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Anyone single mum not afford to return to work after maternity? Did you still receive benefits?

(13 Posts)
S2017K Mon 04-Dec-17 20:21:27

I'm due to return to work next April to a job I've had for 9.5 years, but looking at the figures I don't think I can afford to now, as my commute/childcare is going to take all the difference between employment and benefits.

I want to continue work, but right now it is just not feasible. There are no jobs like my current one where I live, and I don't have a car.

The original plan I had in place (family childcare, WFH, commute outside rush hour etc) is not there any more. The member of my family who could have helped me was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, 2 weeks after my DS was born. This has devastated the family and things have obviously changed to care for her, with a knock on effect.

If I leave work, will I still be eligible for my current benefits (minus WTC) or will I be deemed 'deliberately unemployed' and have my benefits stopped for 26 weeks? Is that only for JSA (I would get Income Support as a lone parent)? I think so, but asking to see if anyone has experience of this.

The Turn2us and entitled2 calculators showed me as receiving considerably more on benefits than in work which I know is not correct, Universal credit is here to supposedly make sure it always pays to work, so unsure where it has gone wrong I've done it several times.

This is my understanding

"People leaving work are treated as having made themselves voluntarily unemployed. This applies if you resign, walk out or are sacked for misconduct. It doesn't apply to redundancy, end of contracts or on medical grounds (which can include workplace stress), or where you can show good cause (e.g. unfair dismissal).
Otherwise you are automatically classed as voluntarily unemployed. Unless you can disprove it, you face a sanction of up to 26 weeks without any benefit at all. Your case is referred to an Adjudication Officer who decides if it's fair and, if so, how long the sanction applies for. They will write to your employers for their side of the story. During this period you will be on no benefit, or reduced benefit in cases of hardship (see PENALTIES)."

"To qualify for Income Support you must be all of the following:
- between 16 and Pension Credit qualifying age.
- pregnant, or a carer, or a lone parent with a child under 5 or, in some cases, unable to work because you’re sick or disabled.
- you have no income or a low income (your partner’s income and savings will be taken into account).
- working less than 16 hours a week (and your partner works less than 24 hours a week).
- living in England, Scotland or Wales - there are different rules for Northern Ireland.

(Crossed out above does not apply to me)


Battleax Mon 04-Dec-17 20:25:17

You'd just immediately claim (income based) Income Support on the ground you've highlighted.

JSA (either type) doesn't come into it because you won't be available for work. Therefore, there will be no test about deliberate unemployment either.

wowbutter Mon 04-Dec-17 20:26:09

You know you can use a government based childcare account to pay your childcare tax free, or childcare vouchers, or tax credits to pay a percentage of your childcare bill.
I don't think giving up your job is a good idea.

You could always go back, do a flexible working request, and see what happens.
E.g. Work from home.

Where is the child's dad in this! Did I miss that in your op?

Battleax Mon 04-Dec-17 20:27:13

Make sure you've costed every permutation of PT hours too, though. Two days a week might work out better financially and means you're able to keep your hand in.

Also; Have you double checked that you're not in a UC area?

Babyroobs Mon 04-Dec-17 20:47:31

You would get Income support and child tax credits and child benefit and housing benefit if you rent.
If you could work 16 hours a week you could get working tax credits, child tax credits and help with childcare costs.

S2017K Mon 04-Dec-17 21:08:49

Thanks all!

Yes I'm not super keen to leave my job but I have worked out PT and FT on the calculators, and neither make ends meet at all. Yes I'm 'better off' on paper but once you've factored in commute to London, pre AND post nursery hours care for DS (I can't get DS at the end nor drop him off at their opening times due to commute so need before and after [nanny? clubs? how does one go about this?]). Great tips on gov childcare accounts I will look into this any way, thank you!

Flexible working will not be granted for more than 1 hour at each end because of the nature of my tasks (hasn't been for any parent-colleagues so far any way), so won't help with the cost, however you look at it DS needs someone else/somewhere to go whenever I'm working/travelling no matter what time of day that is sad My contract states that to be able to WFH you must not be the primary carer for an under 12 so he couldn't be with me. I'd still have to log off, go get him, and could not then log on after to make up time as he'd be there. My job is short deadline based so there is very little option to work in the night. Perhaps there would be in a new job?

There is no father, would rather not go into it atm.

Anything else I haven't thought of? I will start looking for jobs similar to my current one, or at least with transferrable skills, but they will be paid considerably less any way out of London so most likely wont' help lol! Have to laugh at this point.

S2017K Mon 04-Dec-17 21:11:01

Also yes from March next year I am in a UC area :/ I return in April so when I claim 'Income Support' that will change me over to UC. As I understand it, UC is always less than the old benefits (because the old benefits were sooo lavish hmm

NeverTwerkNaked Mon 04-Dec-17 21:12:06

A Lower paid job out of London + tax credits that cover most of childcare + less commuting costs may well make the most sense

Trailedanderror Mon 04-Dec-17 21:12:43

Have you got an approachable HR? If you've been there 9+ years they may well bend over backwards to keep you- be it flexibility, or knowledge of a local to work nursery or nanny share. Do talk to your employer before you give up flowers

NapQueen Mon 04-Dec-17 21:14:27

Wheb doing online calcs on have you input the cost of childcare? As a LP you would be able to have almost 70% of your childcare bill paid. Providing you arent earning like 70k or sonething

Battleax Mon 04-Dec-17 21:17:32

Depending on the nature of the commute, popping the baby in a sling and having him commute with you to a nursery near work might help, at least for a while. Don't assume that central London nurseries are automatically more expensive either.

Otherwise, starting the job hunt now for PT local work might be the best bet. UC is going to be vicious; Not just the low rates but the "conditionality". If you can keep a toe in the world of work, do.

cherryontopp Mon 11-Dec-17 15:48:22

I would speak to citizens advice or the DWP directly.
They like to keep people in work rather than claiming benefits.
As a pp says, if you dont earn more than 70/80k a year, you are entitled 85% if your childcare costs covered.

Definitely id ask before u quit the job.

fuzzyduck1 Tue 12-Dec-17 10:12:15

Suggest reading the comments under work / employment / return to work and the perils of being a SAHM

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