Let’s not sugar coat it: single parenting is challenging! And the added financial burden can make things even more difficult. However, in the UK, there are several benefits available to single parents that can help to reduce some of the financial strain. Below, we explore the various benefits available to single parents in the UK and how to access them.
Child Benefit is a tax-free payment that can be claimed by anyone responsible for a child under the age of 16 (or under 20 if they are still in education or training). Single parents are eligible for this benefit, and it can be claimed regardless of income. The current weekly rate for Child Benefit is £21.15 for the eldest or only child and £14.00 for each additional child. It's important to note that if your income is over £50,000, you may have to pay back some or all of your Child Benefit through a tax charge. Find out more at gov.uk/child-benefit.
Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit that provides financial support to those on low incomes or not working. Single parents can claim Universal Credit if they are responsible for a child under the age of 16 (or under 20 if they are still in education or training). The amount you can receive will depend on your income and circumstances, and it can include a basic allowance, a child element, and a housing element. You can apply for Universal Credit online, and the amount that you receive will be adjusted automatically if your circumstances change. Find out more at gov.uk/universal-credit.
Housing Benefit is a means-tested benefit that helps low-income individuals with the cost of rent. Single parents who are renting a property may be eligible for this benefit specifically designed to help with accommodation costs. The amount that you receive will depend on your income, savings, and circumstances, and it can help to cover all or part of your rent. You can apply for Housing Benefit through your local council, and you must notify them of any changes in your circumstances that may affect your entitlement. Find out more at gov.uk/housing-benefit.
Council Tax Reduction is another means-tested benefit to help with the cost of council tax for those on a low income. Single parents may be eligible for Council Tax Reduction if they are responsible for a child under the age of 18. The total amount that you can receive will depend on your income, savings, and circumstances, and it can help cover all or part of your council tax bill. Again, you can apply for Council Tax Reduction through your local council. Find out more at gov.uk/apply-council-tax-reduction.
Even if you don’t qualify for a council tax reduction, you can apply for a single person council tax discount. Find out more at gov.uk/apply-for-council-tax-discount.
Single parents who are on a low income may also be eligible for free school meals for their children. This benefit can help reduce the cost of living and ensure that children receive a nutritious meal during the school day, and alleviate the stress and cost of putting together a lunchbox every day. To be eligible, you must be receiving certain benefits, such as Income Support or Universal Credit, and your child must attend a state school. You can apply at gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals.
These are some of the UK state benefits available to single parents to help ease the financial burden. It's important to research and understand the benefits available to you and how to access them to ensure that you are receiving the support that you are entitled to. Additionally, there may be other forms of support available to single parents, such as childcare vouchers, tax credits, and grants, so it's worth exploring all options to find what works best for you and your family. Remember that seeking financial support is not a sign of weakness, and you are entitled to support to help you and your children live the best life possible.