Are you getting all the benefits you should be?

Last updated: 11/08/2022

We know, for many single parents, this is an incredibly difficult time. In order maximise your income, check you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to.

We have listed below benefits you might be entitled to.

Money to pay for day to day living expenses

Universal Credit

Universal Credit provides financial support, for living expenses, childcare and housing costs, to working age people and their families. Amounts are paid for you, your children. It can also provide money towards rent and childcare costs.

The actual amount you get is based on your family’s circumstances and income but you do not have to be working to get it.

Single parents aged 16 to 65 can claim Universal Credit. The upper age will increase in line with the qualifying age for state pension. Pregnant women aged 16 and over can claim it from 11 weeks before their baby is due.

Universal Credit needs to be claimed online and is calculated and paid monthly in arrears.

For more information and how to apply see: Universal Credit

New style Jobseeker's Allowance and new style Employment and Support Allowance

If you have made the necessary National Insurance contributions you may get new style Jobseeker’s Allowance or new style Employment and Support Allowance if you stop working. You get new style Jobseeker’s Allowance if you are made redundant or leave your job for reasons other than illness or disability. You get new style Employment and Support Allowance if you leave work due to illness or disability.

New style Jobseeker’s Allowance  weekly rates:

Single parents aged 16 or 17: £61.05

Single parents aged 18 and over: £77.00

New style Employment and Support Allowance weekly rates:

Single parent aged 16 or 17: £61.05

Single parent 18 and over: £77.00

Additional support component: £40.60

For more information and how to apply see: Benefits based on your National Insurance contributions

Benefits if you or your children have a disability or long-term illness

Personal Independence Payment

You may get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if you are between 16  and pension age and have a medical condition, or disability, that affects your ability to participate in everyday life.

The illness or disability can be physical or mental and you must have had it for three months before you claim and be expected to have the condition for nine months after.

How much you get depends on how you condition affects you.

Personal Independence Payment weekly rates:

Daily living component standard rate: £61.85
Daily living component enhanced rate: £92.40

Mobility component standard rate: £24.45
Mobility component enhanced rate: £64.50

PIP is paid every 4 weeks into your bank account.

For more information and how to apply see: Personal Independence Payment

Child Disability Payment and Child Winter Heating Assistance Payment

Child Disability Payment is given to help with the extra costs of caring for a child, or young person up to the age of 18, with a disability or long-term ill-heath condition. It has replaced Disability Living Allowance for children living in Scotland. 

To get Child Disability Payment your child must meet the following conditions;-

  • be living in Scotland and
  • be under 16 when you apply (but can continue to receive it until they are 18)
  • need help with their personal care because of their physical or mental disability or illness and/or
  • need help when moving around because of their physical or mental disability or illness and
  • have had their disability or illness for 3 months before you apply and be expected to have it for at least 6 months after.

Your child does not need to have a diagnosis, but you may have to provide evidence of how their disability or health condition affects them.

The amount you will get for your child depends on how much help they need.

There are 2 amounts called components. The care component is paid for the day to day help your child needs with things like dressing, washing and eating. Your child can get this from 3 months old. The mobility component is to help with the extra help your child needs to physically get around and to stay safe when they are moving around. A child can get the mobility component from age 3.

The care component has 3 rates and the mobility component has 2.

Care component

  • High rate £92.40
  • Middle rate £61.85
  • Low rate £24.45

Mobility component

  • High rate £64.50
  • Low rate £24.45

For more information and how to apply see: Financial help for children with a disability or long-term illness

 

Child Winter Heating Assistance is given to help with the cost of heating the homes of severely disabled children.

To get Child Winter Heating Assistance your child must meet the following conditions on the whole of the third week in September:-

  • be living in Scotland and
  • be getting the highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, Child Disability Payment or the enhanced daily living rate of Personal Independence Payment and
  • be under 19 years old

You do not need to apply for this benefit as it will be paid automatically if your child meets these conditions. It will be paid in November or December. You will get a letter telling you when it is paid.

Child Winter Heating Assistance is £214.10 each year. It is paid for each child who qualifies so families could get more than one payment.

For more information visit: https://www.mygov.scot/child-winter-heating-assistance

Adult Disability Payment

Adult Disability Payment is replacing Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults in Scotland. It is a benefit from the Scottish Government but is very similar to DLA and PIP. The amount you get will be the same as for DLA and PIP.

It is being rolled out in stages and is already available in Dundee City, Perth and Kinross and the Western Isles, Angus, North and South Lanarkshire, Fife, City of Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, North, East and South Ayrshire local authority areas.

It is expected to be available to all new applicants in Scotland from 29 August 2022.

If you live in an area where Adult Disability Payment is available you can apply for it but not DLA or PIP.

Adults already getting DLA or PIP will be transferred to Adult Disability Payment from August 2022.

For more information and how to apply see: Financial help if you have a disability or long term illness

Benefits if you care for someone

Carers Allowance

You may get Carer’s Allowance if you care for an adult or child for at least 35 hours per week. The care you provide can include helping the person you care for to wash, cook, shop and attend medical appointments. The person you care for does not have to live with or be related to you.

You can only receive one award of Carer’s Allowance even if you care for more than one person for more than 35 hours each.

You can get Carer’s Allowance, providing you meet the other criteria, if you are disabled or have a carer yourself.

If the person you care for has several carers only one can receive Carer’s Allowance.

Carer’s Allowance is  £69.70 per week.

For more information and how to apply see: Carer’s Allowance

Carers Allowance supplement

If you are receiving Carer’s Allowance, you will also receive a supplement from the Scottish Government.  It is paid automatically into your bank account in June and December.

The supplement is £237.90 paid twice a year.

 

Young Carer Grant

If you are 16, 17 or 18 years old and care for someone who is getting Personal Independence Payment (PIP) daily living component, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Child Disability Payment care component at middle or highest rate, Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance or Armed Forces Independence Payment you may be able to claim a young carer’s grant.

The grant of £317.70 is paid once a year and you may be able to get it for 3 years.

For more information and how to apply see: Financial help if you are caring for someone with a disability or illness

Benefits for your children

Child Benefit

You can get Child Benefit for each child, or young person, that you are responsible for. That usually means that they live with you and you take care of their day to day needs. You do not have to be their parent.

A child is someone who is under 16 years of age. A qualifying young person is someone between 16 and under 20 in full-time non-advanced, or further, education.

Only one person can get Child Benefit for each child even if you share their care with someone else.

Child Benefit weekly rates:

First or only child: £21.80
Second and subsequent children: £14.45

 

For more information and how to apply see: Child Benefit

Scottish Child Payment

The Scottish Child Payment is £20 per week given by the Scottish Government for each eligible child under 6 years old.

It will be rolled out to children between the age of 6 and 16 by the end of 2022.

You can get it for each child under 6 years old if you are receiving one of the benefits below:

  • Universal Credit, or waiting for your first payment of Universal Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

For more information and how to apply see: Scottish Child Payment

Educational Maintenance Allowance

Young people aged 16 to 19 who stay in school or college may get the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

Your child may get the EMA if your income is below £24,421 or £26,884 if you have more than one child who qualifies.

For more information and how to apply see: EMA

Money if you are pregnant

Statutory Maternity Pay

Statutory Maternity Pay is paid for 39 weeks by your employer. You’ll receive 90% of your average weekly earnings for six weeks followed by 33 weeks at £156.66 or 90% of earnings if this is less.

To qualify you must have been employed continuously by the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before your baby is due. You must also have earned at least £123 per week (before tax) over the last eight weeks. Your employer arranges Statutory Maternity Pay and it will be paid to you in the same way as your salary.

For more information see: Money when you’re expecting or have just had a baby 

Maternity Allowance

If you do not get Statutory Maternity Pay from your employer you may get a benefit called Maternity Allowance instead. This could be the case if you are self-employed, changed your job during pregnancy, have just started a new job or are on a low income.

Maternity Allowance is paid for 39 weeks and you will receive 90% of your earnings, or £156.66 per week, whichever is less.

To qualify you must have been working for any 26 weeks out of the 66 weeks before your baby’s due date. The 26 weeks do not have to be in a row or with the same employer. You must also have earned £30 per week or more.

For more information see: Money when you’re expecting or have just had a baby 

 

Best Start Grant

The Scottish Government has introduced a grant to help with the costs of a new baby called the Best Start Grant. This has replaced the Sure Start Maternity Grant which is no longer available in Scotland.

The Best Start Grant includes 3 different payments:

  • Best Start Pregnancy and Baby Payment – to help with the costs of pregnancy and having a new baby. You will receive £642.35 from your 25th week of pregnancy to 6 months after the birth of your first child and £321.20 on the birth of any following children.
  • Best Start Early Learning Payment – a payment of £267.65 to help with the costs of early learning. It is paid when your child is between 2 years and 3 years 6 months old. Your child does not need to be in nursery to get it. If you did not get the Pregnancy and Baby Payment you can still apply for this part.
  • Best Start School Age Payment – a further payment of £267.65 to help with the additional costs when your child is school age. Your child does not need to start school to get this.

For more information and how to apply see: Best Start Grant

Best Start Foods

Best Start Foods is a voucher scheme for children and pregnant women. Vouchers, worth £18 or £36 are added onto a prepaid digital smartcard every 4 weeks. They can be used for formula milk, cow’s milk, fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables at participating shops.

If you get vouchers you automatically qualify for free vitamins available from health centres.

Vouchers are awarded to each of the following groups:

  • £18 every 4 weeks if you are under 18 years of age and at least 10 weeks pregnant whether or not you receive any benefits
  • £18 every 4 weeks if you are over 18 years of age, at least 10 weeks pregnant and receive a qualifying benefit
  • £36 every 4 weeks if you have a baby under one year old and receive a qualifying benefit (Note: The year starts from the expected date of delivery and not the date of birth, so vouchers may be received for more or less than one year)
  • £18 every 4 weeks if you have a child who is over 1 and under 4 years old and you get a qualifying benefit.

For more information and how to apply see: Best Start Foods

The Baby Box

All new-born babies in Scotland will be given a free Baby Box containing useful items including:

  • clothes, from new-born up to 6 months
  • a digital ear thermometer
  • a bath towel
  • a changing mat
  • books

The box has a mattress, mattress protector and a fitted sheet, and can be used for your baby to sleep in. Your midwife will help you register for it at your 18 -20 or 28 week antenatal appointment. You don’t need to do anything else. Your baby box will arrive between weeks 28 to 32 of your pregnancy.

Help to pay for childcare

From Universal Credit

An amount to help pay for registered childcare is added to your Universal Credit if you are working. It does not matter how many hours you work but there is a limit on how much you can get. 85% of your childcare costs can be paid but the most you can get is £646.35 per month for 1 child or £1108.04 per month for two or more children.

You can get help with childcare costs for more than two children.

You cannot usually get help with childcare costs if you are not working but can get help to pay them in the assessment period before you start work. You need to prove you have a firm job offer that you intend to accept.

Maximum amount for one child (85% of £760 limit): £646.35
Maximum amount for two or more children (85% of £1,300 limit): £1,108.04

For more information and how to apply see: Universal Credit

From Working Tax Credit

No new claims can be made for tax credits but if you are already getting them you will continue to do so until your circumstances change or you are invited to claim Universal Credit instead.

Tax credits provide money to cover the day to day living expenses and can also help with the cost of childcare.

Childcare element of Working Tax Credit

One child (70% of up to £175.00 p/w of registered childcare costs): up to £122.50 p/w

Two or more children (70% of up to £300.00 p/w of registered childcare costs): up to £210.00 p/w

Note:  If you earn above £6565 per year, your working tax credit, including the childcare element, will be reduced so you may not receive the full 70% of your childcare costs.

For more information see: Tax Credits

Early Learning Childcare hours

In Scotland 3, 4 and some 2 year olds can get 1,140 hours per year of free Early Learning and Childcare. It is funded by the Scottish Government.

This works out at 30 hours per week of free childcare if you only use it during term time or 22 hours per week if you use it throughout the year

The free Early Learning and Childcare hours are available for all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds.

For more information see: Early Learning and Childcare

Help from the council

Free school meals

Your child can get free lunches in school if you get:

  • Universal Credit (where your monthly earned income is not more than £660)
  • Income Support
  • income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

For more information and how to apply see: Free School Meals

School clothing grant

You may be able to get financial help with your child’s school clothing and shoes. This help is called a ‘school clothing grant’. You apply to your local council.

It’s normally a cash grant paid directly to your bank account.

Who can apply and the amount of money you’ll get depends on your local council. Everybody who gets a school clothing grant will get at least:

  • £120 per child of primary school age
  • £150 per child of secondary school age

For more information and how to apply see: School Clothing Grant

Discretionary housing payment

If you have a shortfall between the Housing Benefit you receive and the rent you pay – including a shortfall caused by the bedroom subsidy – you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment to make up the difference. You must be entitled to Housing Benefit in order to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

Ask for a Discretionary Housing Payment form from your local council’s housing department.

For more information see: Housing options.

Help if you are in a crisis or on a low income

Budgeting Advances and Loans

If you get Universal Credit, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment or Support Allowance you can apply for a Budgeting Advance or Loan to pay for things you need to start or stay in work or essential household items.

Which one you get and how much depends on what other benefits you receive and what you need it for, but the amount will be between £100 and £812.

Budgeting Advances and Loans need to be paid back so before applying it is worthwhile checking with a Welfare Rights Officer at your local council, a Citizens Advice Bureau or other support service to see if there are grants or benefits you can get that do not have to be repaid.

For more information and how to apply see: Budgeting Advances and Loans

Help to pay for a funeral

Funeral Support Payment is money to help pay for the costs of a funeral or cremation. It can help pay for the cost of the funeral of an adult, a child or a still born baby born after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

You may get Funeral Support Payment if the person who died lived in the UK and the funeral is taking, or has taken, place in the UK. You must also be getting certain benefits.

For more information and how to apply see: Help to pay for a funeral 

Scottish welfare fund – crisis grant, community care grant

You must be 16 or older and on a low income, or getting certain benefits, to apply for a grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund.

There are different grants you can apply for depending on your circumstances. You do not need to pay these grants back.

For more information and how to apply see: The Scottish Welfare Fund

Help with NHS costs

If you are receiving certain benefits or have an income under a specific amount you may get help to pay for the cost of NHS services and equipment. These include things like dental treatment, glasses and travel to and from hospital.

For more information see: NHS Inform – help with health costs

Help if you’re a student

If you are a student and in financial difficulty you can ask for help from the college or university’s Discretionary Funds. How these funds are used is decided by the college or university. They can be given for anything considered necessary to help you to continue your studies.

Talk to your Student Financial Adviser at the college or university to apply.

Colleges and universities also have Covid Funds to help you with the extra costs of studying from home.

Check if you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to.

You can call the Lone Parent Helpline or use the benefit checking tools in the links below to see if you are getting the right amount of benefits and if there are others you could apply for.

 

Help to apply for benefits

Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB)

Your local CAB may be able to help you identify benefits you can apply for and help you apply for them. They can also help you deal with any debt you have.

To find details of your nearest CAB click here

Welfare Rights Officer at your local council

Contact your local council for an appointment with a Welfare Rights Officer who can help you apply for benefits.

Social Security Scotland

Contact Social Security Scotland for help to apply for benefits from the Scottish Government including Scottish Child Payment, Child and Adult Disability Payment.

Telephone: 0800 182 2222


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