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Going back to work part time?: accurate and exact benefit income figures here

(4 Posts)
NexusSix Tue 03-Feb-15 11:07:50

Right then, this information below is EXACTLY what I have been trying to fathom and been unable to find anywhere online (all the entitled to type calculators), the CAB, my former Jobcentre lone parent advisor with their 'back to work/better off' calculator, web forums, Gingerbread, tax credits phoneline, the whole caboodle.

Nobody could give me this information, so like most lone parents returning to work I panicked wondering how I'd calculate whether I could afford to live by going back to work or staying on benefits.

This is information applicable to parents with children young enough to still require childcare options during school holidays.
This amount will vary slightly of course, depending on how many children you have, your local rates for housing benefit, council tax, how many hours you work, etc. but this is now my total income as a lone parent returning to work, 20 hours a week, two kids age 5 and 7, private tenant. I have no debts.

I hope it helps reassure lone parents like myself that you don't have to take a blind leap into the unknown and that you will actually afford to live even on a part time wage.
In fact, unless it's an exceptionally generous full time salary or you are particularly career minded, you are better off staying part time whilst the children require childcare options, as then your income from combined wage/benefits stays consistent.
If you work less than 16 hours a week, you will be worse off working than staying on benefits.

I know it's gauche to declare your personal finances, but it's the kind of information that just isn't available out there, so I hope it helps others in my situation.

Current total monthly income:

708.80 Work&Child Tax Credits Combined
520.00 Wages
136.20 Child Benefit
20.00 CSA child support absence father
Total 1385.00

Current total monthly outgo:

525.00 Rent
160.00 Gas & Elec
45.00 Water
45.00 Council Tax
20.00 Phone
24.00 TV licence
73.00 Breakfast Club
160.00 Food
17.50 Taxis to work
Total 1069.50

From April the Child&Working Tax Credit amount increases by an extra £63.20 month because it's the start of the new tax year.

I have savings at the moment so am not entitled to help with Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support and possibly Childcare Voucher Subsidy (not sure yet, waiting to hear back).
But if your savings are below £16K, for a 2 bed house depending on your local housing allowance rates, you may receive the following Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support if you work part time:

Housing Benefit 385.97
Council Gax Support 25.48

For me, that would increase my total monthly income including part time wages and all benefits, to 1859.64

As you can see, that's a liveable income and far better than staying unemployed.
If your children's father contributes to their upbringing that income is not taxable or calculated.

Anyway, I hope this information is reassuring, and useful, to someone who is also worried about whether returning to work as a lone parent is do-able.

HeadDoctor Tue 03-Feb-15 16:44:31

Why are you paying £24 for a TV license? It's 12.12 a month. Does the breakfast club not fall into childcare for child tax credit purposes?

MrsGSR Tue 03-Feb-15 16:53:09

IIRC when you first take out a TV licence it's £24.24 for the first 6 months.

NexusSix Tue 03-Feb-15 19:02:19

It's £24 for the first six months, HeadDoctor, then instalments of around £12 per month.

I'm still waiting to hear back about the breakfast club help.

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