Income Support – for lone parents
Income Support has been replaced by Universal Credit for any new claims. You may be told to claim Universal Credit if you want to claim benefits as a single parent.
The rest of this article is only relevant if you are already in receipt of Income Support or in circumstances where you have Severe Disability Premium in place.
It is possible for lone parents to claim Income Support (IS). You must have a child under five, or be a lone parent under 18.
You can claim IS even if you have a job to go back to, for example, you are on unpaid maternity leave. You must meet all the other conditions for IS.
If you were getting Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance (MA) and these payments have stopped, you can claim IS in the unpaid part of your maternity leave, or you may be able to get IS on top of these payments if they are lower than the IS amount you are entitled to. If you are claiming tax credits, you must let the Tax Credit Office know when your SMP/MA stop, because you are no longer treated as working after the first 39 weeks of your maternity leave, and this may affect your entitlement to Working Tax Credit.
For more information about IS for lone parents, and which lone parents have to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), have a look at the Gingerbread website (in Scotland, look at One Parent Families Scotland). For information on how to claim Income Support, see GOV.UK
This advice applies in England, Wales and Scotland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details.