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Advice and Entitlements for Lone Parents

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 7 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
Advice And Entitlements For Lone Parents

If you have suddenly found yourself a single mum, the reality can be frightening. Even if your former partner is helping you out financially and is a good dad, being on your own with responsibility for a child or children can be frightening.

Investigating Flexible Work

Having a decent work/life balance is important, especially if you're on your own. One way to make things easier for you and your children is to investigate the possibility of flexible working. You can either work term-time, part-time or flexi-hours, when you work late some nights and have days off in lieu.

Parents with children under age 6 or disabled children under age 18 who have worked continuously for a firm for 26 weeks or more have the statutory right to ask for flexible working hours under new laws. But your employer can turn you down if he or she has sound business reasons why this would not make sense.

Improving Your Qualifications

Some newly single mums decide to return to education in order to eventually get a better and higher-paying job. If you decide to take this route, you may qualify for a grant to help with childcare costs while you are studying. Three such schemes are the Learner Support Fund, the Parents' Learning Allowance and the Childcare Grant Package.

Single parents can also get help with childcare while they are working under various programmes. Ask your local tax or benefits office for advice about which entitlements you can get.

Top Five Financial Tips for Single Mums

  • If you have custody of the children, in most cases you will have the right to continue living in your own home. For more advice on how to do this, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or speak to Shelter on 0808 800 444.
  • If you just split up from your partner, there is a good chance that you are entitled to new or increased child benefits and tax credits. The first step in finding out about these entitlements is to phone your local tax or benefits office for advice, and to tell them about your change of circumstance.
  • The Child Support Agency, or CSA, will help you to make and finalise child support payments form your partner, if the two of you have been unable to come to an amicable agreement on your own. Their national hotline is 08457 133 133. Make sure you are getting Child Benefit for every child you are taking care of, as well as Child Tax Credit. This could affect other benefits you may be entitled to.
  • ChildCareLink is a government agency that will tell you about registered childcare providers in your area free of charge. Call them on 0800 96 02 96. As part of the New Deal for Lone Parents, or NDLP, you may get help with childcare, call the Tax Credits Helpline on 0845 300 3900 to learn more. You may also want to see if you qualify for Working Tax Credit, formerly Working Families Tax Credit, to help defray childcare costs.
  • You will get a 25 percent discount off your Council Tax if you are the only adult member of your household. Contact your local authority's Council Tax department. For additional questions, you may want to ring the free Lone Parent Helpline, run by One Parent Families/Gingerbread, on 0800 018 5026.

Splitting up is never easy, and although it can be hard you need to make sure all financial matters are taken care of. Good advice means closing joint accounts, getting a court order, if needed, to prevent your ex from disposing of joint assets and making or altering a will – very important when children are involved. You will also need to change things that are in both names, such as utilities, cancel all joint credit cards and keep abreast of your housing rights.

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[Add a Comment]
I am lone parent wanting to work term time 16hours a week wanting to no how much rent I will get toward my housing and how much working tax credit am going to get if I do as I pay £400 towards my rent . So what will I need to add and am I better off or worse off . And how much council tax I pay or any information towards this will be a grate help . Thank you
Ally - 7-Apr-17 @ 9:30 PM
Hi I want to start working term time 16 hours a week as I am a lone parent I would like to no if I am entitle to housing benefit or working tax credits or how much I will get or have to pay or is it worth my while please can somebody help . Thank you
Ally - 7-Apr-17 @ 9:26 PM
Hi, I am a single mum my son is 5, I need to move from where I live as my flatmate is moving.. I can't afford the house payment by myself. I have been to property agencies asking for properties to rent and they said that I need to have £25.000 income a year to be able to rent. I earn £22.600a year from my work. What can I do.. I will be homeless in may if I don't find a place. Please advise. Thanks
Mireles - 25-Mar-17 @ 9:25 PM
Brooxie - Your Question:
Hiya I have a 4 year old daughter and her dad claims all the benefits such as Child tax creditsIncome support Working tax Disability for him self as we have split custody and I'm struggling with finance and I don't know what I'm entitled to can someone give me advice or tell me what I can claim/entilted to and I am working 30 hours a week but can't work anymore than that! Thanks

Our Response:
If parents share care, the one who has the majority of the care or who is considered the primary carer will be the one who is entitled to receive benefits. Some parents agree to split some benefits if one parent is earning less than the other and they are sharing the care, but I'm afraid this would have to be negotiated between yourselves.
AWorkingMum - 6-Sep-16 @ 10:41 AM
Hiya I have a 4 year old daughter and her dad claims all the benefits such as Child tax credits Income support Working tax Disability for him self as we have split custody and I'm strugglingwith finance and I don't know what I'm entitled to can someone give me adviceor tell me what I can claim/entilted to and I am working 30 hours a week but can't work anymore than that! Thanks
Brooxie - 5-Sep-16 @ 11:15 AM
Hi. I am a single mum of 2 under 3, I work 17 hours a week. I have just moved back to the family rented property after my ex was made to leave due to being handy! He paid no rent for the 4 months I left leaving me in serious debt! Moving back now means I have no family to help with the children. Would I be better trying to keep the job which is quite far away or leaving. I have no idea of what I would be entitled to if I left!
Lou - 18-Aug-16 @ 11:22 PM
Lainey- Your Question:
Work 16 hours I a single parent my son has left school he nearly 18 what benefits will o receive

Our Response:
Once your son is classed as an adult in his own right at 18, you can see if you are entitled to any benefits via the Entitledto calculator here .
AWorkingMum - 21-Jun-16 @ 2:00 PM
Work 16 hours I a single parent my son has left school he nearly 18 what benefits will o receive
Lainey - 20-Jun-16 @ 10:17 PM
Hi I'm a single parent of 2 children I work 16 hours a week and pay half my rent if I work 30 what am I entitled too I'm so confused nobody seems to know if it'll be worth it or not!!! Please help!!
Julie - 26-Feb-16 @ 5:49 PM
@Chris - most of the benefits you may be entitled to are listed in the article. I think the best suggestion is for you to call the Gingerbread Single Parent Helpline free on 0808 802 0925, they will be able to give you more tailored advice dependent upon your earnings and that of your ex.
AWorkingMum - 13-Nov-14 @ 10:56 AM
I am a working full time mother working from 8.30am - 5pm.I am a house owner, paying the mortgage each month with a 5 year old at full time school. I am in the process of splitting from my husband and need to know what benefits I would be entitiled to as I want to keep my home. Lisa
Chris - 12-Nov-14 @ 4:23 PM
I am leaving my husband, or hoping he will leave.He is a bad tempered drinker and would like to know what rights I have and benefits.I work 7.5 hours a week as a general assistant in a school kitchen and I hAVE A FOUR YEAR OLD BOY WHO I DON'T WANT TAKING AFTER HIS DAD. Our house is paid for and I have always worked apart from when I had a child(Which my spouse wanted more than me althoughI love him to bits).
Louise - 7-Oct-14 @ 9:59 AM
I am a single parent, today just been sacked for having a child, having four long term illnesses & as I cant be flexible they have sacked me. I will appeal yet what do I do about money.....please help as sacked with no money from today.
jo - 3-Aug-13 @ 12:16 AM
We desperately need to know our rights! I was told by a WP adviser that 'single parents receive no preferential treatment and are classed and treated the same as any other jobseeker'. yet the JC says we only have to work a minimum of 16 hours per week and that we also have the right to work during school hours. so why don't the work programme providers recognise this and the fact that we are not the same as other job seekers because we have the huge respobsibilty of caring for children!
Ami - 23-Mar-12 @ 8:06 PM
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