What help am I entitled too?(24 Posts)
I'm posting on behalf of my sister who has recently split from her husband - divorce is pending. She is a primary school teacher but is struggling to cope with the demands of her job combined with the new demands of becoming a single parent - she was part time until Sept when she went full time as year leader, her marriage broke down two weeks later.
Her husband is unreliable in his agreed maintainence payments at the moment and she wishes to return to part time or maybe supply work.
Can anyone advise what she may be eligible to claim in terms of Child or Working Tax Credits and anything else which may help. Is there such a thing as single parent benefit?
The only way she can get a rough idea of tax credits is to check on the Entitled To website. She needs to pop her earnings in and it will do the sums.
With regards to maintenance she need to go to the CSA (can't remember it's new name?) and they might be able to get regular maintenance out on him.
Definitely use the Entitled to website, it's the only way to work out everything she might be entitled to, including benefits and tax credits. I think you can also do up to 2 calculations looking at potential changes to situation (e.g. if she dropped to less working days per week). No there is no such thing as single parent benefit (if only!). You haven't said how many DC she has and how old they are? If she is on a decent salary (it sounds like she is) and has any substantial savings she won't be entitled to benefits, but the tax credits should help (and may make the difference between her breaking even or not). When I was working I had to opt out of the pension to break even, there are things like that that are short-term options.
The CSA, or Child Maintenance Options, or whatever they are now, will charge her £20 to start the process and it's all a bit tedious but may be worth it if he isn't paying regularly. Do you think he's paying what he should, more or less? - worth thinking about that (especially if the answer is more) before taking the official route. If the CSA have to extract payment from him they will take a cut - I think a few % of the total - before passing the rest on to her. Is he on a payroll? If yes, this will make things much easier, than if he is self employed.
Her DS are 8 and 12. At the moment I would estimate she earns around 36,000, but it's just not sustainable. From what we can work out dropping to part time or supply could halve her income.
STBX had agreed to pay £800 a month but has only managed this once, last month only £200, this month nothing.
I'll get her to look on that site.
I'm a single mum and work full time as a teacher. All I get is single parent child benefit which is a little more than normal.
Thanks Trifle I thought that might be the case.
But theres no such thing as single person child beneift trifle, child benefit is the same rate for everybody.
On 36K she would get chid benefit which for two children is £34.05. Regardless of single or not as long as not over the income threshold. Due to rise by around 20p a week in April.
Even reducing hours, I doubt she would get over 25k a year in tax credits (based on if she is making pension contribution).
If she isn't getting them yet and requires childcare, she needs to look at childcare vouchers.
I'm sure when I first claimed it (17 yrs ago )
That was the case. It's changed or I've gotten it completely wrong. I did get tax credit for a while but they moved the threshold.
My ex is on benefits so I don't get any money from him. It is possible to manage. The good news is that teaching hours and holidays are easy to fit in around the children.
On £35k she may still get some tax credits, it's always worth checking using that calculator.
If she's thinking of cutting hours the Entitled to can also help her figure out at what point she will be ok off e.g. 4-day week, lower salary / balance of tax credits. Annoyingly, you can only do 2 'test' calculations before they make you sign out and put all your details in again.
£800 a month is a whopping huge amount of maintenance!!! I doubt the CSA would make him pay anything like that though it does depend on his salary.
Self employed can be an issue - folks on other threads here have posted about this, not my area but I think it's easier for him to hide his income (though HMRC still have certain records?)
£200 is way too low for 2 DC, unless he's on a pitiful salary.
By the way the CSA won't backdate payments, they only start the clock from the day they contact her DH, so if she wants to take that route, it's better to start sooner.
Trifle a question for you, I've been trying to get info on the employment board about teaching and that fitting in with being a LP, school holidays and the like. The advice I seemed to get on there was 'don't do it - run a mile!' - but you are saying here that's a good occupation for a LP with young DC, is that correct? I don't want to muscle in on this thread but very keen to hear more about that. My DD is 2 and I was considering trying to train as a primary teacher - what age / specialism do you teach and how do the hours / holidays work with DC, as a LP? Thanks!
Eternal I can only speak from my sisters experience but she is finding it very hard. Planning and marking take up a huge amount of time and really eat into the time she spends with her boys. They spend a lot of time having to entertain themselves, which she hates. She is in school at 8am and rarely home before 5.30, youngest son in wrap around care and eldest lets himself in and out - on his own for 2 hrs each night as a rule. She is very stressed. Huge expectations at work mean her parenting is (in her eyes) compromised.
Don't be hoodwinked by the idea of school hours working and long holidays!! I work 12 hr shifts for the NHS and think I have a far easier time of it!
I'd be surprised if your sister is entitled to anything. The threshold is very low these days.
My DD goes to wrap around clubs at school every day. I work full time with a very demanding job and sporadic support from EXP. Leave house at 7.30 every day, back after 6. The school holidays and (bluddy inset days - who's idea were they?!) are a nightmare, so at least your sister won't have to worry about that.
It's obviously up to your sister... only she knows what she can cope with, but at aged 8 and 12 her kids are only going to want to be more and more independent anyway, so if money is an issue she should probably stick with it at work.
It can be overwhelming at first, but it'll all work out. I've worked full time since DD was 10 mths old. It was that or lose my house. I do feel cheated and want to punch the smug married SAHMS who tell me how bored they are and that they don't know how I do it and how perhaps they'll find a little voluntary job next year (yawn).
Sorry that turned into a bit of a rant, lol...
Sadly OP, this government delights in pushing women out to work, but anyone with a semi decent job gets no benefits or support.
And single mums sadly get the worst deal in my opinion. Dad's who won't pay and a system that doesn't help 😕
The situation with self employed nrp's and cms is disgusting but sometimes it can work and so worth making a claim as if it did work at least it would be reliable.
Entitled to is OK but I'd also recommend speaking to gingerbread.
Does she rent or own? Has she arranged her council tax single person concession? Even if only entitled to a small amount of a benefit claim anyway as it could be a gateway to other help for her. Sub teaching is only a good idea if she's confident she'd get enough work because benefits are stopped immediately you earn 'too much' but can take months to kick back in again when you're not earning enough.
I secondary school teacher with three children and as a lone parent. Its hard and the marking is oppressive. Its a long day for me today (cpd tonight) but it pays the bills. I do get some help with tax credits etc .
Thanks everyone who has commented so far, I have been passing your advice and opinions on!
She will be a lot better off in the long run if she stays in her current job.
My nearly 12 year old lets herself in and is on her own until I get in at 6. Its fine, she does some clubs and that cuts down the amout of time shes in on her own somedays but sometimes she choses not to go to them.
Its all very new, once she gets in to a routine she will probably find its not as bad as she thinks.
Kimlo I know. It's just all a bit of a mess and I can't tell her what to do. She's very strong willed and I really just have to be there for her. I'm trying to get her as much information as I can and I'm hoping it will become obvious that staying put is the best option...
Children born before July 1998 are entitled to single parent rate of CB.
If she wants to drop her hours, get it sorted for the start of the summer term. If she drops them in April, it will make things much easier in terms of tax credits. If she drops them now, she won't get much help as she will be deemed to have earned too much in this financial year.
FWIW I was on £36,000 last year with 2 children and got some tax credits.
I've dropped my hours as I have a new baby (and a single parent with a teen, toddler as well as the baby!) and gone from 37.5 to 24 hours. My income has dropped to £20,000, tax credits have cushioned that drop considerably. I'm only £200 a month worse off.
Hope that helps a little.
Additionally make sure if she does drop her hours, once they have calculated the year on her previous years income, she gives them the new up to date income as she will get less tax credits for that year if she doesn't tell them.
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