Joy was 29 and living in North West England when she discovered that she was pregnant with her third child. Already a single mother of two children, aged seven and eleven, she decided she would need to take her full maternity leave allowance of a year. Once her right to Maternity Pay expired, her payments automatically stopped. She was left with no income and less money available than she’d initially anticipated.
Joy and the Turn2us Benefit Calculator
Joy had already heard of Turn2us as she used to advise parents to use it through her job at a children's support centre - because “it’s so easy to use”. So, although she planned to return to work, she also decided to use Turn2us Benefits Calculator to see if there was another solution. She was very worried about her financial security and was finding it difficult to cope.
Although Joy was already receiving Housing Benefit and Child Benefit, the Turn2us Benefit Calculator indicated that, as a lone parent on a low income, Joy was also entitled to Income Support of £70 per week. This helped her pay her rent and heating bills.
Joy had already heard of Turn2us as she used to advise parents to use it through her job at a children's support centre - because “it’s so easy to use”.
School meals and Healthy Start Vouchers
Joy also found out that there were some specific benefits to help with the costs of feeding her children. Her two older children now receive free school meals which between them are worth around £20 a week. She also gets just over £3 a week in Healthy Start Vouchers, a NHS scheme which helps pregnant women or new parents buy basic nutritional foods, such as cow’s or infant formula milk, vegetables and fruit, for children aged up to four.
Before the benefits, Joy says “it was hand to mouth; we couldn’t go to the supermarket for a weekly shop” and that she could only afford to buy essential foods and basic fruit, but now she can buy more exotic fruits, such as melon and kiwis, which her children enjoy eating.
Warmer Homes grant for energy costs
Joy also decided to apply for grants and was successful with her application to Warmer Homes for help with her energy costs. She is due to receive a one-off payment of £100 in a few months to help with the fuel bill for the more expensive winter months. She thinks this will be a big help and says it makes her less worried about bills. In the meantime she has had a pre-payment meter installed so she can’t get into debt by heating the house.
Joy's situation now
Joy feels great now she has returned to part-time work and says that her job in a children's support centre means she has plenty of opportunities to recommend Turn2us to other people.
Although her salary means that she is no longer eligible for Income Support, she says it helped her manage through a difficult time. Her wage will leave her better off by about £50 a week than when she was not working and receiving all her benefits. She says this will make all the difference and makes her feel happier about the future.