One-Parent Families – By Allan

Over the years I’ve had many appointments with mums and dads who are single parents. I have to say I admire them all for everything they do on their own and I can only imagine how stressful it might be at times and how rewarding.

I know parents often feel an added urgency when planning for their children’s future. When a single parent passes away their Will needs to be executed and the Trust set up immediately. This will transfer the powers to your nominated Guardians and Trustees, who will take up their roles. It is so important you have a very detailed Letter of Wishes and Hospital Passport to guide your Trustees and Guardians and have already discussed your plans with your nominated people.

A couple of things to note when you are meeting your solicitor to get your Will and Trust in place is the rights of your child’s biologic parent. This will have a lot to do with if you are single, separated, or divorced and the relationship you wish for your child’s paternal dad or mum to have with your child going forward. I know from speaking to some parents their wish is for another family member to become Guardian and to block all access due to addiction issues or other serious implication for the child’s wellbeing. Other single parents have a good relationship with their ex-partner and want their child to live with them if they pass away first. Make sure this topic is on your agenda when you meet your solicitor and know your rights.

Are you aware of the One-Parent Family Payment, of €203 per week (increased for dependent children) for parents who are bringing children up without the support of a partner?

To get this payment you must meet certain conditions and you must satisfy a means test which includes maintenance. However, only half of your income from maintenance will be deducted from your payment.

To get a One-Parent Family Payment you must have at least one child under the age of 7. There is an exception to the age limits when you are getting Domiciliary Care Allowance, meaning that you can continue to get this payment until your child with additional needs turns 16.

Some parents are financially better off in claiming this payment and qualifying for half-rate Carer’s Allowance, Household Benefit Package and Free Travel.

An extra tax credit is also available to one-parent families, Single Person Child Carer Credit. Again, there is an age restriction but when you have a child with additional needs, you can continue to claim this tax credit even when your child is over the age of 18. The Credit is €1,650 and a parent is also entitled to a €4,000 extension in the standard rate band.

To check your eligibility for One Parent Family Payment or Single Person Child Carer Credit you can contact Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000.