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Moving into work

As a single parent, there are several things you need to consider before going back to work such as the impact on your benefits and tax credits, childcare options and planning for emergencies. 

Benefits and tax credits moving into work

Benefits such as housing benefit and council tax reduction can still be claimed if you are working.

If you’re working for 16 hours a week or more, then you can claim working tax credit, on top of your child tax credit, and get help with childcare costs.

Our factsheet will tell you what benefits and tax credits you’ll be entitled to.


Choosing childcare is a big decision. See our interactive advice on how to find childcare in your local area and how to choose a provider.

Some two year olds, and all three and four year olds in England are entitled to 15 hours a week free childcare, for 38 weeks of the year.

If you find you need more childcare than this, then you can claim up to 70 per cent of any additional costs through working tax credit. To be eligible you’ll need to work for 16 hours a week or more, and the childcare must be Ofsted registered.

Who do I need to tell?

You’ll need to tell the tax credits helpline as soon as possible, as you may be entitled to more money.

You’ll also need to tell your local council, and give them the details of any childcare costs if you’re claiming housing benefit or a reduction on your council tax. Lots of parents are still entitled to these if they’re working.

If you receive jobseekers allowance income support or employment support allowance, then you need to tell the Jobcentre.

What happens if my child gets ill when I’m at work?

Juggling work and childcare isn’t easy and unexpected things such as your child being ill happen. See our information on your rights in the workplace, flexible working and parental and dependants leave, so you know what to do.