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My friend, a divorced single mum with twin, needs advice


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Hi, this is completely outside my field on knowledge, but an old friend of mine has arrived back in the UK from the US, having divorced her husband, with two twin boys aged 3. She has nothing apart from what she brought in her suitcase and a promise from her ex-husband to pay maintenance when he can. She is currently staying with her sister but has asked me to help her out as she can't even buy food for her boys.

 

Now I don't really want to get involved, but she's an old friend of mine and I do want to help in some way. I asked her if she was on benefits and she said no, as she had been overseas, but she couldn't anyway as she is staying with a member of her family?

 

Now I have no knowledge in these matters at all, but can anyone give some sensible advice as to what my friend is eligible for and what she should/could claim?

 

Thanks in advance

 

Matt

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I'm afraid I can't really help much, but I suspect the people who can will need more information.

 

Is your friend a UK citizen? If not, what is her immigration status? How long was she out of the country?

 

I don't think simply living with a family member would prevent your friend claiming benefits on it's own (other than help with rent) so perhaps it's something to do with her immigration status?

RMW

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I don't think simply living with a family member would prevent your friend claiming benefits on it's own

 

This is correct. You can live with someone and claim benefits in your own right if you're not in a relationship with them.

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Thanks for the replies. My friend is British, having lived here until the age of 26. Went to America on holiday, met the guy out there and she moved out there. She is very unwilling to go to the CAB as she had a bad experience there about 10 years ago.

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Ten years is some time ago, and people at that particular place will have most probably changed by now. There's the option of avoiding that particular office and find the next nearby CAB. Maybe there is someone who can go with her for moral support? The solicitors who give their time for the CAB will be familiar with their locality and to be able to advise on things your friend didn't know existed i.e housing charities.

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Thanks for the replies. My friend is British, having lived here until the age of 26. Went to America on holiday, met the guy out there and she moved out there. She is very unwilling to go to the CAB as she had a bad experience there about 10 years ago.

 

My first thought would be Income Support, which she may qualify for on the basis of being a lone parent.

 

The fact that she lives with a relative will not disqualify her - they're really only interested in partners.

 

She may also wish to consider Child Tax Credit.

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Only if the youngest is under 7.

 

A fair clarification, though the OP did say she had twin boys age 3, so it may be possible in this case.

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Having been out of the country, she will be subject to the Habitual Residence Test if she wishes to claim any means tested benefit. She already meets the right to reside.

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She will need to claim Child Benefits, Child Tax Credits and Income Support on the grounds of being a lone parent.

A couple of potential problems will be Income Support will not pay until she has an award of Child Benefit made to her, this could take anything up to 8 weeks to sort and as Erica posted she will be sublect to the Habitual Residence Test to determine if she has any entitlement to receive means tested benefits so this will also be the case for JSA which she could also consider claiming if she is actively seeking and available to take up employment. She can restrict her availability as she is a parent which she can discuss with her Personal Adviser.

1st thing to do is get the Child Benefit claim sorted and the IS/JSA claim.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/childbenefit/start/claiming/how-to-claim.htm#3 you can download a claim for Child Benefit from this link.

It would probably be best to call the contact centre to make the claim for IS/JSA 0800 0556688

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Income Support can now pay without child benefit being in payment :) if

No one else is claiming child benefit for the children,

A claim to child benefit has been made and the children are in the care of the customer.

I.S know child benefit can take weeks to sort out new claims so this is why.

 

So either JSA or I.S may been an option after the HAB res test. Of course CTC will have to be claimed for the children

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