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Parents   »   What benefits can I apply for as a separated parent?

What benefits can I apply for as a separated parent?

Managing a household on a single income is often tough, especially if you have children. And it’s tough for many right now, whether you share the financial responsibility for the children with the other parent or not. Here we have gathered tips about benefits that may be good to know about.

1. Housing allowance

The biggest expense in the budget of many varannan vecka-families is the cost of housing, whether it’s a rental apartment, a tenant-ownership apartment, or another form of accommodation. If you have the child living with you full or part-time, you may be entitled to housing allowance depending on your income and other circumstances. The application is made to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan), which grants the allowance for 12 months, providing stability in private finances. Here we provide more information about housing allowance.

2. Child allowance

All children in Sweden are entitled to child allowance from the state until they turn 16. After turning 16, the allowance transitions to a study allowance paid out as long as the child attends upper secondary school. The child allowance is automatically paid out to the child’s custodian on the 20th of each month. If the child is born on or after March 1, 2014, the amount is paid out to both custodians and in full to single custodians. Custodians with older children who wish to share the child allowance need to notify the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.

The allowance is 1250 SEK per child per month. Additionally, if you have two children, you receive an extra 150 SEK in a multiple child supplement. If you have more than two children, the multiple child supplement increases further. For example, if you are a single parent with three children, you receive 3,750 SEK in child allowance and 730 SEK in a multiple child supplement. In total, it amounts to 4,480 SEK per month. Child allowance is paid out on the 20th of each month.

3. Maintenance support

Maintenance support is a benefit that you can apply for from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency if the child’s other parent does not pay maintenance or pays too little maintenance. The child is entitled to maintenance support until the month they turn 18. The child can apply for and receive extended maintenance support until June of the year they turn 20.

If the parent does not pay any maintenance at all, the child can receive so-called “full maintenance support.” If the parent pays little but not enough, the child may possibly receive so-called top-up support. The child’s age determines the amount of the support:

  • 1,673 SEK per month until the month the child turns 7,
  • 1,823 SEK per month from the month after the child turns 7 until the month the child turns 15, and
  • 2,223 SEK per month from the month after the child turns 15.

4. Care allowance

If you have a child with a disability, you may be eligible for a care allowance. The allowance is calculated based on the care and supervision the child needs beyond what is usual for children of the same age without disabilities. The amounts are recalculated at each year-end to follow the price development in society. For 2024, they are:

  • 2,984 SEK per month (one-fourth)
  • 5,969 SEK per month (half)
  • 8,953 SEK per month (three-fourths)
  • 11,938 SEK per month (full)

Both you and the child’s other parent can receive care allowance for the same child. You then share the allowance. The Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) assesses the child’s total need for care and supervision, and you can choose how the allowance should be distributed between you. If you do not choose, you each receive half. Read more at Försäkringskassan.

5. Livelihood Support

Social assistance is support that you can apply for in your municipality if you have trouble supporting yourself and your children. Social assistance consists of livelihood support and assistance for other aspects of life. Livelihood support is intended to cover the household’s more regular expenses per month and consists of the national standard and five cost items that fall outside the national standard. The national standard is a minimum level for the needs that the national standard should cover. You can apply for social assistance at the social services office in your municipality.

6. Private Foundations and Trusts

In Sweden, there are several private foundations and trusts that single parents (mostly women) with children can apply to for financial support. The foundation’s statutes may impose specific conditions, such as the place of residence and what the money should be used for.

7. Avoid borrowing money

It is important to try to avoid borrowing money for consumption or buying things on installment, even if it is financially very tough.

It may sound overly cheerful, but the fact is that mobile-loans, other types of loans, and installment purchases almost always end up being much more expensive than the amount borrowed initially. It is better to first try to seek other alternatives even if it feels difficult.

Elisabeth Scholander