Single Parent FAQs: What happens when my child gets older?


Our advice and information team who work on our Lone Parent Helpline, webchat and Ask a Question feature, receive questions from single parents around Scotland every day.

Our new feature – Single Parent FAQs – on our newsletter and blog spotlights Frequently Asked Questions on a different topic each month.

This month, our advice team have been receiving a lot of calls from single parents regarding what happens when their children get older.

Take a look at the FAQ's

My child turns 16 next month, he is staying at school, can he apply for any benefits?

Depending on your household income your son can apply for an Educational Maintenance Allowance gives financial support to eligible 16-to-19-year old’s who want to continue in non-advanced education. More information and how your young person can claim can be found here.

Will I be able to still claim benefits for my daughter that has started part time work whilst she is at school?

Yes, whilst your daughter remains at school you will continue to receive your full benefits entitlement. Whilst your daughter works part time.

What age will child benefit stop, that is the only benefit I receive?

Child benefit can be paid whilst your child is in full time non advanced education. Child Benefit stops automatically on 31 August after your child’s 16th birthday. Child Benefit can continue for a child under 20 years old if they stay in ‘approved’ further education or training. If your child stays in ‘approved’ education Child Benefit can continue to be paid, you will have to let HMRC know they are continuing in education more info can be found here.

I was wanting to find out what approved education or training means?

Non-advanced education and training courses and Further Education that your child studies in school or at college.

These are SCQF level 6 and below including: –

  • Standard Grades
  • National 5
  • Highers
  • Advanced National Certificates
  • SVQs up to level 3
  • Ordinary National Diplomas
  • Advanced Highers
  • Modern Apprenticeships that do not form part of a contract of employment

The school or college can tell you if a course is non-advanced if you are not sure.

My youngest child is starting university in September, I am really worried about my income, will I be able to claim anything at all?

What you claim all depends on if you work, the hours you work, how much your housing costs are etc.  you can call our helpline and we can give you advice and do a benefit check to see if you are entitled to anything when your youngest starts university. See information on how to contact us.

My ex-partner has said that he is not paying any more child maintenance when our youngest child is 16, can he do this?

Your ex-partner should continue paying child maintenance to you until the child benefit has stopped, if this is not the case then you should contact the Child Maintenance Service.

My daughter is unsure what she wants to do, she never got the results required for her college course she is 17 and about to leave school can I claim anything for her whilst she decides what to next?

You can apply for a Child Benefit Extension Period for 16- and 17-year old’s which means you can keep child benefit and any other benefits for up to 20 weeks longer or until your daughter turns 18, whichever comes first. To get the extension your child must not be working more than 23 hours per week and be within 3 months of her leaving training or education, she would also have to register for employment or training with a careers service. To find your local careers service office you can call the Skills Development Scotland Helpline: 0800 917 8000.

My son is no longer entitled to Child Benefit from this week because he is starting university now, does that mean my universal credit will stop?

Your child element of Universal Credit will stop, you may still be entitled to universal credit for yourself and housing costs, but this will depend on your circumstances. One of our advisers would be able to calculate this for you and see if there is anything else you can claim. You can contact us here.

Will I lose my single persons discount now my son is 18 and starting college full time?

Your son will be exempt from council tax whilst he is a full-time student, they may ask for confirmation from the college that he is studying at.

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