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‘I'm about to have my first baby: what am I entitled to?’
> ‘I am going to be (or am) a single parent, have a job, and am taking maternity leave’

icon-warning1.jpgMake sure you claim these benefits in the right order! I’ll talk about this at the end of this page.

Statutory Maternity Pay

Technically this isn’t a benefit. It’s really a sort of minimum wage for women on maternity leave. Here’s the key details:

Maternity Allowance

This is a sort of consolation prize if you’re not entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay. You need to fit the following rules:

icon-warning1.jpgIf you are employed in the 15th week before the baby is due the Jobcentre Plus will expect you to apply for Statutory Maternity Allowance from your employer first: if your employer does not give you this they should give you a form (SMP1) to show the Jobcentre Plus.

Child Benefit

Tax Credits

icon-warning1.jpg Two things have changed from 6th April 2017:

  • Any new claims for Child Tax Credit made from this date will not include the £545 family element;
  • There will be no extra child elements for any third or further children born after this date , whether the claim started after this date or not, unless the child was born as the result of rape, or what the government calls 'non-consensual conception'. How this will work in practice remains to be seen.

icon-warning1.jpgIf you want to get your tax credit calculations exactly right, you need to take into account of the fact that yearly amounts are scaled down to daily amounts, rounded up to the nearest whole penny, and they scaled up again. To make things easier to understand I ignore this complication in this website. The difference, in my opinion, is to small to be worth worrying about: for example, for a family with two non-disabled children the difference would be £1.00 over a whole year. However if you use my approach and your answers don’t exactly match the ones in the Tax Credit Office letters, this is why.

icon-example1.jpgJasmine was working 29 hours a week but is now on maternity leave: she has just had her baby: the baby was born on 7th May. She is 27 years old. She and the baby are in good health and not disabled. She normally earns £261 per week gross, which works out as £13,609 per year. She’s been in her current job for a couple of years.

As she was working less than 30 hours per week, she would not be entitled to Working Tax Credit until she became a (single) parent (if she was less than 25 years old she wouldn’t have been entitled to Working Tax Credit until now even if she worked more than 30 hours per week).

She would initially receive about £63 Child Tax Credit and £19 Working Tax Credit, based on her previous year’s income. This might well be revised upwards later as her actual income will almost certainly less than normal due to being on maternity leave.
  • Maximum Child Tax Credit Annual entitlement: £545 (family element) + £2,780 (child element) = £3,325
  • Maximum Working Tax Credit annual entitlement: £1,960 (basic element) + £2,010 (lone parent element) = £3,970
  • Annual Gross Income minus £6,420 = £7,189. 41% of £7,189 is about £2,948.
  • We now need to reduce the maximum tax credits by this figure.
  • This reduces the Working Tax Credit entitlement award to £1,022 (£3,970 minus £2,948): the Child Tax Credit isn’t reduced at all so is still £3,325 By dividing these by 365 and multiplying them by 7 we see how these figures look as weekly amounts: about £63.77 Child Tax Credit and about £20 Working Tax Credit

Remember that this is an initial assessment, and does not take into account the fact that Jasmine’s actual income will probably be less than normal.

Income Support

Sure Start Maternity Grant 

Housing Benefit

Council Tax Support

When to claim what (unless you’re entitled to Income Support)

icon-warning1.jpgIf you are getting close to the three month time limit and still haven’t received a Child Tax Credit award, make a claim for it anyway before the three months runs out. If this is refused don’t worry: just wait until you are awarded Child Tax Credit, and then make another claim for the grant within three months of this. This only works if you’ve made a first claim for the grant within three months of the baby being born.

icon-warning1.jpgThe Tax Credit Office will ask you for your Child Benefit Number, which you won’t have at this stage, but don’t worry about this. Just make sure you tell the Tax Credit Office when you get given a Child Benefit number