Single Parent FAQs: Having a baby


Our advice and information team who work on our Lone Parent Helpline, webchat and Ask a Question feature, receive questions from single parents around Scotland every day.

Our new feature – Single Parent FAQs – on our newsletter and blog spotlights Frequently Asked Questions on a different topic each month.

This month, our advice team have been receiving a lot of calls from single parents regarding having a baby.

See some of the answers we’ve given.

Having a baby and being a single parent FAQs

Q. I have just found out I’m pregnant I work part time and still live at home with my parents, will I be able to get help to buy baby items?

A. Depending on your circumstances you may be able to apply for a grant of £606 for your first baby and £303 for each baby after that. See more information on sources of financial help with your baby.

There is also a baby box supplied with baby items and the box is safe for your new-born baby to sleep in. Your midwife will be able to help you register for the box between 20-24 weeks pregnant.

Q. I am still living at home with my parents and our home is very overcrowded without adding all the stuff the baby needs too, is there any way of my securing a tenancy when I’m not working?

A. You don’t have to be working to gain a tenancy. There are two options for housing, a social landlord or a private landlord and you can get help towards your rent included in your Universal Credit. Find out more information on your housing options.

Q. I’m pregnant and unsure when I must tell my employer and don’t know how long I’m allowed off to look after my baby I will be a single parent with no one to look after the baby.

A. You are best to let your employer know so they can do a risk assessment and make sure your job is safe to do whilst pregnant. If you have a contract with your employer, you are entitled to take 52 weeks statutory maternity leave regardless of how long you have worked there.

You must tell your employer when you want to start your maternity leave by the end of the 15th week before the week the baby is due. Being off work sick in the last four weeks of pregnancy can trigger the start of your maternity leave.

Q. I’m pregnant with my first child, what benefits I can claim for my baby?

A. Once the baby is born and if you are on a low income you can apply for the child element of Universal Credit, Child benefit and Scottish Child Payment. You can call our free phone helpline on 0808 801 0323 and we can calculate your benefits whilst on maternity leave and before you return to work. More info when you are expecting or just had a baby.

Q. My ex-boyfriend is refusing to have anything to do with the baby when she is born. Is there any way that I can name him on the birth certificate?

A. Unfortunately there is no way of you naming him on the birth certificate unless he is there, you can only name the dad if you are married. If you are finding it difficult to communicate with him then you could always try mediation. More info at Relationship Scotland.

Q. I have just found out I’m pregnant with my third child will I be able to claim anything at all?

A. You would not receive the child element of Universal Credit however you would still be entitled to claim Child Benefit and the Scottish Child Payment. You could call, chat or email one of our advisers and they will go through entitlement and when to claim.

Q. I had my baby 3 weeks ago, my baby’s daddy is refusing any practical or financial help what can I do? He wanted his name on the birth certificate because he wanted to be in her life.

A. If you have spoken to him regarding child maintenance and he is refusing, you can contact child maintenance options and they can explain how to apply to the child maintenance service. More info on our child maintenance arrangements.

Q. I have had an awful pregnancy and feel very isolated because I have no family support. What help is available?

A. Speak with your midwife or health visitor and see what activities are available in your area to meet new mums. Home Start is also a great organisation for supporting families with young children. More info on our child maintenance arrangements.

Q. My friend is pregnant, and she receives a card and she gets money on it to buy healthy food. I don’t work, how do I get one?

A. Best Start Foods is a prepaid card that you can use to buy healthy foods for children under 3. You can use the card in shops and online.

You can apply for Best Start Foods when you’re pregnant, or any time up to your child turning 3 years old.

You’ll get:

  • £18 every 4 weeks during pregnancy;
  • £36 every 4 weeks from your child being born up until they’re a 1-year-old;
  • £18 every 4 weeks between the ages of 1 and 3.

Apply for Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods.

Do you still have questions?

Contact our advisers via our Lone Parent Helpline on 0808 801 0323.

Or get in touch via the webchat, email or submit a question at our 'talk to us' section. We can offer advice and information on issues affecting single parents, including benefits, childcare, separation, work, child maintenance and more.

Talk to us