Are you separating from your partner? Or a bereaved lone parent? If so, you may be entitled to single parent benefits. Here’s a quick run-down of benefits for single dads and how to make a claim…
Kids don’t come cheap – we all know that! The older they get, the more they need and the costs soon mount up.
Whether you share childcare with your ex-partner or you’re the sole care provider, you may be entitled to single parent benefits to help manage the costs of bringing up your children.
The single parent benefits you’re eligible for will depend on several factors, including your employment and financial circumstances, and whether or not your children live with you all or most of the time.
If you’re a single dad who is looking for work or on a low income, you may be able to claim Universal Credit to help you cover the costs of housing, looking after your children and childcare.
In many areas of the UK, Universal Credit has replaced several other legacy benefits including Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit. This means, if you’re making a new claim, it’ll likely be for Universal Credit, rather than the separate legacy benefits.
If you are already receiving any of the legacy benefits mentioned above and you have recently become a single dad, you will need to notify HMRC about your change of circumstances. They will review your benefit entitlement and are likely to switch you to Universal Credit, assessing you as either a single person or lone parent.
You’ll need to submit your application for Universal Credit online.
Previously, if you worked at least 16 hours a week but were on a low income, you may have claimed Working Tax Credits. This has now changed to Universal Credit.
With Universal Credit, there are no limits on how many hours a week you can work in order to receive it. All they’ll do is gradually reduce your Universal Credit payments, as you earn more money. You won’t suddenly be left completely out of pocket. If you’re looking for flexible work around your role as a single dad, take a look at our job listings.
Some single dads may also be entitled to work allowance if they are responsible for dependent children and/or cannot work as many hours because of an illness or disability.
It’s worth remembering that benefits are not just for unemployed single parents. A single parent working full time may still be entitled to financial support, like Universal Credit. Check to see if you can make a claim.
As a single dad, you may also qualify for a single person’s discount on your Council Tax bill if there are no other adults in your household. Contact your local council to apply.
Child benefit is paid to parents with dependent children, until the 31st August following your child’s 16th birthday or until the age of 20 if they’re in full-time education. Child benefit is tax-free unless you earn more than £50,000.
Currently, child benefit is £20.70 per week for your first child and £13.70 per week for other children.
Bear in mind that child benefit can only be paid to one parent. This should be the main carer i.e. the parent the child or children usually live with.
If you are a single dad and the main carer for your children, you will be entitled to receive child benefit. If your ex-partner is currently receiving Child Benefit, they can pass it to you voluntarily. If this isn’t possible, you will need to report a change of circumstances to the Child Benefit Office and see if it can be passed to you.
The amount you receive in single parent benefits will depend on your personal circumstances. You may be entitled to some benefits but not others.
Universal Credit is made up of a basic allowance, plus additional money for things like housing costs, children costs and disability costs. So if you are a single dad and the main carer for your children, it’s likely you will receive additional Universal Credit. If you are also on a low income and need help paying for your rent or mortgage, you are likely to qualify for the housing element too.
The amount of Universal Credit you receive will vary depending on the income you receive from working, a pension, other benefits or savings and capital.
workingdads.co.uk also has lots of useful articles for dads looking for flexible work around family commitments.