I'm 16 and about to become a mother. Although my family are totally supportive, I don't have much contact with the father. A friend told me I should look into getting some benefits to help us survive. Are there any I could claim?
The benefits system in the UK is quite complicated and what you're entitled to will depend on your particular situation, e.g. if you've been in care, your age, if you're living with your parents, what your income is, etc.
To get detailed advice on what you may be entitled to, it would be a good idea to visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). They will look at your particular circumstances and give you a fair idea of what to expect.
The benefits you might be able to claim include:
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Income Support
- Child Benefit
- Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
- Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
If you're still in education or training you may also be able to claim up to £160 a week (£175 in London) towards child care and travel costs through the Care to Learn Scheme. For more information, call their helpline on 0800 1218 989.
Finally, as you say you don't have much contact with the father of your child it's important to know that if you want to claim Income Support or income-based JSA, you will also have to make a claim to the Child Support Agency (CSA), so the father of the child makes a contribution to your child's maintenance. You'll be allowed to keep up to £20 a week of any maintenance the father of your child pays.
Question answered by CAB