My feed

to access all these features

Find financial and money saving discussions including debt and pension chat on our Money forum.

Money matters

Does anyone know what benefits are available if a SAHM separates from her husband?

32 replies

Olihan · 27/10/2007 23:09

A friend of mine is about to separate from her husband, she is staying in the family home, he is moving out into a flat. He is going to continue to pay the mortgage/bills etc for the time being but she obviously won't have any income of her own. I think he is being very reasonable about finances etc but she doesn't want to be dependent on him for money. Her dcs are 4, 3 and 11mo so she's got them all at home most of the time.

she doesn't really know what she can do so I said I'd ask you lot as someone is bound to know.

OP posts:
LaylaandSethsmum · 27/10/2007 23:11

Child tax credit would probably change, don't know if she could claim Income support though as he would be expected to support her or she would have to look for work now. website probably has more answers.

Olihan · 27/10/2007 23:24

Thank you for the link. I've had a trawl through but can only find stuff on the CSA which I don't think will be needed, I can't find anything that says she may or may not be eligible for other benefits.

OP posts:
colditz · 27/10/2007 23:28

I think she will be able to apply for income support and tax credits, depending on how much mainenence he gives her for the kids.


Gobbledispook · 27/10/2007 23:36

I have no idea but how sad
4, 3 and 11 months - that's going to be tough. Poor, poor friend.

mrspnut · 27/10/2007 23:38

Income support for herself, child tax credit for the children and council tax benefit.

expatinscotland · 27/10/2007 23:45

remember that all benefits besides child benefit and disability living allowance are means tested, as they should be.

and means includes having your bills/mortgage paid for you and any maintenance the court awards the resident parent.

if she doesn't want to depend on him for money, then why should the taxpayer automatically pick up the tab?

because if she goes to ask about these benefits she will be asked about her ex and what his contributions are and the government can and will get the CSA involved.

We recently completed a council tax benefit form because DH is very low-income AND disabled and they ask about everything. You have to declare all you get.

We had to bring in bank statements, wage slips, etc. and sign a declaration that eveything we wrote was true.

Getting mortgage and bills paid is a lot more than most single parents on here who've been dumped by partners with nothing - or git partners who were unemployed.

expatinscotland · 27/10/2007 23:49

also they ask about assets. and yes, a house is considered one, not just shelter. you're asked if you're a homeowner or have a mortgage.

now i skipped over that part, because it was huge and we didn't have to fill it out because we rent, but it was there.

sorry, but i think it's the ex's responsibility to pay for his kids' upbringing before it's the state's.

Bectheneck · 28/10/2007 00:01

Agree with expat that any contributions from ex will have to be declared and having a mortgage will make a difference to entitlements as well.

Citizen's Advice Bureau would be my first stop as they can do a benefit calculation as well as advise her on any other issues regarding the separation. She can find her nearest branch here and find more general advice here

Btw, hello Olihan I am a Dec 06 mum and still lurk on the postnatal thread although I haven't posted for months. Sorry to hear your friend is going through this.

Bectheneck · 28/10/2007 00:06

Um, when I said 'having a mortgage' I meant being a houseowner in general as the house will be seen as an asset and also help with housing costs more complex when mortgage rather than renting. Yeah, what expat said anyway!

expatinscotland · 28/10/2007 00:06

The DWP is starting to raise pursuits against these former partners if the spouse doesn't. If it's a violent partner, the DWP can still pursue them in the courts/CSA, as paying maintenance is a separate matter.

So as things are amicable and the spouse is agreeing to pay, it's best she go with that.

And honestly, it should be up to the parents first to raise their kids before the taxpayer if at all possible.

If she really doesn't want to depend on him for money, then there's the option of getting a job and then claiming CTC to help pay for childcare or WTC as well if you are low income.

You can still receive council tax benefit if you are working but low income if you are eligible.

Sorry to sound harsh, but truly benefits were made to be a safety net for folks who truly have no other alternative, not a means to stay home because you don't like dealing with your former partner.

Olihan · 28/10/2007 00:09

Thank you all for your replies.

gobbledigook, it is a horrible situation,

colditz, thanks for the calculator, I'll show it to her tomorrow.

expat, she's not expecting the tax payer to cough up, she's just been put into a situation where her dh has left, she has no job, no income of her own, she hasn't worked since the birth of her first child and her dh simply does not earn enough to run 2 houses. She needs something to tide her over until she can get a job, sort out childcare and get back on her feet.

Mrspnut, I didn't realise she could get council tax benefit, is that different to single person allowance then?

OP posts:
expatinscotland · 28/10/2007 00:14

but for the time being he'll pay up. and so what she'll need to do is apply for how things are NOW and then do an adjustment for later, including what he gives her.

that's unfortunately how the system works and it has to otherwise people would take advantage of it.

at any rate, that house is an asset so even if they sell it, she'll have to declare the profit she makes on it as asset.

she needs to go to the CAB, because the government is doing its best not to let former partners or spouses swan off and not pay to support their children, and any child maintenance is income.

council tax benefit is different from single person's allowance.

Olihan · 28/10/2007 00:18

Hello Bec, was wondering where all the rest of us had got to! I've offered to have her dcs while she goes to the CAB but where we live is classed as rural so we get a visiting one every fortnight, helpfully.

Sorry, expat, OP is brief and doesn't really cover the half of it. As it's not me I didn't want to put lots of detail on here, bar the absolute basics which is far too simplistic. Really I just wanted to know what direction I could point her in as she's not in a state to go through it all herself at the moment.

OP posts:
expatinscotland · 28/10/2007 00:21

make sure she gets an appointment!

i'm in a rural area, too, and the CAB only once a fortnight and you need to make an appointment.

the council website will have info about council tax benefit - it's one form with housing benefit, which she won't be eligible for just now because she's not in rented accommodation, temporary accommodation or homeless, but there's an area where you check which you're applying for.

our council has the form online. you can download it and bring it in to the satellite offices, as our council headquarters is over an hour's drive away in good weather.

she might want to call and explain the situation, because she may need to wait till he's actually out of the home to apply.

Olihan · 28/10/2007 00:38

Thanks again, expat, that's all really useful to know. I'll give her all this info tomorrow.

OP posts:
MeMySonAndI · 30/10/2007 22:08

Apologies for hijacking but I have a couple of questions:
How much should the main earner parent pay for child mainteince (is it 15% of his salary?). Do lower earner partner(or non earner at all) get to get some mainteinance from main partner. I have a faint recollection that there was something to pay to the spouse if he/she had left a job because of the marriage but I might be wrong. Does anybody has heard about that?

expatinscotland · 30/10/2007 22:09

there's no set amount, me.

i recommend getting some advise at the CAB.

MeMySonAndI · 30/10/2007 22:12

I have spent 3 hours there last week and came out as clueless as I arrived. Guess I got the "weak" advisor I'm bracing myself for another 3 hrs wait tomorrow which I plan to spend praying not to get the same advisor!

Skribble · 30/10/2007 22:15

I didn't get much help from CAB either, realised Iknew more than them (I have voluteered to work for them now)
This is what I have figured out so far... hope it is all correct

17hrs +

You will get working tax credits and child tax credits combined.

They don't count maintenance.

You can still be eligilbe for free prescriptions and dental care.

You might get a discount on council tax. Make sure you get the one adult discount anyway.

You might get housing benefit.

You might get free school dinners and uniform grant.

When you earn more you get a bit less tax credits but they don't deduct as much as you earn so it will always be worth more to you if you earn more.

Can be worth working over 30hrs as you will get a bonus.

You will get money towards childcare, if not all at least a big chunk.

16hrs and under... or no work

You will get income support.

They count maintenance as part of your income. They will insist it goes through CSA and any money you get is basicly taken off your income support

You will get rebate on council tax and housing benefit.

You will get free prescriptions and dental.

You will get free school meals and uniform grant normally depending on local authority.

For both you will still get child benefit and this doesn't get counted.

Child care has to be registered to get money to pay for this, so granny doesn't count.

Olihan · 30/10/2007 22:17

Expat, thanks for the tip about the CAB appointments - she's made one for the next time they're here.

(Did I see on another thread that you're pg? Congrats if you are!)

OP posts:
Skribble · 30/10/2007 22:17

CSA calculator

Olihan · 30/10/2007 22:21

skribble, that's really interesting about maintenance and the CSA. My friend's h was saying they didn't need to contact them because he was willing to pay more than the CSA would make him but it sounds as though it will have to if my friend applies for any kind of benefits, is that right?

OP posts:
Skribble · 30/10/2007 22:24

Best to get something in writing and agreed with a solicitor.

She will be eligible for Legal Aid Community Legal Service Direct

Skribble · 30/10/2007 22:27

My understanding is that to get income support they will insist on going through CSA. Any maintenance that goes through CSA will be deducted from benefits. Would be possible for him to pay more with a private agreement but this would have to be very private .

Good thing about tax credits if you work over 16hrs is they don't count maintenance so you can have a private agrement for the whole amount and still get full amount due of tax credits. Her LO's are young yet but once they are a bit older it might be worth her while getting a part time job over 16 hrs.

twinsetandpearls · 30/10/2007 22:28

If you are applying for any benefits you need to go through the CSA. When I applied for benefits they made me fill in the CSA paperwork.

Depending on the level of maintenance she may get income support as well as child benefit. As a single parent she will get help with council tax and dependent on income she may get help with that as well.

It is not a nice situation to be in, I ended up living on the streets and temproary accomodation with my dd as the state refused to help me as my ex had money which he was refusing to pay.

Luckily I was certified bonkers which meant I could access Inacapacity benefit and dla while I got myself back together and able to work.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.