A new study from financial advisors PayPlan has revealed a surprising number of single parents in the UK are not receiving Child Maintenance despite being eligible for it, something which frustrated me for many years.
Raising a child is not cheap and it is not just about food and clothing. Doing it on a tight budget is challenging, especially if you are paying for childcare on top, or they have reached an age where they start getting invited on expensive school trips or want to start going out with friends but are too young to earn money themselves.
The study revealed over a fifth of single parents (21.4%) are not receiving any child maintenance support even though they qualify for it, with 58.6% of respondents admitting they did not know if they were eligible for a statutory arrangement or not.
Based on the basic weekly rate of £41 a week which can be claimed for Child Maintenance, single parents could be missing out on £2132 a year.
The survey contained ten questions, asking single parents all about their experiences with the child maintenance system and their understandings of the process. It found there was a distinct lack of information available to single parents about the options available to them.
I was fairly lucky that the old CSA system was in place when I was in this situation, however, I found it frustrating that the system could be (and was) cheated so I was lucky if I received any money at all, or I received the bare minimum rate which was barely worth it.
Only 23.8% of single parents surveyed found the current system both simple and easy to understand. Respondents disclosed that the process was “not worth the hassle” with some going far as to say “the process doesn’t work”.
The survey also found…
– 31.8% admitted the reason for not receiving statutory based support was because the process was too complicated
– 71% of single parents surveyed admitted they were struggling financially
– 73.8% of single parents had little to no knowledge of help available to them if they were struggling to make child maintenance payments
– 46.4% of men find the process too complicated in comparison to 26.6% of women
– 49.1% of 25 – 34s have a family based arrangement compared to just 26.4% of 45 – 55s, suggesting things get less amicable as the relationship gets older.
To help simplify the Child Maintenance process, PayPlan have created a resource hub full of useful resources to help single parents navigate the arrangements and is something I wish had been around when I needed it as the resource is a fantastic tool for single parents to utilise so that everything is done fairly.
PayPlan Money Advice Consultant, Jane Clack explained more about the survey findings and the actions taken in response by the financial advisor. “The feedback from our survey clearly shows people are confused about the process of claiming child maintenance. With the public really feeling the pinch in their finances currently, not receiving a benefit you are clearly entitled to is unacceptable, especially for single parents.
“We created out child maintenance hub for this very reason, we want to make the process as simple as possible and ensure the single parents are receiving everything they’re entitled to.” The resource hub contains four key tools which are designed to educate parents on the different payments available and help navigate them through the process. It includes…
The Child Maintenance Process – This is a straight forward downloadable guide about how the process works, explaining the details of both family and statutory arrangements.
Child Maintenance Calculator – A tool to help you decide which arrangement is best suited for your circumstances.
The Cost of Raising a Child – A fun piece to help understand the costs associated with raising a child.
Child Maintenance Research Report – This is a document filled with further research findings from the survey on Child Maintenance
You can take a look at the resource hub here – www.payplan.com/child-maintenance-resource- hub
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