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Tackling your debts

Getting support when you’re a single parent

Posted 19 July 2016 by Christine Walsh

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Are you finding it difficult to make ends meet? We’ll take you through the possible options to keep your finances on track.

When the unexpected happens it can be all too easy to slip into debt problems, even more so if you’re a single parent relying on one income.

There are many potential triggers that can cause money problems. Research carried out for Debt Advisory Centre indicates that budgeting problems, inconsistent income and part-time work are just a few prime causes of debt problems amongst single mums. The report further highlighted that almost twice as many single mums (53%) struggle with debt repayments compared to mums with a partner (29%).  

It also showed that households headed by single parents are much more vulnerable to struggling with debt.  

find my solution

If you’re struggling, you don’t have to cope alone – there is financial and emotional support out there. To make sure you’re receiving the help you’re entitled to, we’re going to take you through some benefits that might be able to help. 

Working Tax Credit

If you’re on a low income, you may be entitled to claim Working Tax Credit. How much you’ll get will depend on your personal circumstances and whether you’re aged between 16 and 24 and have a child or a disability, or you’re over 25 (with or without a child). 

You must be working a certain amount of hours per week and earn below a certain amount.  You may also be eligible for support to help cover the costs of childcare. 

If you’re looking for more information on the eligibility criteria and how to claim Working Tax Credit, you can do this by contacting the tax credit helpline on 0345 300 3900. 

Child Tax Credit 

You may be able to get help with the costs of supporting a child under 16 (or under 20 if they’re in full time education or training) through claiming Child Tax Credit.  This benefit is available to low income families. 

Depending on your circumstances, you can receive up to £2,780 for each child and extra Child Tax Credits if your child is registered as disabled. You can use the tax credits calculator to see if you'd be eligible to claim.

Child Benefit 

You can claim Child Benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 or under 20 if they’re in full time education or training. The benefit is available if you’re either unemployed or a working parent who has a household annual income under £50,000. If you earn over this threshold and claim, you may have to pay a Child Benefit tax charge.

For more information, you can contact the Child Benefit office on 0300 200 3100.  

Housing Benefit 

If you’re renting and don’t have savings or capital worth more than £16,000, you might be eligible for Housing Benefit. Whether you earn a low income or you’re already receiving benefits, you may be entitled to receive this benefit to help cover or contribute to your rent payments.  

The total amount you can claim will depend on the area you live, whether you have a ‘spare bedroom’ and whether you’re renting privately or

You should check with your local council for more information and details on how to claim. 

 

Council Tax Reduction 

You may be entitled to a reduction in your council tax bill. It will depend on your personal circumstances, income and whether you have any capital such as savings. Each local authority has its own scheme so you should apply to your local council.   

You should check for information on additional support including grants that may be available to you. Be sure to check out the charities turn2us and gingerbread for help and guidance on your benefit entitlements. 

Are you struggling financially?

If you’re struggling with your monthly outgoings and are finding it difficult to make ends meet, there is help and support out there. 

Money problems can be overwhelming and it’s no surprise if you feel like they’re taking over your life. If you’re struggling financially, you may find that just talking about your situation may lift a weight off your shoulders. Read about how you can cope with the pressures that stem from unmanageable debt in our blog. 

With the right advice, you can look forward to a future free from financial struggle. 

You can find lots of free and impartial advice on the Money Advice Service that can help you get back on track. 

Alternately you can speak to one of our debt advisors who are happy to discuss your circumstances and talk you through your options.  You can get in touch by using the options to the left.

by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.