Our helpline responds to many enquiries and this section of the site has been created to share some of those support calls as the information provided may be useful to many parents/carers.
It is our aim to add a new support call to this section each week.
If you have an enquiry our helpline (08457 585072) is open from 9:30am-4:30pm (Monday - Friday) calls outside that time will connect to an answerphone, alternatively email us
To view an answer to one of the questions below please click on the arrow.
My husband and I divorced 18 months ago and I with my 3 children have stayed in the family home. Due to my ex-husband’s erratic payments and my low income the mortgage company are now threatening re-possession and I do not know where to turn.
It appears that you have explored all your options so you may benefit from a last resort measure called the Mortgage Rescue Scheme. Having dependent children makes you eligible and the value of your mortgage is between 75% and less than 120% of the value of your home.
When you apply a money adviser will support you and appoint a Registered Social Landlord who can provide an interest-only Equity Loan to help you pay of some of the mortgage and reduce further payments or the landlord can buy your home for 90% of its market value which you can then rent at 20% less than the market rate for your area.
More information and a useful downloadable leaflet can be found on the link below:
22nd March 2013
We are hoping to move to Wiltshire shortly with our 10 year old autistic son who has a statement. What will happen to his statement when we move?
When a family move into a new area the Local Authority is initially obliged to honour the statement and its recommendations. At some point, however, there will need to be an Annual Review after which the statement will be re-written in the Wiltshire format and it is possible that the number of support hours will be amended (upwards or downwards).
15th March 2013
My sister lives with our mother in a Housing Association property. Unfortunately mum has been taken into hospital seriously ill and the prognosis is not good. We would like to know what effect mum’s hospitalisation will have on her DLA (Disability Living Allowance), ESA (Employment Support Allowance) and Housing Benefit.
Going into hospital can affect people’s benefits; however nothing is likely to happen for at least 4 weeks. Both DLA and ESA will continue for 4 weeks and Housing Benefit can continue for 52 weeks (or earlier if it becomes known that the customer will not be returning home or their absence will be substantially more than 52 weeks). If your mother dies, your sister would need to apply for Housing Benefit in her own right. It is always wise to inform the relevant agency of any significant change in circumstances of a claimant. We have found the following a really useful website:
8th March 2013
I will be looking after my 2½ year old grandson for a few weeks as my son-in-law faces a long hospital stay. I have found a place in a local pre-school for 3 mornings a week, however where else can we go?
There are lots of different Parent and Toddler and activity groups in your area. We can send you a list or you could search our website for things which you feel your grandson will enjoy. Go to:
22nd February 2013
My husband has had a salary increase and will now be earning £53,000 per annum. How is this going to affect the Child Benefit which we receive for our 2 children?
Since January 2013 if one person in a household earns over £50,000 their Child Benefit will be affected. You could decide to opt out of the system and this makes financial sense for anyone earning over £60,000 per annum. Those earning between £50,000 - £60,000 could register for Self Assessment and complete a Tax Return. In this way you will continue to receive Child Benefit; however you will pay increased tax. For more details please click on the links below:
15th February 2013
My wife and I have a child under 16 and an older child (18) in full time education doing A levels. We have never applied for this benefit because our joint income has been over £50,000. However, I have been made redundant and if my circumstances don't change our joint income going into the next tax year 2013/2014 will be less than £10,000 therefore will we be able to claim it for the 2013/2014 tax year or will they still take my income for 2012/2013 into account?
It is our understanding that you would be eligible for Child Tax Credit. Your initial application would be based on your income for 2012/13 but once your award is decided you would then need to write to Tax Credits requesting that your award is assessed again based on your income for 2013/14. Your new award would have to be based on an estimate of your income and if there was a change you would need to inform them immediately as you will be required to pay back any over payment.
One thing to be aware of is that although both your children would be included in the calculation until they are 19 years of age and in education this does not include university.
To get a claim form please ring the Tax Credits Helpline 0345 300 3900, you will need to supply them with your National Insurance number prior to them processing your call.
1st February 2013
Are there any schemes in Wiltshire for free computers?
There are no schemes in Wiltshire for free computers although there is a scheme for ‘affordable’ computers. They also offer extra reductions for people receiving certain benefits and to charities.
To find out more go to http://www.getonlineathome.org
18th January 2013
My daughter has been seeing the school counsellor and I would like to know what is being discussed. Can I have access to the notes?
Absolutely not. Counselling is confidential and any counsellor passing on information about what was being discussed would be breaching confidentiality and breaking the law.
The exception would be if your daughter agreed to the discussion notes being shared or if she agreed to the counsellor writing a summary report for you.
A useful website, helpline and live webchat is run by the Coram Children’s Legal Centre who provide free legal advice and information to children, young people, parents and carers.
4th January 2013
I am concerned about my grand daughter aged 6. Her parents are divorced and they do not seem able to agree on consistent parenting which I feel will cause my grand daughter a lot of confusion.
This is always difficult and very unfair if your grand daughter is being caught up in the relationship breakdown of her parents. They may well benefit from a parenting group and it is worth talking to the PSA (Parent Support Advisor) or Family Link Worker at the school to see any parenting groups are being held soon.
As your granddaughter is only just 6 it may also be worth contacting the local Children’s Centre as they may be running a parenting group for children up to primary age. Some useful tips on co-parenting can be found on the link below:
14th December 2012
My baby died after a few hours having been born 13 weeks premature. My partner and I are on a very low income and I am worried about the funeral costs
Realising what a distressing time this is it is likely that the hospital will cover the costs of a basic funeral and most funeral directors will offer their services for free. This, however, may not cover the cost of, for example, a church, flowers or your chosen coffin.
As you are on a low income you may be eligible for a Funeral Grant of up to £700. You or your partner must be in receipt of Income Support, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance or ESA, Housing Benefit or higher rate Child Tax Credit. The application form is available from the link below:
Emotional and practical support when babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth is available from Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity) 020 7436 5881 http://www.uk-sands.org/
or The Child Death Helpline 0800 282 986 (0808 800 6019 from a mobile) http://www.childdeathhelpline.org.uk/
7th December 2012
I am looking for support for a teenager whose father is an alcoholic. She is struggling to understand his behaviour especially his nastiness towards her.
Alateen run groups for children and young people of alcoholics, however there are currently no groups running in the Wiltshire area. It is possible for a teenager to attend an Al-Anon family group with a non-drinking parent and details of local groups can be accessed by a parent ringing their helpline on 020 7403 0888.
There is however an organisation, Children of addicted parents and people, which has an online community support and message board section where young people can share their experience and talk to others who are going through or who have gone through similar experiences. They can be found on http://www.coap.org.uk/
The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA) also have dedicated pages for children and young people offering support and information along with the opportunity to share their experience with others. Details below:
30th November 2012
My daughter has been subjected to physical and verbal bullying since she started at secondary school. The school is sympathetic, however no real plans have been put in place, my daughter feels totally isolated and now she is refusing to attend.
Have a look at the bullying section on the ask website http://www.askwiltshire.org/ask-bullying/bullying which offers suggestions for a way forward and also identifies other organisations specialising in supporting families faced with this issue.
It is important to ask for a copy of the school’s Bullying Policy which may be found on their website or in their prospectus (if not, ask for a copy from the school office). You can then challenge the school if you do not feel they are following their own procedures.
The important points are to stay calm, try to formulate a plan with the school which they stick to and which is regularly monitored, involve the governing body if you feel you are not being listened to and keep re-assuring your daughter it is not her fault.
23rd November 2012
My baby is 4 months old. His father is now my ex partner and he is not named on the birth certificate. He keeps failing to turn up for visits and I need to know where I stand legally.
Because you were not married and he is not named on the birth certificate your ex-partner does not have any legal parental responsibility for your baby; He does, however, have a duty of care which means he should be paying child maintenance (if he is able) and should be trying to build a relationship with his son or daughter.
Coram Children’s Legal Centre can offer advice about what to do next either over the phone between 8.00am – 8.00pm on 08088 020 008 or by live web chat or by ‘talking’ to Lisa, their online search assistant via their website www.childrenslegalcentre.com
9th November 2012
I feel that my 7 year old son is showing all the signs of dyslexia, yet the school does not seem to take it seriously and I feel as though I am being fobbed off with excuses. Can you help?
Some schools are able to offer significant support for dyslexic pupils, in others signs of dyslexia are often missed or misinterpreted as low ability, laziness, inability to concentrate, slow development. It is helpful to ask for a copy of the school’s SEN policy and make an appointment to see the Special Needs Co-ordinator to discuss your concerns. A family history seems to be a strong indicator as are other indicators on the link below as listed on from the British Dyslexia Association’s website:
If you continue to feel your son may be dyslexic we hold details of assessment centres, tutors and other support networks and groups so ring on 08457 585072 or search our website.
26th October 2012
I am expecting twins; can you tell me if I am entitled to a Sure Start Maternity Grant?
This is a one-off payment of £500 which is paid from 11 weeks before a due date until 3 months afterwards.
The baby must be the only child under 16 in your family although, in the case of twins or greater multiple births, £500 will be paid for each baby.In order to apply before your baby is born you need to be in receipt of an income based benefit – Income Support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance or Income Based Employment Support Allowance. You can apply after your baby is born if you are awarded Child Tax Credit at a rate higher than the family element (£548 p.a.)For more information click on the link below:
19th October 2012
I have a friend who lives in Sri Lanka and wants to move to the UK. What kind of Visa will he need? What information will he need to give? Will he be able to stay in the UK permanently?
Only people registered to give advice about immigration are able to do so. At askwe are not registered to give advice about immigration. These two organisations have comprehensive information on their websites about immigration.
- Home Office UK Border Agency website: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/
- CAB advice guide: http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england.htm
There are plenty of other organisations that offer help with regards to immigration, however many of them charge for their services.
12th October 2012
I have had a letter from my Housing Association talking about a ‘bedroom tax’. It says I will lose some Housing Benefit. Can you explain?
New government legislation means that, from April 2013, cuts will be applied to the Housing Benefit received by tenants in council or Housing Association accommodation if it is felt they have a spare bedroom. This could mean a 14% cut (around £750 per year) if you are considered to have 1 extra bedroom; a 25% cut if they are considered to have 2 extra bedrooms.ask's caller had a 13 year old son with autism who was at a special school and a younger son of 8. The family had been given a 3 bed property as it was not felt suitable or safe for the boys to share. The Housing Association said it was national policy and their hands were tied so the caller was advised to contact CAB.For more information click on the following linkhttp://www.housing.org.uk/policy/welfare_reform/bedroom_tax.aspx or click here to read more about the Welfare Reform Act 2012
5th October 2012
A parent contacted us whose daughter will be 16 in December 2013. She receives Child Maintenance for her whilst she is in full time education. Under current legislation she will leave school in July 2014, however she understands the school leaving age is going to change so how will that effect her daughter.
A second parent whose daughter is in Year 11 asked whether it was OK for her to leave school (which had not been a happy experience for her) in July 2013 and do a work based hairdressing course leading to an NVQ which her parents would funA Despite everything we read in the press the school leaving age as such is not changing. However, pupils who are currently in Year 11 are expected to be ‘engaging in education’ until 2015. This could mean staying on at school or going to college or, it could mean, starting an apprenticeship or getting a job where they are released for some of the time to reach an acceptable standard in Maths and English.
28th September 2012
A parent of a 17 year old rang very distressed as he was taking a cocktail of drugs, stealing from family and friends to feed his habit and had broken into a neighbour’s house. Since leaving his special school he has drifted, has no plans and his mum does not know where to turn.
Motiv8 supports young people under the age of 18 who have drug or alcohol issues. They will meet the young person at a convenient venue and offer a range of support including support for mum.
21st September 2012
Caller wanted to know how much child maintenance her husband should be paying his ex wife as she is asking for more.
The Child Support Agency has a very simple to use calculator on their website which gives a suggested level of maintenance based on the number of children and income. In this case the calculation indicated that the husband was already paying more than was considered appropriate.https://www2.dwp.gov.uk/csa/v2/en/calculate-maintenance.asp
14th September 2012
A grandfather rang concerned about the welfare of his grand daughter. Her parents were divorced and the access agreed in the Court Order with her father was now being denied.
A local law firm provides free half hour advice on family issues; legal advice is important if a Court Order is being breached.The Coram Children’s Legal Centre produce a range of relevant fact sheetshttp://www.childrenslegalcentre.com/index.php?page=child_contactas do CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) www.cafcass.gov.ukThe Grandparents Association run an advice line for any grandparent concerned about contact, legal issues, benefits or any other support needwww.grandparents-association.org.uk
7th September 2012