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Many are unaware of the financial benefits that may be available and there may be a misconception that benefits are only available for the unemployed.
Parents in England and Wales are entitled to claim Child Benefit, a monthly payment to support with the costs of children, if ‘responsible for the child’ and if the child is less than 16 years old, or 16- 20 years and still in education/training. Only one parent can receive the payment, with the current 2020/21 tax year payment amount at £21.05 per week for the first child and £13.95 a week for any children after that.
If you are a single parent and have the main day to day care of a child, regular child maintenance payments should be paid by the other separated parent. This is financial support that helps towards a child’s everyday living costs such as food, clothing and other essentials.
Additionally, there are various welfare benefits that may be available to single parents. This will be determined by your income, whether you have claimed benefits before and any benefits you are currently in receipt of. Click here to view the benefits/financial support that may be available to single parents.
The current benefits system is evolving and working out exactly what you are entitled to can be complex. The quickest and simplest way to work out what you are entitled is to input accurate information regarding your circumstances into a benefits calculator tool. There are various free, online tools which will outline what you are entitled to and how to claim. For further information about these benefits and to access a benefits calculator contact the Health Assured helpline. There are also great resources available online from organisation such as:
Turn2us - is a national charity that provides specialist benefits advice and guidance, supporting those in financial hardship to gain access to welfare benefits and charitable grants.
Gingerbread - is a national charity that supports single parent families, providing advice and practical support. Gingerbread provide various information on benefits, tax credits and Universal Credit, including a benefits calculator to work out what you may be entitled to.
The One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) service provides free telephone advice for single parents to address financial struggles and childcare services. Their Advice Guide tells you more about the changes to benefits in Scotland and how single parents may claim them. You can also contact their free helpline to access confidential information on benefit/tax credit entitlement.
Parenting NI is a charitable support helpline providing advice and guidance for lone parents specifically located in Northern Ireland. They can be located through their website or their free helpline.
Furthermore, visit NI Direct for more information about benefits you may be able to apply for.
The One-Parent Family payment is a means tested payment specifically available for lone parents without the financial support of a partner. More information can be found on the Citizens Information website, including eligibility criteria, or via their helpline.
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