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Single parents in Spain: What benefits and aid are you eligible for?

Raising a child on your own is always difficult, but it can be even more challenging if you’re living in a country that isn’t your own. Fortunately, there are several financial measures in place to help single parents in Spain.

Single parents in Spain: What benefits and aid are you eligible for?
Single parent benefits in Spain. Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP

According to the latest figures from Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) available, there were 1,944,800 single-parent families in Spain in 2020. This figure includes foreigners with Spanish residency.

Human resources firm Adecco found that the number has increased by 78 percent in recent years. Nine out of every 10 single parents in Spain are women.

In Spain, a single parent is defined as:

  • 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. 

Single-parent family certificate

Firstly, in order to be able to benefit from government help, you will need to apply for what’s called a single-parent family card or certificate (carnet de familia monoparental).

This is a certificate that proves that you are a single parent and enables you to not only receive benefits but also tax reductions and discounts. The certificate is valid for four years, after which you must renew it. It can be applied for online through your region’s government website. For example, here’s where you need to apply for the one in Catalonia. 

Depending on where you live in Spain, it could help with:

  • Social housing
  • Government handouts
  • Subsidised property tax (IBI)
  • Discount on transport tickets

What are the benefits available?

Benefits for the birth of a child

If you are a single parent who has a baby or adopts one, you will be eligible for a one-off single payment of €1,000, which is exempt from tax, as long as you earn less than €11,547.96 per year. Further aid is available to those who have a child who is more than 33 percent disabled.

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.

Minimum Vital Income

Single parents may also be eligible for Minimum Vital Income, depending on their income and status. For 2022 the monthly amounts are:

  • €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

Working single parents can also get aid in the form of childcare. For example, if you hire a nanny, you will get a 45 percent discount on the social security fees you have to pay for them.

Widow’s pension

If you are a single parent because your spouse has died, then you may be eligible to apply for a widow’s pension to help pay for the costs of raising your children. The amount will depend on your individual situation.

Tax deductions

There are various income tax (IRPF) reductions available for single parents, however, you must be officially divorced to benefit from them, not just separated.  This includes a deduction of €1,200 that you can request to be paid month by month throughout the year. Your tax base will also be reduced by €2,150 per year.

There are further tax benefits depending on what region of Spain you live in. For example, those in Andalusia can get a deduction of €100, plus the payment of 15 percent of the social security contributions in case you hire domestic help.

In the Canary Islands, you can also get a deduction of €100 and in Valencia, you can get a €300 discount.  

Housing benefit

Single-parent families on low income can get help in the form of housing benefits through the State Housing Plan, which will be valid until the end of 2022 and includes help for paying rent.   

Aid for energy bills

Single parents with low income will be able to benefit from the government’s bono social eléctrico and térmico, benefits and reductions to help pay for rising electricity and heating prices. For those single parents eligible, it could include a cheque for between €40 and €375 to help pay for gas bills. 

It was announced on Thursday October 13th that there will be a further reduction on parts of energy bills from 60 percent to 65 percent. Those who are considered to be in an extremely vulnerable situation will also be able to get a further reduction from 70 to 80 percent. The amount of energy available for a discount has also been increased to 15 percent.  

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Black Friday in Spain: What you should be aware of

Here's what you need to know about the Black Friday sales in Spain in 2022, from when they start to which retailers are offering discounts and why the sales aren't always as good as they're made out to be.

Black Friday in Spain: What you should be aware of

Black Friday is the day when some of Spain’s biggest retailers hold huge sales and give massive discounts (or so they claim) in the run-up to the start of the Christmas shopping season.

The tradition originated in the US as it was held the day after Thanksgiving.

READ ALSO: Where Americans can celebrate Thanksgiving

While Spain doesn’t generally celebrate the American Thanksgiving holiday, it does however go in for Black Friday in a big way, along with many other countries around the world.

Spain began getting in on the Black Friday action in 2011 when the regulations on promotions and sales changed.

When is Black Friday?

This year, Black Friday will be held on Friday November 25th, but many companies and online retailers decide to hold sales throughout the month or even extend them for a whole week instead of just one day.

For example, tech store MediaMarkt began giving discounts on November 1st and will continue its sales until November 30th, while Mr. Wonderful began its discounts early too on November 18th.

Inditex group (which includes clothes stores Zara, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Oysho and Stradivarious) will publish their discounts online on Thursday November 24th.

Many stores will also extend their offers until Monday November 28th, which has become known as Cyber Monday. On this day, more tech companies and online retailers will be offering discounts too.

What will there be discounts on?

There will be Black Friday sales in Spain on everything from fashion and beauty to sports equipment, homeware and technology, among others.

Businesses are also allowing the return periods to be extended until January 6th 2023 or even into February, so that people can start their Christmas shopping early.

Spanish stores such as Mango, Zara and El Corte Inglés will all be having sales, as well as international and online retailers such as Amazon and Primark.

Swedish furniture giant Ikea will be doing something a little different this year, having a Green Friday where they’ll buy back some of your old furniture. 

According to a study by online marketing company Webloyalty, it is expected that online spending will grow by 25 percent compared to 2021, despite the rise in the cost of living and the financial squeeze many are experiencing.

Are Black Friday sales in Spain really that good?

Research conducted by Spanish consumer watchdog OCU over the past seven years has proven that many shops put the prices of their products up before Black Friday, so that the discounts they then apply aren’t really bargains for shoppers, but businesses get to capitalise on the shopping frenzy. 

In 2021, OCU spent 30 days writing down prices for almost 17,000 products in 52 stores. Almost a third of them rose in price (32.5 percent of the products), 11.8 percent of which cost less in the week of Black Friday. Overall, an average price rise of 3.3 percent was calculated.

There’s even a Twitter hastag #timofertasBF ( abit like ‘ripofferBF’) where user post the products that claim to be on discount but really aren’t.

Therefore, when it comes to big purchases in particular, make sure that you’re familiar with the average price of the product before Black Friday by comparing prices online. That should help you to ascertain whether you’re actually getting a good offer. 

If it’s a top-of-the-range product that’s just been released, don’t expect it to be on sale, and if it is, you should be suspicious.

Watch out for Black Friday scams

Be aware that while Black Friday can mean some great bargains, it’s also a day that brings out scammers and people who are waiting to steal your personal details.

In the past, there have been situations where second-hand items never arrive, the setup of fake online stores and discounts that contain malware.

You should particularly look out for phishing scams, where people try to steal your identity or personal details and fraudulent text messages.

Experts agree that there are several ways to protect yourself against potential Black Friday fraudsters including avoiding suspicious links or online shops you’re not aware of, using only official websites, creating strong passwords, not trusting any discounts that seem way too good to be true and using online security software.