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‘I'm about to have my first baby: what am I entitled to?’
> ‘I have a partner and they are working full-time, and I was working but am taking maternity leave’

For the purposes of this page, we’ll take full-time as being 24 hours a week or more. If your partner works less than 24 hours a week things can get quite complicated and I recommend that you seek further advice.

Because your partner works 24 or more hours a week you are not going to be entitled to Income Support, if for no other reason. However there are some things you are entitled to, and other things you might be entitled to.

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.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-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-example1.jpgJane was working 16 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. Her partner, Ellie, is 30 years old and works 18 hours per week. They are all in good health and not disabled. Jane normally earns £230 per week gross, which works out as £11,993 per year. Ellie earns £243 per week gross, which works out as £12,671. They’ve both been in their current job for a couple of years.

Jane’s maternity pay starts at the beginning of April and she gets it for the full 39 weeks, at £139.58. After that she returns to work on the same wages as before.

As neither of them is working 30+ hours or more per week, they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit until the baby is born.

They would initially receive no Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit, based on their previous year’s income. However when the award is finalised after the end of the year, taking into account Jane’s reduced income, it will turn out that although their income is too high for them to get any Working Tax Credit, they will be entitled to £1,110 Child Tax Credit over the year, which works out as about £21 per week.

The Calculations:
Maximum Child Tax Credit Annual entitlement: £545 (family element) + £2780 (child element) = £3,325
Maximum Working Tax Credit annual entitlement: £1,960 (basic element) + £2,010 (couple element) = £3,970
Annual Gross Income minus £6,420 = £18,244
41% of £18,244 is about £7,480. We now need to reduce the maximum tax credit amounts by this figure.
Unfortunately, as the Maximum Working Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit figures added together come to £7,295, which is less than £7,480, Jane and Ellie are not entitled to any Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit.

But, after the year end the actual income figures need to be taken into account, and these will be less because Jane has only been getting £140.98 a week (her Statutory Maternity Pay) for 39 weeks of the year, and only received her normal pay for 13 weeks, her actual income for the year will be £8,488.22 instead of £11,993. This will reduce their overall income to £21,159.22. Annual Gross Income minus £6,420 = £14,739 (£21,159-£6,420)

41% of £14,684 is about £6,043. We now need to reduce the maximum tax credit amounts by this figure.

As £6,043 is way more than £3,930 there isn’t going to be any Working Tax Credit at all. However the £6,045 has now shrunk to £2,073 (£6,043 - £3,970).

The actual Child Tax Credit payable is the Maximum Child Tax Credit minus £2,050, which works out as roughly £1,252 (£3,325 - £2,073).

By dividing this by 365 and multiplying them by 7 we see how this figure looks as a weekly amount: about £24 Child Tax Credit. Don’t forget, though, that Jane and Ellie won’t be getting this as weekly amounts because this will only get worked our after the year has ended.

icon-warning1.jpgThis example above tells us that it’s very important to make a claim for tax credits even if you won’t initially be awarded anything from your previous year’s income, because you might be entitled to money when everything is finalised, but only if you make the claim in the first place. Remember that tax credits cannot be backdated more than a month.

Sure Start Maternity Grant
Housing Benefit

Council Tax Support

When to claim what…

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