Benefits and Debt issues

Questions we have been asked include:

‘Self-employed father: can he get any benefits?’
‘Can’t afford contact visits. Any help available?’
‘Son has custody of child; on benefits; cannot manage – desperate’
‘I have my children half the week but can’t afford to feed them properly’


National Debtline: free confidential advice on money problems 0808 808 4000 ( (DOES NOT ADVISE ON BENEFITS)

If you are a family worker or other professional

Child Poverty Action Group Advice line (advice agencies only – England and Wales)
Tel: 020 7833 4627 (Mon-Fri: 2pm-4pm)

Child Poverty Action Group Advice line (advice agencies only – Scotland)
Tel: 0141 552 0552 (Tuesday & Wed: 10am-12 noon)

a) If you are a separated father with overnight or visitation contact:

• The Centre for Separated Families. Email: Tel: 01904 610321

Citizens’ Advice (formerly Citizens Advice Bureaux): Great advice centres with constantly updated information. There’ll be one local to you, but you may need to join the queue. Head Office 020 7833 2181 (for referral to local branches and to answer basic questions). Also look at their website: which has a great section on state benefits, tax credits and so on:

b) If you are a lone father, or a separated father with sole or main charge of a dependent child (and hold at least one child’s Child Benefit Book):
• National Council for One Parent Families: Free Helpline 0800 018 5026 (Orange, Virgin or 3 mobile phone users, as well as landline users, can now call free) .The Lone Parent Helpdesk has up-to-date information on a wide range of issues

c) For all low income mothers and fathers

Your local council may have a benefits advice line

free confidential legal and practical advice to mums and dads on a low incomes (call Freefone 0800 013 0313 for the Helpline opening times) to advise parents on their legal rights, tax credits, and family friendly working (most don’t know their entitlements, so never claim them)

• Sure Start Children’s Centres Sure Start and Sure Start Children’s Centres provide high quality local services for the mums and dads of babies and young children, and may be able to give you advice. You could ring your local Council to ask where the nearest one is (or ask your GP or health centre). A map on the Sure Start website also shows where Sure Start services are operating: Or you can phone 0870 0002288 or email:
or write to: Sure Start Unit, Level 2, Caxton House, Tothill Street, London SW1H 9NA