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Coping with being a single parent

(12 Posts)
Famfam Thu 18-Aug-11 07:45:48

My partner left 3 weeks ago with two children under four to look after. I have never worked as he believed I should stay at home with the children. A friend advised me to go to the jobcentre and claim income support and also contact the CSA. I have never stepped foot in a jobcentre before. I feel awful and am at a complete loss as what to do.

MetalSian Thu 18-Aug-11 08:05:17

Income Support

Have a look on that link.
I am in nearly the same situation as you.
Had my interview at the Jobcentre yesterday.
You can ring them up and fill out the application form over the phone, then you will go in for an interview. Nothing bad, just signing the form and talking about options.

Have you changed you tax credits to a single claim?
And are you living in rented or do you own your home?

MetalSian Thu 18-Aug-11 08:09:28

your* -.-
I need to reread before I post I think.

LeoTheLateBloomer Thu 18-Aug-11 12:57:41

Famfam I was in a similar position 5 months ago except I had always been the bread winner. Now I'm at home, on Income Support and receiving every benefit available while I'm looking after DD.

It's a strange feeling. The big question will be whether you're in a rented or mortgaged home as the help you get with that will be different. If you have a mortgage you'll be eligible for help with the interest only, if you're rented you'll need to find out from the council what their upper limit is on how much rent they'll pay for you.

The question of rent/mortgage will also dictat whether you're 'allowed' to work or not (although seeing as you have 2 DCs who aren't at school yet that wouldn't be an issue at the moment). In my case if I start working, I lose my help with mortgage payments and the numbers just wouldn't add up.

I hope you're ok. It's all very new and the adrenaline will keep you going for a while. Look after yourself when you feel it running out smile

LeoTheLateBloomer Thu 18-Aug-11 12:58:21

Sorry dictate

Famfam Fri 19-Aug-11 08:29:00

Thank you for the link it was very helpful. I telephoned the jobcentre yesterday and I have an interview at 2pm this afternoon. I didn't realize it would be so quick. We have a mortgage, my partner said he would continue to pay the mortgage, as he has moved back in with his parents.

Thank you Leothelatebloomer for your kind words.

SuePurblybilt Fri 19-Aug-11 08:38:41

Council tax benefit, ask at your interview as your LA might want a letter or print out from the job centre. Don't forget tax credits too.
Remember on IS you are entitled (usually) to free school meals, sometimes help with uniform costs. I doubt if it applies if your children are 4 and under but bear it in mind if they are nearly five or starting school soon. Under four you may get Healthy Start vouchers (have a look online) and you should get an NHS exemption card for prescriptions, eye tests etc. If it's all too much to think about, your local CAB or Surestart centre should have someone on hand to help you through it all.
Good luck.

Famfam Sun 21-Aug-11 09:54:15

Just have a spare few minutes. I went to the jobcentre on friday, it wasn't what I expected, the woman was really nice. I thought she would force me to look for work, but she said I didn't have to unless I wanted to. She did get me thinking about going back to college. I need to think about my children and I want them to see me as a rock, someone they can look up to and rely on. That said I talk a brave story, but actually doing it is another thing.

missmogwi Sun 21-Aug-11 21:02:20

This has struck a chord as was me five years ago.

The lone parent advisors are usually pretty helpful, yours sounds great mentioning college etc. When the dust has settled you might want to work or return to study.

Give yourself time to deal with end of relationship at the moment though, it's very hard at first. I was a mess! Take any help that's offered from family and friends and give yourself a break.

I did return to college and I'm now at uni which is I wanted to do before met XP. It took a lot of guts and soul searching but I'm so glad I did as the future looks even brighter for me and my girls.

Hope you are ok, it's such a big life change. Take

makemineapinot Sun 21-Aug-11 21:59:26

I second what missmogwi says - 3 yeara down the line I am starting uni tomorrow to do my teacher training - something I wanted to do for many years but XH prevented me. but give yourself time - you and your dc will need time to cope with the changes ahead of you. Get yourself down to mother and toddler groups and see your friends - get out and about as it does help - take care xx

TastyMuffins Sun 21-Aug-11 23:20:13

I remember how difficult this stage was too. I went through it 4 years ago when my DS was two. It took me nearly a month to go to the Job Centre, firstly, I couldn't believe my marriage was definitely over and was still wondering if there was any hope it could be saved and secondly, I was so upset I didn't want to have a conversation with anyone apart from a few close friends, I couldn't stop crying when I talked about it. When I went in I was shocked that the response from the Job Centre was 'Why didn't you come in as soon as you separated?'.

I felt very much like I was being processed by the Job Centre and not like they expected me to actually get a job despite saying I had been left with a huge mortgage to pay. I needed to find work straight away but they weren't very enthusiastic. I did get help from an agency that helps single parents get back to work, they really helped by improving my CV which increased the salary of jobs I was being put forward for by agencies considerably. I was very lucky and got a great job in just 5 weeks so was actually in work before I got a penny of my benefit money through!

Famfam Wed 31-Aug-11 10:12:10

I have just come back after spending a week with my family. It was good to talk openly about my relationship with my mum and dad. It has made me realize a few things and after reading TastyMuffins comment I was very much impressed with her determination to get a job. Well done!

For me, I plan to take baby steps, I have an interview at my local college tomorrow (arranged by my mum) to discuss enrolling on a course. I don't know what to expect as I never went to college.

After reading the comments on here and talking to my parents, I am slowly starting to wake up, thank you!

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