Single Parent Benefits
Sometimes we all need a helping hand in life, whether that’s from family, friends, or the government and there’s absolutely no shame whatsoever in that. If you are struggling to make ends meet on a single income there could be funds available to you in the form of certain benefits.
Claiming benefits can be complicated, confusing and time-consuming for some, however, having the right advice for you and your family should make things much easier. Use this link to the government’s Benefits Calculator to find out what you’re entitled to and how to claim it.
When you find yourself managing on a single income it can become increasingly difficult to make ends meet and pay for everything you and your family need. This is why the benefit system exists, to help those in true financial need. Here at Dream Bear we still hear of parents not claiming benefits when they are likely eligible for them because of a number of reasons but most often not understanding what they can claim for, how it works or sadly not claiming because of worries about the preconceptions many people hold regarding those who claim benefits.
At the end of the day if your household isn’t eligible for benefits you won’t be able to claim any, and they certainly aren’t given out easily. If then you are eligible it stands to reason that your circumstances are considered such that you do need financial help and so if it is offered, take it and stigma be damned. If applying for and claiming benefits when you are in need helps you look after your family then it is worth the effort.
The benefit system works in mysterious ways and while we at Dream Bear can’t tell you for definite what you can claim and how much (these things are worked on with individual circumstances in mind) we can help you navigate the system, highlight the different types of benefits you can apply for and more.
There are a lot of misconceptions about claiming benefits and what you can and can’t do and it is this misinformation that often prevents families in need from applying for benefits. Did you know for example that even if you are working you may be eligible to claim tax credits, even get help towards childcare costs? Did you know that if you are eligible for housing benefit that you might also be eligible for council tax benefit? As the sole adult occupant in a property you may also qualify for the single person’s council tax rate.
Here at Dream Bear you will find all of the information and advice you need on claiming the benefits you are entitled to.
As a single parent, you are probably still responsible for at least one child under the age of sixteen. If so, or if you are caring for a child up to the age of twenty who is in “approved education or training” (not higher education, such as a university degree or BTEC qualification) you need to make sure you are receiving Child Benefit.
The current amount payable is *£20.50 per week for your only/oldest child and then £13.70 for any additional children. Child Benefit is usually paid every four weeks, on a Monday or Tuesday but, as a single parent, you can choose to have this paid weekly instead. Please visit this government web page about Child Benefit which will explain what you are entitled to, how to claim, and also any further information such as what to do if you undergo a change in circumstances.
If you are a working single parent you may be struggling with child care, especially if your children are not yet of school age. Speak to your employer as they may be able to help with childcare costs through childcare vouchers, a workplace nursery or “directly contracted” childcare. Obviously, these types of benefits can have an adverse effect on other benefits you may be getting such as working and child tax credits so make sure you find out all the information before making a decision that could negatively affect your income as a lone parent.
Please take a look at the benefits entitlement section of the government website by clicking here. You can also click on the following link for a dedicated leaflet you can download, explaining everything you need to know about childcare vouchers: Paying for childcare – Getting help from your employer
Housing and Council Tax
As a single parent, you may have no other option than to seek help with the cost of your housing and council tax. A lot of people have the misconception that the only help available is to be housed as a council tenant. However, if you have a low income or are unemployed, you can get help with private renting. This is called housing benefit and how much you receive will depend on your income and circumstances. Please take a look at the Government’s latest guidance on housing benefit which explains in detail exactly how housing benefit works. You may also make use of their online calculator to see if there is any other benefit you may be entitled to.
Looking After a Child With Disabilities or Medical Needs
If you are caring for a child under the age of sixteen who has a disability you should apply for financial aid and what you receive will depend on your child’s individual condition and needs. Please see the link below, to be transferred to the government website for further information:
The Money Saving Expert website also has some great information regarding benefits and childcare costs, saving tips, calculators, recent deals and much more. You can find all this by following the links below.
Here at Dream Bear, we understand that you might prefer to go it alone and not claim benefits however if you are struggling the help is there for you and your family. You needn’t claim forever, just until you get back on your feet and are able to manage without them. Do at least take the first step and see what you could be entitled to.
*All amounts and benefit types were correct at the time of writing, however, things do change so make sure you check key information based on your individual circumstances.