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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, and have no job’
>> ‘I was on Employment and Support Allowance before’

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

Child Benefit

Child Tax Credit

icon-example1.jpg(When I do tax credit calculations, as here, I normally start with annual figures and then scale them down at the end. It’s important to bear in mind, though, that these annual figures are being used for calculation purposes: it doesn’t follow that a person will actually get that amount in a year - they might claim 5 months into the year, for example.)

First child: Annual entitlement: £545 (family element) + £2,780 (child element) = £3,325
Weekly entitlement (approx): £3,325 divided by 365 and multiplied by 7 = £63.77

Two children: Annual entitlement: £545 (family element) + £2,780+£2,780 (child elements) = £6,105
Weekly entitlement (approx): £6,105 divided by 365 and multiplied by 7 = £117.08

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.

Income Support

You can claim Income Support online by phoning the Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688.

But why can’t I just carry on with my Employment and Support Allowance?

That’s a very good question. And the answer is that often you can: you might even be better off this way. Here’s what you need to think about…


  • If you are getting income based Employment and Support Allowance, and it includes the work-related activity component or the support component, it is probably in your interests to get stay with the Employment and Support Allowance, at least until you have problems with it.
  • If you are getting contribution based Employment and Support Allowance and you are getting the work-related activity component or the support component, you need to balance the pros and cons of keeping the extra bit of Employment and Support Allowance or getting a lump sum of £500: This is tricky as you’ll almost certainly not know how long you’ll be getting the Employment and Support Allowance for…
  • If you are not getting either the work-related activity component or the support component you probably need to seek further advice into your individual circumstances (to see, for example, if you are likely to get arrears of one of these components in the future).

Sure Start Maternity Grant

Housing Benefit

Council Tax Support

When to claim what…

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