We provide expert advice, practical support and campaign for single parents
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We provide live online advice sessions that cover an array of topics and issues that affect single parents. In these sessions members can post their questions and our team of expert advisers are on hand to provide tailored advice.
The move into work can be both exciting and daunting. Are you a single parent trying to get back into work? Would you like some advice on the best way to prepare for employment and handy tips for success? Why not post us your question, or join our online advice session on Thursday 30th May 2013 between 10.30-11.30am to speak to our advice team, who will be joined by Lucy Wooldridge, Programmes Lead for Gingerbread’s ‘Marks & Start – Lone Parents Returning to Work’ employability programme.
To take part in one of our sessions, you will need to be a Gingerbread member. It's free to join so why not join us now? Once you're logged in, click on the Join The Session button that will appear below shortly before the session opens.
Please be aware we only have the expertise to give advice to single parents from England and Wales, and are unable to carry out benefit calculations during the session.
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Please note when submitting a question we can only offer advice for those that are relevant to the selected session - for any other advice queries please call our free helpline on 0808 802 0925.
If you can't join us for the session, you will be able to view session transcripts below. The advice given here is accurate at the time of
the online session however, the information may have changed since then. For
the most up to date information please look at our advice and information section.
Louise asked: hi, since breaking up with my sons dad i find it really hard to get close to people , i am in a new relationship now and always try to ruin it because im afraid that he will hurt me first its like im my own worst enemy sometimes just want some advice
Here is a question posted by Sukhpal: can my employers keep putting me through stress again and again transfering me? I work 25hrs and have had major problems since i have returned back to work after my youngest son was born 17/09/2010. I am a single mother and have put in a Griviance in twice
We had a question posted for us on our Facebook page from Judy - I'll post the question up now for our advisers
Can I get childcare paid for me when I have to sign on over the holidays?[ProcessingInstruction]
Hi there. Because I’m not working I haven’t arranged any childcare for the school holidays as I can’t afford it. My youngest child is now 5 and I am on Jobseekers Allowance and am constantly applying for jobs, but if I do manage to get a job I won’t have any childcare in place until the kids go back to school!!! Will I be able to put off starting working until September?
Thanks everyone, the session's now finished for today. We hope you have found it useful - Keep a look out for the next one we will be running next month. If you still have questions you'd like to ask our team, give our free helpline a call on 0808 802 0925
Hi - We have a question that was left on our website from Kayleigh135 -
Hi! I am due to start a childcare course at college in september and as part of the course you have to be in a work placement for 16 hours a week. I have secured the placement and it is voluntary, does volutary work affect your benefits? Do i tell the job centre about the course and placement? Also i'd like to find out if there is any funding available to help pay for the course? My son is 3 1/2 and starting nursery in september and im claiming income support. Thank you.
We also have another question on our website from Roobear -
Hello! I am due to start a social work BA in September. I will be getting all the usual student finance; however I will also be getting an NHS social work bursary of £4975 per year. This bursary is described as 'an incentive to study social work', by the NHS Business Services Authority, but they do not specify exactly what it is for. Therefore, I am rather concerned as to whether the council will be using my bursary as part of their calculations for my HB entitlement. Most people spend the bursary on books, partial fee payments and travel to placements, which is what I plan to do. If I tell the council this, will my bursary be disregarded from their calculations? Thank you and sorry for the essay!
Hi Kayleigh135, thank you for posting your question earlier. If you are studying and doing voluntary work it does not affect your income support claim (unless you are receiving any financial support for your living costs). You have a duty to report any changes that could affect your benefit and so it would be a good idea to let the jobcentre know you are studying. If your adviser at the jobcentre agrees that the course is likely to lead to employment, they may agree to offer some financial support through the Flexible Support Fund, however this is entirely down to your adviser’s discretion. You could ask at the college whether you can get fee remission to pay for the fees of the course – whether you do will depend on your age and whether you have any other qualifications already. The college should also have a Discretionary Learner Support Fund if you are in England or a Financial Contingency Fund if you are in Wales which you can apply to for discretionary help with funding a course. As we have suggested above, you might be eligible for a grant from a charity or trust fund to help with the costs of the course. You can contact the Educational Grants Advisory Service (EGAS) on 020 7241 7459 to search for suitable grants. If you are unable to find any grants, as a last resort you could look into a Professional and Career Development Loan to pay for the fees or other costs such as childcare. This is a government-sponsored bank loan, which you do not have to repay until you have finished your course. You can find out more about this by visiting the directgov website (http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/EducationAndLearning/AdultLearning/FinancialHelpForAdultLearners/CareerDevelopmentLoans/index.htm) or calling the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900.[ProcessingInstruction]
Any part of your student support that is for maintenance will be counted as income for the purpose of calculating your housing benefit. So the maximum amount of maintenance loan you are entitled from student finance will count as income. From this you can deduct the amount of the loan that is for books and equipment, which is £380 unless otherwise specified. A fixed amount of £295 is deducted for travel costs unless a specified amount is stated instead. £10 per week is also deducted.
Another question from our website is from Alice6579 who asked:
Hi I have a place at uni but am not entitled to studnet loans as I am still paying my initial loan from 1992. I am entiitled to an NHS bursary, and all the extras. I cannot add any student finance to this. Will I be eligible for any housing benefit help?
Hi Alice6579. Thank you for your question that you posted on the website. The rules about funding when you have already had funding in the past are quite complicated and so we can’t advise on the student loan without a bit more information. We would suggest contacting the student support services of the university you are going to study at for some advice on this. If you are studying you can claim housing benefit as a single parent but the amount you receive will be affected by your student income. Once you know how much you are going to receive you can contact our single parent helpline on 0808 802 0925 for a calculation. If you are only entitled to only a small amount of housing benefit you can request a discretionary housing payment which can be made in addition to housing benefit to help pay your rent if you are experiencing difficulties. You can request this from your local housing benefit office and you may have to provide them with details of your income and outgoings, including details of the repayments you are making for the outstanding student loan.[ProcessingInstruction]
You do need a visa though as my sister has not long in been and she had to apply for one for each of her party. My daughter is 4years old, will be 5 by the time we go
Thanks for your advice Polly, will contact them later and ask [MSNImage=1.gif]
Sorry Jane I just realised I spelt it wrong it is Australia we going lol
I have a question. I am a single father of 2 children. I have lost my home as well as my partner. My home was repossessed. We are currently living in a Privite Sector leased property after being accepted as homeless by my local council. This property is provided by a hosuing association after we were put forward by the council. The rent for our property is higher the the LHA but the council makes up the difference at the moment as our only other income is benefits.Will the benefit cap apply to the extra housing benefit we receive?
Hi, I'm really confused about child benefit, what's happening with it? Who is going to lose it and when? I'm not sure what the cut off point is after all that press on it, how much notice do you get if you're going to lose it?
not seeing much advice people
Thanks, seems the government is just making everyones life a mess again.
Another question I a afraid. Will free school meals, free prescriptions, school clothing assistance and free school trips be included in the benefit cap?
Does council tax benefit count as income for the benefit cap?
and child benefit?
Also does the £10 you are allowed to earn about JSA count towards the benefit cap?
Do we stay online in order to read answers or advice for my question? Many thanks
Ok thanks Emily!!
Thank you Sam!! I only claimed Working Tax Credit from yesterday. And Council Tax only informed me I had to pay that amount 3-4 weeks ago for beginning of April. Plus, I got confused as a few weeks before that letter, they already set a payment plan for year 2012-2012. And I started paying beginning of April. Now they are sending a reminder for 2011-2012, but this month I'm only earning £300, they cant expect me ALL my wages to go to the Council Tax, can they? The reminder does say within 7 days...
Thank you Sam [Emotion=emteeth.gif]
I have split up with my
partner and he had a lot of debt on credit cards and the bills are still coming
to this house. Is this going to go against me and will it get me black
Our online session has now started and our team of advisers will be answering your queries shortly[ProcessingInstruction]