18 April, 2009

Family Breakdown

Unfortunately not all things may last forever, and separation and divorce is part of the reality of life. Should you and your partner split, you will need to know where you stand financially. This is particularly important if you are not earning and / or have residency of children.

familyBecoming a Lone Parent
As a lone parent you are entitled to certain benefits. Your eligibility is dependent on your circumstances, and you may already have been in receipt of some of these as a parent before the split. Here are some of the family and child orientated benefits you may need to consider.

dwp logoChild Benefit
What is it? - A tax-free benefit to help parents with the cost of caring for their children. It is payable for each child from birth until at least age 16.

Who gets it? - Child Benefit is paid to people who are responsible for a child - usually the mother. It does not depend on your income or National Insurance contributions, but you must generally have been living in the United Kingdom for at least six months.

website Web site: Child Benefits Information

Phone Icon Phone: 08701 555 540 - Child Benefit Helpline

Inland RevenueWorking Tax Credit
What is it? - Working Tax Credit is designed to help people on low incomes whether they are employed or self-employed and can include support for qualifying childcare.

Who gets it? - Nine out of ten families with children can get tax credits, but you don't need children to qualify for Working Tax Credit. Extra help is available for people working 30 or more hours per week, people with a disability, or people over 50 who recently returned to work after a period on benefit.

website Web site: Inland Revenue - Tax Credits

Child Trust Fund
The Child Trust Fund (CTF) is a Government scheme aimed at encouraging people to save. Each child born from 1 September 2002 will get £250, which will go into a special savings account, called a Child Trust Fund. Families on low-incomes, who qualify for full Child Tax Credit, will receive £500.

The idea behind the CTF is that parents, family members and friends will be able to add to the money provided by the Government, but that the children will not be able to access the funds until they are 18 years old. They will then be able to use the money however they want to.

website Web site: Inland Revenue - Child Trust Funds

JCP logoIncome Support
If you are on a low income and are a lone parent, it is likely that you will qualify for Income Support. As a lone parent you will not have to attend the Job Centre regularly, however you will usually have to go to a meeting with a Personal Adviser before you can get Income Support initially.

website Web site: Income Support

Contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
JSA is an allowance that lasts for up to 26 weeks for people who are unemployed or working less than 16 hours a week (it used to be called Unemployment Benefit).

You get it if you have paid enough National Insurance contributions during the last two tax years that do not overlap the current calendar year. You have to be available for work and actively seeking work. If you have caring responsibilities you can restrict your availability for work to fit around these responsibilities, as long as you remain available for work for at least 16 hours a week.

website Web site: Job Centre - Benefits

new deal logoNew Deal for Lone Parents
New Deal for Lone Parents is a scheme to help lone parents who want to work. If you want to go back to work, and are looking for work to suit your lifestyle, but don't know how to get started, or think you may need training but are unsure where to get help, then New Deal may be right for you.

If you are a lone parent and work 16 hours or less, and have a child below the age of 16 years, the programme is available to you.

You will have a personal adviser who will help you look for the type of work you want, the training you require, and advise you regarding the childcare you need.

website Web site: New Deal for Lone Parents

Phone: 0800 868 868  |  Text Phone: 0845 6060680 - New Deal for Lone Parents

dwp logoChild Support Maintenance
Child Support Maintenance is designed to provide additional support to parents raising children alone. If you fit the two following descriptions, you may wish to consider applying...
  • Are you bringing up a child who has a parent living somewhere else in the UK, or working abroad for a UK based employer, or is a member of HM Armed Forces living abroad?

  • Are you claiming Income Support or income based Jobseeker's Allowance?

website Web site: Child support Maintenance

Child Maintenance Bonus and Child Maintenance Premium
The Child Maintenance Bonus (CMB) is to help people who are in receipt of Child Maintenance to leave benefits and return to work. It is a one-off payment of up to a £1000, but may include payments decided by a court order, the CSA or voluntary contributions. If in Scotland, this can be claimed by the child (aged 12 years or over).

Child Maintenance Premium was introduced for CMB payments calculated after 3 March 2003. Under the new rules you are permitted to keep the first £10 of any maintenance paid to your children.

website Web site: Child Maintenance Bonus and Child Maintenance Premium

The Child Support Agency
The Child Support Agency is part of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The Child Support Agency is responsible for running the child support system. Their business is to assess, collect and pay child support maintenance, ensuring that parents who live apart meet their financial responsibilities to their children.

It may be that the CSA become involved when you first approach the Benefits Agency. However if you wish to make an application direct, you can do so...
  • An application can be made by either the Parent (or Person) with care or the non-resident parent (or a child in Scotland).

  • An application can only be considered if all the people involved are habitually resident in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, unless the non-resident parent is:

    • in the armed forces, civil service, NHS etc.
    • or working for a UK company and living abroad.

  • There must also not be a court order or written maintenance agreement in force dated before 5 April 1993

Further advice and support is available from the Department of Work and pensions, or the CSA direct.

website Web site: Child Support Agency

info More Information: Housing

info More Information: Legal - Marital Breakdown

info More Information: Relationships - Separation & Divorce

info More Information: Financial

info More Information: NPFS / RM Welfare

info More Information: RNcom Help Desk

Child Support AgencyUseful Contacts:
The Child Support Agency
The Child Support Agency is part of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The Child Support Agency is responsible for running the child support system. Their business is to assess, collect and pay child support maintenance, ensuring that parents who live apart meet their financial responsibilities to their children.

dwp logo
The Department for Work and Pensions
You will find more information about benefits, Child Maintenance and Tax Credits, with links to all the appropriate government departments on this site.

website Web site: Dept of Work & Pensions- Benefits Advise

Inland Revenue
Inland Revenue Tax Credit Helpline
For information about the Working Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit.

website Web site: Inland Revenue

Phone Icon Phone: 0845 300 3900 - Tax Credit Helpline

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