Low income benefits

Following separation many spouses are eligible for child tax credits and working tax credits in their own right or as a couple.

Child Tax Credit - this is means tested and based on the income of the highest earner in the couple. It is paid as a credit and like other tax credits is administered by the Inland Revenue not the DWP. After divorce you can still claim it if you have a child under 16 living in the house for even part of the year. This cannot be divided between the parents even when they are sharing parenting on an equal basis.

Working Tax Credit - workers on a low income, including single parents can claim this. It is means tested and if you have savings over a certain amount you cannot claim. It takes account of the number of children, the income received and pays a high percentage of childcare costs to allow the parent to go out to work.

Many parents with a child under 16, or between 16 and 19 in full time education will be able to receive Child Benefit. Divorcing couples can decide between them who receives it, particularly if they are having shared care after the divorce. It is often sensible for the parent who is more eligible for other state benefits to receive the child benefit, because it is often the passport to other state benefits.

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