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.

At this time of year we receive many enquiries from parents thinking about important changes to their benefits, child maintenance etc when their youngest or only child reaches 16.


Take a look at the FAQ's

My son is going to be 16 and staying on at school will he be able to apply for a bursary or anything?

Depending on your income he may be able to claim Education Maintenance Allowances (EMA) which give financial support to eligible 16 to 19 year olds who want to continue learning.
EMA is a weekly payment of £30, paid every 2 weeks in arrears.

More info and how to apply.

My youngest son is going to be leaving school and starting university soon, my ex-husband said that he is stopping the child maintenance payments can he do this? I thought the payments would have continued throughout his education.

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
A child’s parent can continue to pay maintenance voluntarily, or by a court agreement, after child benefit has stopped but it cannot be arranged through the Child Maintenance Service.

My son is turning 16 and wants to get a part time job whilst at school, will this affect the benefits I get for him?

No, whilst your son remains at school you will continue to receive your full benefits entitlement and your son can work part time.

When will I lose my single adult discount in council tax? My twin boys are turning 18 in August and both going to college to do HNC’s.

You can continue to receive your discount whilst your sons are in full time education, they will remain exempt from council tax whilst studying full time, your local council tax office may ask for evidence that you can get from the college.

What age does child benefit stop?

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.

When will I stop receiving the child element of universal credit for my oldest?

The child element of universal credit will stop when the child benefit stops when the young person.

When my son goes to university is there anything I can claim, I’m getting tax credits and only working 16 hours so tax credits will stop.

You may be entitled to universal credit depending on your circumstances, you can get in touch on our advice channels, and we can do a benefit check and ensure you are getting what you are entitled too.

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