Here are some figures for you.
When my maternity pay finished and I decided I would claim benefits until my year of leave entitlement finished, this is what I was living on:
Housing Benefit: covered my rent and council tax entirely. Child Tax Credits: about £60 a week Income Support: £72 a week, paid fortnightly for reasons known only to The Powers That Be Child Benefit: £20.30 a week.
When I decided to go back to work, I spoke to my boss and arranged my hours. I spoke to the Housing Benefit people to ask what they needed from me. I spoke to the Tax Credits office to tell them how much I expected to earn for the new tax year. I returned to work on 22nd April. S started nursery on the same day; I couldn't afford to have her do full sessions before I was back at work. My last Income Support payment was a week and a half before I started work.