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Dad of two on £30,000 a year asks Martin Lewis if he's better off being on benefits

Dad of two on £30,000 a year asks Martin Lewis if he's better off being on benefits

Martin Lewis was asked to help out with Michael's problems, as he and his partner are facing £3,000 per month childcare bills

A father of two who earns £30,000 per year has asked Martin Lewis whether he’d be better off simply claiming benefits because of the costs his family are facing.

Speaking to Lewis on the Martin Lewis Money Show, the dad told the Money Saving Expert that he and his partner are facing thousands of pounds in bills, £3,000 in childcare costs to start with, for their eight-month-old twins.

Currently, that means that they have to consider whether it’s worth one of them going back to work, as well as whether they’d simply be better off claiming benefits and quitting their jobs.

Martin Lewis tried to answer the man's question as best as he could.

The distressed dad asked: "We have eight-month-old twins and simply can't afford to go back to work.

"Childcare costs for five days per week are coming in at over £3,000 a month.

“I earn £30k per year but this is not enough to support our family.

"Is there any help available to us or are we, I hate to say it, better off quitting our jobs and going on benefits?"

The dad – Michael, he called himself – didn’t say what he actually does for his job, and we aren’t sure whether it’s him or his partner that has stopped working at the minute, or whether he has already quit his job.

However, the predicament surrounding childcare is definitely one that needs looking at, as there will be thousands of families up and down the country facing large bills and questions about whether working is actually worth it.

Lewis went on to tell his viewers about the ‘political’ issue around childcare available to parents at the moment.

"I know it is a debate across different parties of government and within different parties of government,” he said.

“And - of course - we want people in our economy to be able to go out to work and have their children looked after."

It's clearly a subject that causes Lewis some frustration.

On the issues Michael and his partner are facing, Lewis wasn’t aware of the situation directly, so couldn’t say what childcare he qualifies for, but said there is help available.

At the minute, about 800,000 people in the UK are missing out on help with their childcare, he said.

To start with, three and four-year-olds can get up to 30 hours of childcare for free at a nursery, although that won’t help Michael with his younger twins.

The exact number of hours depends on your income, whether both partners work, and where you live.

Families that earn less than £40,000 can also do a benefits calculation to see if they are entitled to Universal Credit benefits support.

Those on Universal Credit already might be due up to 85 percent of their childcare costs, or 70 percent if they are on Tax Credits.

At the minute, parents can get a maximum £646 per month for one child, or £1,108 per month for two children under 16.

Martin explained that the government also has a Tax-Free Childcare Scheme, which – if eligible – allows for £500 tax-free childcare every three months, amounting to £2,000 per year for each child.

He implored parents to check what is available to them.

It won’t make too much of a dent in Michael’s £3,000 per month, but it’s something at least.

Those figures double if the child is disabled.

Martin said: “To get this, you must be working an average of 16 hours or more per week, you can be self-employed, and if you’re a couple, you must both be working 16 hours or more and the maximum you can both earn is £100,000."

So long as the childcare provider is registered with the scheme, as with a regulating body, that should be fine.

If you’re eligible, you just need to set up an account on the government website.

Martin concluded: "Michael I hope some of that works for you, I can't promise that it will but it's worth exploring all these options."

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Topics: UK News, Money, Politics, Parenting