond Mon 03-Oct-16 21:24:16

Sounds about right if you've included childcare.

Myownperson Mon 03-Oct-16 21:25:18

Sorry for all the typos/spelling mistakes. Should proof read.

AnotherEmma Mon 03-Oct-16 21:32:10

OK, so with 2 DCs aged 6 and 2, savings of £15k, no other income (apart from child maintenance) and no one has a disability, you would get:
Child Tax Credits £117.50 / week
Income Support £37.10 / week

You are also entitled to Child Benefit (which you're presumably getting already?) and Council Tax Reduction (also called Council Tax Support). You might even be able to get help with mortgage interest but not straight away, and you'd probably have a job by that point (and therefore no longer be eligible).

Lastly, you would be entitled to "extras" like free school meals, free NHS prescriptions etc.

An online benefits calculator such as works it all out for you, and at the end it can even tell you whether / how much better off you would be in work.

AnotherEmma Mon 03-Oct-16 21:36:27

Hang on - the £15k isn't all yours? £5k is yours and £10k is your husband's?

In that case, my calculations are wrong. You will get the full Income Support of £73.10 per week (not £37.10).

Also, you need to separate your finances properly ASAP. Split the money and close all joint accounts.

megletthesecond Mon 03-Oct-16 21:39:03

But you won't get free school meals if you get working tax credit.

Myownperson Mon 03-Oct-16 21:41:50

Thanks Emma. I did use entitled to originally based on "my own" savings before the joint account issue arose. Didn't occur to me to go back to it as I'd misunderstood the 6k as a cut off.

Its slightly better than nothing but still not nearly enough to live on.
My problem is the big mortgage.

Job searching for me....I like your confidence that I'd have a job before the mortgage interest help kicks in!

Thanks for your help.

AnotherEmma Mon 03-Oct-16 21:43:39


My post was a calculation based on current circumstances i.e. not working.

If the OP starts working, it will obviously change.

IS would stop but she would be likely to get WTC including the childcare element. No more free school meals but she may still get free NHS prescriptions. Depends on income.

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