Unable to afford rent and bills(6 Posts)
Hi, I am a single mum with a 4 month old baby. I split up from her dad several months ago. I live in a rented house and the rent is almost £900 per month. This was fine when my ex lived here, as we paid half each, but now I have to pay all of it plus bills, food, nappies etc by myself. I'm on maternity leave and am now on statutory maternity pay which is about £140 per week plus I get child benefit which is about £82 per month. It isn't nearly enough to live on. I'm using up my savings at the moment but soon there will be nothing left. My ex doesn't give me any money so I'm going to go through the CSA to get child maintenance but even with this money it won't be enough to live on and it could take weeks to sort out (I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner).
Does anyone know if I can get any financial assistance, say housing benefit for example and if so, who do I contact? I really don't want to have to return to work early and leave my daughter in a nursery but I understand that it may be necessary.
So sorry to hear of your situation, I can understand this must be very difficult for you.
Have you checked to see if you are claiming all you are entitled to? A trip to the CAB might be a good idea as they are really good at this kind of thing. I can't believe your ex isn't paying anything, what a bastard! Hope you sort something soon.
Yes you should qualify for Housing and Council Tax Credit, plus child tax credits. There should be details of how to apply on line - Good Luck!
There is a savings threshold for Local Housing Allowance (LHA) so get in touch with your council. And you can apply for Tax Credits.
The thing with LHA is that it, too, can take weeks to process.
Where in the country are you? A similar thing happened to me when I was pregnant, in a tiny and expensive flat. Can you do what I did, get out of your contract and move to somewhere more affordable? I moved when LO was 4 weeks old, to somewhere more rural and a 2-bed house which is small but manageable. Can you move closer to any family/friends who might help (help you move and with baby)?
If your savings are above £16k you won't get much (the government expects you to spend them down to this level even if they are a house deposit), but as you say they are nearly gone so you should be eligible.
One thing to check in advance is how your financial situation will look once you go back to work. You might be better off on maternity leave or there might not be much difference. For example, if your income is up in the graduate/professional range, especially above £26k you may not be entitled to benefits. Plus, nursery fees for a lone parent can be crippling, £250-350 per week. Working tax credits might cover some of that but if you are on a decent salary you won't get as much, and you also won't necessarily get the free hours at age 2 like some other lone parents.
You will be entitled to things like free prescriptions, dental care at the moment.
Definitely recommend the entitledto calculator and a trip to CAB.
Talk to your health visitor and/or local sure start centre - they should be able to e.g. get you set up with vouchers for fruit and vegetables (about £3 a week, everything helps).
Sounds like your ex should be paying something too, the baby is his child too. If he won't do this willingly, I think the child maintenance system charges you £20 to set up a case and will then process you through one of their options (depending on how willing he is/becomes). They will only start collecting from him from the day they make contact with him.
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