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Working p/t same income as on benefits?

(17 Posts)
lillybee1 Sat 02-May-15 17:36:56

I've recently separated and have a one year old. I have been a SAHM and am currently receiving benefits. I used to have a relatively well paid job and would now like to return to work asap on part-time basis. The baby is still young and I wouldn't want to go back full-time.

At the moment I'm getting help towards the mortgage & council tax as well as income support and tax credits. I've calculated going back to work for 2.5 days and I would no longer get help with mortgage or council tax and I wouldn't get income support. I'd get some working tax credits but these would go towards the nursery fees. So what I'll be left with at the end of the month (after bills, nursery, tax etc) will actually be exactly the same as what I end up with now.

I want to go back to work (for my sanity) but it's a bit disheartening knowing I won't actually be gaining anything financially. I know we have a good benefits system but I can now see why some people, especially those with young children choose not to return to work.

I'm wondering if other people are in the same boat?

misstiredbuthappy Sat 02-May-15 20:40:00

I work 18 hours and im much better of than on benefits.

I get help with council tax and I still get a bit off housing benefit im not sure how it works when you have a mortgage though.

You will get child tax credit, working tax credit and 70%off you childcare paid.

Singleandproud Sat 02-May-15 20:51:58

Yes it's frustrating.

I work 25 hours a week which increased from 16 last year whilst my income went up so did my outgoings as support decreased and I effectively work for free for 2 days a week! However, whilst it's annoying I am also gaining experiences and training which means it would be easier to get a higher paid job in the future when I don't need one that fits around school hours. I also get some time away from DD (although she's at school now so doesn't count) with adult company where I can have a cup of tea and go to the loo in peace. Being a single parent is relentless and that break and interaction with other adults I s important to me.

msreddotty Sun 03-May-15 08:42:47

Working gives me the sanity I need and means I can keep on with a career I worked so hard to get. I work 21 hours and get child tax credits, working tax credits and child benefit.

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Sun 03-May-15 08:45:49

It's because you have a mortgage rather than renting. If you rented you'd get housing benefit so you'd be better off. Whatever you pay on your mortgage is paying towards your asset though so you're ultimately better off than renters even if your current income will be lower.
Suck it up - staying in the job market is worth more than money as you will be much better off when the kids go to school and you will be employable in better paid/more hours jobs.

Lucyccfc Sun 03-May-15 11:48:15

Whilst it may not make you better off financially right now, think about the future benefits:

A couple of years experience to enable you to get a better job or promotion in the future, rather than just being at home.

Increased hours and salary as your child gets older and goes to school.

Does wonders for your self-esteem, knowing you are working for you and your child future.

Part time is a great balance at the moment - spending time with your child and also other adults.

msreddotty Sun 03-May-15 13:08:31

There are also the added benefits like a pension, sick pay, holiday pay etc.

AnyRailway Sun 03-May-15 13:18:49

I'm in the same position. There was a job in a school, 16 hours a week, that would have suited me down to the ground, but I would have ended up £20 a week worse off, as well as having to put my little toddler into childcare. I didn't apply for the job.

It's having a mortgage that makes the difference, but there's no way I want to sell the only home my children have ever known.

I don't want to be on benefits for longer than I can help, but right now my children need my time and I can only give them that by not working. DH only left in January, following domestic violence, so the kids have been through a lot of emotional upset and I am still feeling a bit shaky too. I've decided that I'm going to let the dust settle for a year in total, then set about starting my own business so that I can still look after the children at the same time.

Sometimes I feel like a scrounger, not wanting to work right now - but this is why we have a welfare state, I suppose. I didn't make this situation, and I'm not living on benefits because I chose to. I'm doing it just for the short term while I gather my wits, sort out practical details and let my children heal for a while.

lillybee1 Tue 12-May-15 16:07:51

Thanks for the all of the replies - really have helped me get my head around it all.

I wish I could find a job just for a day or two a week but with the 16 hour rule it means I have to find a job for longer which is where the benefits system doesn't really work. It's nothing or 16 hours plus.

I'm still pretty torn. My LO is still young, only one, but at the same time, like a lot of you have said having a job is a bonus - being in the job market, for sanity, having an adult conversation etc.

But if I find a job for say 3 days (there are no jobs which are exactly 16 hours are there?), then only 4 days left in week, probably 2 where ex wants to see LO so then i'll only have 2 full days with LO myself. Going from SAHM to only seeing LO for 2 days scares me a bit and makes me feel quite sad.

So feel a bit stuck in this dilemma at the moment....confused

For those that do work 16+ hours how often do you spend with your LO in the week?

Madamecastafiore Tue 12-May-15 16:12:28

Frustrating but if you can work you should. Benefits are for those who can't work.

lillybee1 Tue 12-May-15 17:08:44

No, people are eligible for benefits for a number of reasons, depending on their situation! It is not only for those that can't work.

Madamecastafiore Tue 12-May-15 18:00:03

Your opinion but mine is that if you can work you should.

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Tue 12-May-15 18:06:17

In principle yes, but if you have a child under 3 and child tax credit is likely to bump up your total net cost to the state way over your total net contribution in tax then maybe not. That doesn't apply if the children are older but I believe parents of under 3s should get special consideration.

msreddotty Tue 12-May-15 18:19:41

I only have two full days a week with my dd. the other days she's at nursery or with her dad.

Personally, I would rather work, than not. Even more so as a single parent as the adult company is great.

GratefulHead Tue 12-May-15 18:25:36

I think for me, the benefits of being in work are more than just financial....a,though currently I am not in work.
You've obviously worked tnat out already and if you will be at least as well off financially then it's worth the upheaval.
When I worked 18 hours I still had loads of time with DS and although his dad lives too far away to do the "every other weekend" thing it would still have been okay.
It's about finding a balance that suits everyone. I found I clung to my job for far longer than I should have done simply because it gave me sanity...so I know exactly what you mean on that score.
The likelihood is that you will probably end up better off financially, even on a low wage.

meglet Tue 12-May-15 22:04:26

Tbh work does my head in (unstimulating job, poor office atmosphere, zero social life) but I have a pension.

And if you return to work now you won't have the stress of job hunting when your dc reaches school age.

gillybean2 Wed 13-May-15 12:50:00

Look at the entitledto website and play about with different figures for the hours you may go back and childcare costs. You might be surprised how flexible your employer could be. There is a cap on help with childcare costs too, but you should get a significant amount of help towards it which usually makes it workable.

Instead of working 2.5 days, how about working 3 days shorter hours. I do 6 hours a day and don't take a lunch break.

Agree with meglet that working isn't always great. I enjoy my job but put up with a poor office atmosphere too and can't afford babysitter and aren't there at the end of the day so very rarely get to join in with anything social after work as a result. However it gets me out of the house, keeps me sane and I'm more than just mum. I have some lovely clients who I enjoy helping and that makes up somewhat for my colleagues.

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