Financial help for separated parents

If you have recently separated, you may be able to get financial help from the Government.

If you are already receiving benefits

Even if your separation is only temporary you should tell HM Revenue & Customs (and, if you receive any state benefits, Jobcentre Plus), that you are separated. You will also need to tell them if you start living together again.

What financial help is available

Most parents living with their children receive Child Benefit and many can also get Child Tax Credit. Depending on your circumstances you may also be able to get the following financial help:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • free school meals
  • free prescriptions, dental treatment and eye tests
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Benefit

The help you can get may change so It’s a good idea to check on www.gov.uk for the latest information.

You may also want to read the Parent’s guide to money (external website) or contact Citizens Advice (external website) for more information.

Help for new mothers

If you’re a mother with or expecting a new baby you should also get the following support from the Government:

  • a Sure Start Maternity Grant of £500
  • paid time off for check-ups and parenting classes before the birth of a new baby
  • maternity leave (if you’ve had your job for 26 weeks or longer)
  • maternity pay
  • Maternity Allowance if you can’t get Statutory Maternity Pay.

Some families can also get Healthy Start vouchers to swap for milk, fruit and vegetables and free vitamins.

Help for working parents

Childcare – If you work, you may be able to get help with childcare costs through tax credits or through your employer. Contact your employer’s HR or Personnel department to find out more.

Parental leave – Parental leave is unpaid time off work to care for a child. You have a legal right to parental leave if you are named on the child’s birth certificate or adoption certificate, or have legal parental responsibility for the child.

Flexible working hours – You may have the right to ask your employer for flexible working hours. This could mean working during term time or job sharing.

For more information about parents’ employment rights go to www.gov.uk (external website) or Citizens Advice (external website).

To find details of childcare providers in your area go to:

www.scottishchildcare.gov.uk (external website) if you live in Scotland.

or contact your local authority Family Information Service if you live in England or Wales.