What benefits can I claim if my Spouse leaves me?

By January 22, 2018
Benefits after divorce

What benefits can I claim if my spouse leaves me?

A divorce is daunting to most but its especially daunting for those that are on a low income.

Was your ex-spouse the sole earner? If so divorce can be a terrifying time. Many have children and a house they need to support but no income to support this.

First things first, there are a few options that might be available to you so please do not panic.

Possible Entitlements

There are many websites and organisations out there offering help and support for divorcing spouses, which is great, but it can be very overwhelming and very confusing at times.

There are benefits out there that you may be entitled too when you become a single earner and there are more if you have children.

Possible benefits include:

• Housing Benefit
• Working Tax Credit
• Reduced Tax or Rates Bill
• Child Tax Credit
• Child Benefit

Housing Benefit

If you are on a low income and are worried about keeping the roof above your head then the first place to look is The Local Housing Allowance rates.

Their website will tell you your bedroom entitlement and maximum LHA (Local Housing Allowance- Housing benefit). Alternatively, you can visit the Gov website to see how to apply.

Working Tax Credit

Working tax credit is designed for that work but earn a low income. If you are eligible you can receive it if you are employed or self-employed.

If eligible the basic amount you could receive is up to £1,960 a year. It’s important to note you cannot receive working tax credit if you are already in receipt of universal credit.

To find out more information and how to apply visit the Gov website.

Reduced tax or rates bill

If you are the only adult living in your home after a separation then you can apply for a single person discount of 25% off your council tax bill.

If you have children over 18 that are still in full-time education then you may still be able to apply for a reduction in your council tax bill due to them not being classed as an adult in council tax proposes.

To apply you can either visit your local council website or visit the Gov website.

Child Tax Credit

Child tax credit is a benefit that helps cover the costs of raising children. It’s there for those who are on a low income and struggle to afford the day-to-day costs of raising children.

To see if you’re elegible & apply for child tax credit visit the Gov website.

Child Benefit

You can receive child benefit if you’re responsible for one or more children under the age of 16 (or under 20 if in full-time education).

Only one parent is able to receive the payment.

The payment is a weekly rate of £20.70 for the eldest or only child and then 13.70 for any additional children.

To apply for child benefit visit the Gov website.

Child Maintenance

It’s very important to remember that if your children are living with you when you separate from your spouse then your ex-spouse will be expected to pay child maintenance for your children.

If you receive child maintenance you will still be entitled to claim any of the above benefits if you are eligible.

The gov website has a child maintenance calculator that can be very useful in working out how much you should expect your ex to pay.

Conclusion

If you do find yourself alone living off a low income fearing the worst then remember that there are people out there who can help.

Not only are there many benefits that you may be entitled to claim but there are also many websites full of advice on what to do next.

The Turn2us website can be extremely helpful in helping you to find out which benefits you may be entitled too. They will help you determine what you can and can’t receive and whether there will be a shortfall between your outgoings and total possible income.

The gov website also has an official benefit calculator which tells you what you could be eligible to claim. The process can take a while as you do need to input a lot of information but the outcome can be very beneficial.

Hopefully, this blog post has alleviated some of your worries and has given you a way forward. It’s always best to have a look at these websites and benefits to see what you may be entitled too and then make the application.

It’s also important to note that if you prefer to speak to someone in person then just give the related number to the page or website a call.

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