Good news! There are benefits and financial help for expectant mums, whether you’re employed or not. We hope you find our money saving tips helpful.
You should get advice on benefits as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. Benefits have to be claimed on different forms, from different offices, depending on what you’re claiming.
There are lots of voluntary organisations that are happy to help. Ask them for advice or get an opinion.
Some local authorities have welfare rights officers – phone your social services department and ask.
For advice on your rights at work, call ACAS on 0300 123 1100.
If you’re 19 or under, you can get advice on work from the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900.
Prescriptions And Dental Care
All prescriptions and NHS dental treatment are free while you’re pregnant and for 12 months after your baby’s due date. Children also get free prescriptions until they’re 16.
To claim free prescriptions, ask your doctor or midwife for form MATB1. They will help you complete it and will sign it and submit it to your local health authority on your behalf.
You’ll be sent a maternity exemption certificate (MATEX) that lasts for 12 months after your due date. Show this to your pharmacist or dentist to claim your free medication/ dental care.
You can get free milk, infant formula, vitamins, fruit and vegetables if you’re receiving certain benefits or if you’re under 18.
Child Tax Credit gives financial support for children and Working Tax Credit helps people in lower-paid jobs by topping up their wages.
You get Child Benefit if you’re responsible for bringing up a child who is:
- under 16
- under 20 if they stay in approved education or training
Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child.
It’s paid every 4 weeks and there’s no limit to how many children you can claim for.
By claiming Child Benefit:
- you can get National Insurance credits which count towards your State Pension
- your child will automatically get a National Insurance number when they’re 16 years old
If you choose not to get Child Benefit payments, you should still fill in and send off the claim form.
If you or your partner earn over £50,000:
You may have to pay back some of your Child Benefit in tax if your (or your partner’s) individual income is over £50,000.
If your circumstances change:
You must report any change of circumstances to the Child Benefit Office.
What you’ll get
There are 2 Child Benefit rates:
- Eldest or only child – £21.80 per week
- Additional children – £14.45 per week per child
You must contact the Child Benefit Office if you’re paid too much or too little.
Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child.
You normally qualify for Child Benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training) and you live in the UK.
You’ll usually be responsible for a child if you live with them or you’re paying at least the same amount as Child Benefit (or the equivalent in kind) towards looking after them, for example on food, clothes or pocket money.
Eligibility rules are different if your child:
Child Benefit continues for 20 weeks if 16 or 17 year olds leave education or training and register with the armed services or a government-sponsored careers service.
How to claim
You can claim Child Benefit as soon as you’ve registered the birth of your child, or they come to live with you.
How long it takes
It can take up to 16 weeks to process a new Child Benefit claim (or longer if you’re new to the UK). Child Benefit can be backdated for up to 3 months.
Deciding who should claim
Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child, so you need to decide whether it’s better for you or the other parent to claim. The person who claims will get National Insurance credits towards their state pension if they are not working or earn less than £190 per week.
Make a claim for the first time
Fill in Child Benefit claim form CH2 and send it to the Child Benefit Office. The address is on the form.
If your child is adopted, send their original adoption certificate with the form. You can order a new adoption certificate if you’ve lost the original.
If you do not have the adoption certificate you need, send your claim form now and send the certificate once you’ve got it.
When you send your claim form, include your child’s:
- original birth certificate
- passport or travel document used to enter the UK
If you’ve lost the original you can order a new birth certificate.
Your child’s documents will usually be returned within 4 weeks.
Add a child to an existing claim
Call the Child Benefit helpline if all of the following apply:
- your child is under 6 months old and lives with you
- your child was born in the UK
- your child’s birth was registered in England, Scotland or Wales more than 24 hours ago
- you’re a UK or Irish national and you’ve lived in the UK since the start of your claim
When you call, you’ll need your:
- National Insurance number
- child’s birth certificate
Child Benefit helpline
Telephone: 0300 200 3100
Welsh language: 0300 200 1900
Textphone: 0300 200 3103
Outside UK: +44 161 210 3086
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges
Sure Start Maternity Grant
If you’re on a low income and get certain benefits or tax credits and there are no other children under 16 in your family, you could get this one-off payment.
Job Seekers Allowance
The main benefit for people of working age who are out of work.
If you cannot be available for full-time work and have not got enough money to live on, you might qualify for Income Support, depending on your circumstances.
Find out more about Income Support on GOV.UK, including how and where to claim.
Employment Support Allowance
For parents who cannot work because of illness or disability.
You might be eligible for help with all or part of your rent if you’re on a low income.
Help with mortgage interest repayments if you receive certain benefits.
Council Tax Reduction
You might be eligible for help with paying your council tax if your income is low.
You might be able to get help from the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme, depending on your circumstances.
Statutory Maternity Pay
A weekly payment from your employer to help you take time off before and after your baby is born.
If you’re pregnant or have a new baby but do not qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay, you might be able to claim Maternity Allowance through Jobcentre Plus.
Statutory Paternity Pay
Your partner (including same-sex or civil partner) may be able to claim Statutory Paternity Pay to take time off work to support you.
Find out more about Statutory Paternity Pay, including when your partner needs to let their employer know that you’re expecting.
Statutory Adoption Pay
A weekly payment from your employer to help you take time off if you adopt a child.
Find out more about Statutory Adoption Pay on GOV.UK, including how and when to let your employer know.
Statutory Maternity Leave
When you’re pregnant, you’re entitled to up to a year of maternity leave.
If you are employed and pregnant, you are entitled to 52 weeks (1 year) of maternity leave, no matter how long you’ve worked for your employer.
This is made up of 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave.
You have a range of rights during this period and can also request that your employer provides flexible working arrangements if you decide to return to work at the end of your leave.
Your employment terms (for example, your pension contributions) are protected while you’re on Statutory Maternity Leave.
If you’re made redundant while on Statutory Maternity Leave, you also have extra rights.
Working Whilst Pregnant
If you’re pregnant, your employer must protect your health and safety, and you may have the right to paid time off for antenatal care. You’re also protected against unfair treatment.
If you enjoy your work and like the people you work with, you may have mixed feelings when you go on maternity leave. Try to make the most of these few weeks before your baby is born. It’s also a good opportunity to make some new friends. You may make new pregnant friends you want to keep in touch with at antenatal classes or you may get to know more people living close by.
Find out about your employee rights when you’re on maternity, adoption or parental leave.
Returning To Work
You have employment rights and responsibilities when you go back to work.
Make sure you know what these are and what to do if you have any problems or you’re denied your rights.
Requesting flexible working
Parents of children aged 16 and under, or of disabled children aged 18 and under, are entitled to request a flexible working pattern.
You need to follow a specific procedure when making your request.