Once you’re no longer living together, you’re classed as separated for tax and benefit purposes. Separating from your partner may mean that you become entitled to new benefits and tax credits or higher amounts of benefits than you already receive.
If you or your ex-partner were claiming benefits for the family before you separated, it’s important to tell Jobcentre Plus and HM Revenue & Customs straight away. Keeping them up to date about your change in circumstances can help you avoid being overpaid or losing out on money.
Qualifying for extra benefits could make a big difference to the options be available to you, particularly when it comes to the cost of housing. If the parent with the main care of the children can work at least 16 hours a week, they may qualify for Working Tax Credit. This benefit can make a substantial difference to a single parent’s income, so it may be worthwhile – financially anyway – if you can manage this.
If you have permanently separated from your partner, you can claim benefits and tax credits as a single person immediately. If your separation is temporary or on a trial basis, you may not be able to claim these benefits while there is still a chance you may get back together.
For advice and practical support with benefits and tax credits, contact your local free advice centre, such as Citizens Advice, or called the Gingerbread Single Parent Helpline free on 0808 802 0925.
You can find further detailed information on page four of the factsheet 'Action to take when a relationship ends', produced by the charity Gingerbread who provide expert advice and practical support for single parents.