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Financial help for single parents

Financial help fo single parents
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If you’re a single parent you don’t have to struggle financially. Depending on your personal circumstances, there is a variety of financial help for single parents. It’s important to check your entitlement if your circumstances change, as you may be eligible for more than you realise.

Income Support

If you’re not available to work due to childcare commitments or health reasons, you could be entitled to income support. Some people on very low incomes who work less than 16 hours a week can also make a claim. Generally, the eligibility criteria covers parents with a child under 5 or those with sickness or disability issues that impact on their ability to work. The amount you receive varies according to individual circumstances.

Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)

In most cases, once your child reaches 5 you will be moved onto JSA if you are out of work. This means you must be available to work, but you can choose a job that fits around school hours as long you can commit to a minimum of 16 hours a week. If you cannot work due to illness or disability, you may be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance.

Child Tax Credits

Both parents in and out of work can receive Child Tax Credits. There is no official income limit, but your eligibility and the amount you receive will depend on your personal circumstances. This can include the number of children you have and any disabilities they suffer from.

Working Tax Credit

Those on low wages who work over 16 hours a week will be eligible for Working Tax Credit. This also includes a Childcare Element, which provides help paying for certain approved forms of childcare, including childminders, nurseries and after school clubs.

Child Maintenance

financial help for single parentsWhen you separate from your children’s other parent, you should try and come to an amicable agreement regarding maintenance. If you are unable to do this yourself, then you can use the Child Maintenance Options system. This free support aims to help both parents come to an agreement. As a final point of contact, the Child Maintenance Service can collect and make the payments for you. However, there is a fee attached to using this for new cases.

Housing Benefit

If you’re a single parent on a low income or receiving certain benefits, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit to cover some or all of your rent. The amount you receive will depend on your circumstances, such as whether you’re in private or social housing and the number of children you have.

Support for Mortgage Interest

Many people with mortgages don’t realise they could be entitled to this benefit. It offers help for those on certain benefits to cover interest payments on a mortgage.

Budgeting Loan

If you’re on particular benefits you might be able to take out a budgeting loan. These are interest free loans from £100 to cover essentials, including rent and furniture.

Other benefits for single parents

If you claim some of the above benefits you might also be eligible for other financial help if you have young children. This includes Healthy Start Food vouchers, which can be used towards the cost of milk, fruit and vegetables; free school meals (universally provided for children under 7) and help towards the cost of school uniforms.

Whether you’re a new single parent or your circumstances have changed, it’s worth checking exactly what you could be entitled to. Any additional money can help towards the cost of raising your children.

 

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About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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