If you are based in the UK and are planning on having a child, you may want to consider some of the government benefits available, such as; Child Tax Credits, Social Fund Payments, Child Benefits. e.t.c.
For many people, the idea of having a baby is a terrifying prospect – there is so much to do, so much to prepare, and you never feel like you’re truly ready. That is made so much worse by the possibility of not having enough money to keep your child clothed, fed and healthy – but that’s where the benefits system comes in.
There are dozens of types of benefits payment available to new parents to help ease the weight of having a baby, and to help them cope with the seemingly endless financial stresses they face. These include benefits for women who are pregnant or have given birth, benefits for their partners, available benefits for people who adopt children, and tax credits and financial aid for people responsible for children or raising young people. These include:
Benefits for pregnant women or new mothers include statutory maternity pay for employed women, and a “maternity allowance” for self-employed women or women who have been employed until recently. The maternity allowance is also available for women who have not been employed or self-employed, but who have in the past worked for their self-employed partner.
Maternity allowance is a maximum of £139.90 per week, or 90% of your wage, whichever is less. This doesn’t seem like much, but it will really take the strain out of the extra expenses incurred by maternity. Maternity allowance is available for up to 39 weeks, and can be applied for at your local benefits office or job centre.
Paternity benefits include statutory paternity pay, which is available for two weeks to partners of expecting women or partners of new mothers, including same-sex partners. You may also take paternity pay for two weeks of paternity leave if you are adopting a child.
If you are on statutory paternity leave but are not entitled to paternity pay from your employer (for example because you haven’t worked there for a long enough time) you may be entitled to income support from your local benefits office. This is especially true if you are receiving housing benefit, council tax benefit or any form of tax credits while working as existing financial aid. If you are receiving paternity pay from you employer, but it is not enough to live on, or it is preventing you from receiving crucial benefits, you should discuss your situation with an expert advisor at your nearest citizen’s advice bureau (CAB) which can be found online.
Maternity grants – help with the one-off costs of having a baby
If you get benefits or tax credits due to being on a low income, you may be entitled to a maternity grant to help deal with the one-off costs of having a baby. The grant doesn’t have to be repaid and there is no restriction on what you spend the money on – it’s simply a one-off £500 payment made to you to help you deal with the costs of having a baby.
The maternity grant is only available if the baby is the only child under 16 in the household, and only if you are the one responsible for the child. Different rules apply if you are seeking a grant as the parent of twins or multiple babies.