Raising a child with just one income can sometimes be difficult, but this is even more poignant given the current cost of living crisis and the skyrocketing price of electricity. If you’re also living in a country away from your family or support network, this can make solo parenting even more difficult. The good news is that Spain is a country that offers a raft of support measures for single parents. Here’s everything you need to know about the support available for single parents in Spain:
What is a Single Parent?
There are currently 1,944,800 single-parent families in Spain, and this figure includes any foreigners living in the country with Spanish residency. Of those single parent families, nine out of ten were children being raised by women. To be considered a single parent in Spain you must fulfill one of the following criteria:
- “A man or a woman who faces motherhood or fatherhood alone, whether through natural conception, assisted reproduction, adoption or surrogacy, which has been carried out abroad.
- A widowed spouse and their children.
- Families formed by a separated or divorced mother or father who remains in charge of the children without shared custody. They must be the sole earner in supporting the children.”
How Do I Get a Single-parent Family Certificate?
To be considered a single parent family, and therefore able to access government help and support, you will need to apply for what’s called a single-parent family card or certificate (carnet de familia monoparental). This is effectively a certificate issued by the government that proves you fulfill one of the criteria above and are considered a single parent family. It will give you access to the benefits outlined below as well as tax discounts and reductions.
The certificate is valid for four years, after which you must renew it. The process of applying for a single parent family certificate is simple, and you can do it online via the regional government website for the region you live in.
What are the benefits available?
As a single parent family, you may be entitled to all or some of the following benefits, depending on your individual circumstances. The benefits currently available for single parent families in Spain include:
- Benefits for the birth of a child
If you are a single parent who has a has a baby or adopts one, you will be eligible for a one-off single payment of €1,000, which is exempt from tax,. This payment is only issued to parents who earn less than €11,547.96 per year.
- Minimum Vital Income
This benefit is means tested, meaning that you will only be eligible for it if you fall under a certain income threshold. If you are eligible for this payment, the monthly amount you will receive currently (2022 rates) is:
- €747.28 for a single-parent family made up of an adult and a minor.
- €894.77 for a single-parent family made up of one adult and two minors.
- €1,042.26 for a single-parent family with three minors.
- €1,189.75 for a single-parent family of one adult and four minors.
- Childcare benefit
If you are a working parent, you are entitled to support with childcare to enable you to work. This means that if you hire a nanny, for example, 45% will be deducted from the social security fees you will be expected to pay on their behalf.
- Widow’s pension
Although called a widow’s pension, this benefit is available for both men and women to help them raise their children if their spouse has died. The amount you receive will be dependent on your current financial situation.
- Aid for dependent children
Single parents with children under the age of 18 will get a tax-free payment of €341 per year, divided into two payments if they earn under €12,313 per year. This threshold rises to €13,747 if you have two children and €18,532 if you have three children.
- Tax deductions
The huge range of tax breaks available for single parents is incredibly comprehensive. However, it’s important to note you must be divorced, rather than just separated, to be eligible for these. The deductions you will receive are determined by region, but in Andalusia you can get a deduction of €100, plus the payment of 15 percent of the social security contributions in case you hire domestic help. Nationally your tax based will also be reduced as a result of your single status.
- Housing benefit
The Spanish government will provide housing benefits to single parent families, but these are available through the state housing plan, which is only valid until the end of 2022. This will support low income single parents with rent and other support.
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