Money when you are expecting, or have just had, a baby
Last updated: 06/04/2023
What benefits and other money you’ll have to live on when you are pregnant, or have just had a baby, depends on your circumstances before and after pregnancy. Below is an overview of the financial support you may get in different situations.
Child Benefit, Scottish Child Payment and Universal Credit
You can get these payments whether you are working or not but they can be affected by other income you have. There may also be other financial help depending on your specific circumstances.
Child Benefit is payable from the day your baby is born.
Who can get it?
You can get Child Benefit if you are responsible for a dependent child or young person.
A dependent child is one who usually lives with you and is under 16 years of age. A young person is someone up to age 20 who usually lives with you and is in full-time non-advanced education in school or college.
You cannot split Child Benefit for one child even if you share their care with someone else.
How much is it?
Child Benefit rates:
First child: £24.00
Second and subsequent children: £15.90
If your income is more than £50,000 p/a you will pay more income tax if you receive Child Benefit. This is known as the High-Income Child Benefit Charge. If you earn more than £60,000 the whole amount of Child Benefit you receive will be added to your income tax. You can decide to stop receiving Child Benefit, but it is important to remember that Child Benefit protects your National Insurance record. If you choose to continue receiving Child Benefit, you must register for self-assessment with HM Revenue & Customs and fill in a tax return to report the Child Benefit you receive.
How to apply
You can apply for Child Benefit on form CH2 from HM Revenue & Customs. You will need to download the form and post it or call the Child Benefit Helpline for a copy.
For more information see Child Benefit
Scottish Child Payment
The Scottish Child Payment is £25 per week given by the Scottish Government for each eligible child under 16 years old.
Who can get it?
You can get it for each child under 6 years old if you are receiving one of the benefits below:
- Universal Credit, or waiting for your first payment of Universal Credit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
How to apply
You can also apply via freephone helpline on 0800 182 2222 or ask for an application form to be sent to you that you can fill in and return.
For more information see Scottish Child Payment
Universal Credit helps with day to day living costs, rent and childcare costs. It is for both families and single people. You can get it if you are working or unemployed.
How much is it?
How much you get depends on your family circumstances and income.
When to apply for Universal Credit
You can apply for Universal Credit at any time.
If you apply for Universal Credit before your baby is born and do not get it you may qualify after your baby is born.
If you are already getting Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit or tax credits you can choose to continue receiving these until your baby is born and apply for Universal Credit when you have your baby.
Get advice about moving from Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit or tax credits to Universal Credit to check you will not be worse off.
How to apply
You need to apply for Universal Credit online.
For more information see: Universal Credit
Money based on your circumstances
Any benefits or financial support you get is based on if you are working or not, how much you earn and certain expenses you have, like rent and childcare costs. The situations here will give you an idea of what income to expect in different situations.
Money if you are expecting your first baby and not working
Benefits when you are pregnant
If you are already getting income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Housing Benefit when you become pregnant you can continue to get these until your baby is born. You will not be expected to do any of the work-related activity mentioned in your Claimant Commitment from 6 weeks before your baby is due.
If you are getting Universal Credit you will continue to get this and will not have to complete any work related activity from 11 weeks before your baby is due.
Benefits when your baby is born
Once your baby is born you can apply for Universal Credit for yourself, your baby and for money to pay rent. If you are already getting Universal Credit you can now get it for your baby too.
If you are getting Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Housing Benefit these will stop when you claim Universal Credit.
You will also get Child Benefit and Scottish Child Payment.
Money if you are expecting, or just had your first baby, and you are working
If you are working you may get Statutory Maternity Pay from your employer. You may also get benefits including Maternity Allowance, Child Benefit, Scottish Child Payment, tax credits, Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.
Money from your employer
If you are working when you become pregnant you may get Statutory Maternity Pay and Occupational Maternity Pay from your employer.
Statutory Maternity Pay
Statutory Maternity Pay is paid for 39 weeks by your employer. You’ll receive 90% of your average weekly earnings for six weeks followed by 33 weeks at £172.48 or 90% of earnings if this is less.
To qualify you must have been employed continuously by the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before your baby is due. You must also have earned at least £123 per week (before tax) over the last eight weeks. Your employer arranges Statutory Maternity Pay and it will be paid to you in the same way as your salary.
Occupational Maternity Pay
Your employer may pay you money in addition to Statutory Maternity Pay. This is called Occupational Maternity Pay. How much you get and for how long will be in your contract of employment.
If you do not get Statutory Maternity Pay from your employer you may get a benefit called Maternity Allowance instead. This could be the case if you are self-employed, changed your job during pregnancy, have just started a new job or are on a low income.
Who can get it?
To qualify you must have been working for any 26 weeks out of the 66 weeks before your baby’s due date. The 26 weeks do not have to be in a row or with the same employer. You must also have earned £30 per week or more. Your earnings are averaged over any 13 weeks in the 66 weeks before your baby is due. You can choose the weeks with the highest earnings to maximise your maternity allowance. Add all your earnings from the 13 weeks and divide this total by 13 to obtain the average.
There are different rules for calculating earnings if you are self-employed. Seek specialist advice for this.
How much is it?
Maternity Allowance is paid for 39 weeks and you will receive 90% of your earnings, or £172.48 per week, whichever is less.
Claim on form MA1 available from Jobcentre Plus
Telephone: 0800 055 6688
or visit www.gov.uk to download or request the form.
If you are already receiving tax credits or Housing Benefit you can continue to do so and get an extra amount for your new baby.
If you are not getting tax credits you may get Universal Credit.
Statutory Sick Pay
If you are ill and getting Statutory Sick Pay while you are pregnant it will stop 4 weeks before the date your baby is due if the illness is related to your pregnancy. It will stop on the day your baby is born if you are ill for another reason. You can then receive Maternity Allowance or Statutory Maternity Pay.
If you become ill within the 4 weeks before your baby is due it will trigger the start of Maternity Allowance or Statutory Maternity Pay.
You can not get Maternity Allowance or Statutory Maternity Pay at the same time as Statutory Sick Pay.
See more information on Statutory Sick Pay.
Money if you are expecting, or just had, another baby
The financial help you can get when you have a second or subsequent baby depends on your circumstances.
If you already get tax credits and Housing Benefit you can continue to get them. If you are not getting tax credits or Housing Benefit you can apply for, or continue to get, Universal Credit.
If working you may also get Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance.
You can get Child Benefit and Scottish Child Payment for a third or subsequent child but may not get tax credits or Universal Credit for them.
Contact the Lone Parent Helpline for information on your specific circumstances.
Money to pay for childcare
You can apply for help to pay for registered childcare from Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit. You may get this extra money when you return to work, depending on your income, but could also receive it while you are on maternity leave. To qualify while on maternity leave you must be getting Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance.
If you are not already getting Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit you can apply for Universal Credit. No new claims can be made for tax credits.
How much will I get?
Maximum amount for one child (85% of £760 limit) up to £646.35 per month
Maximum amount for two or more children (85% of £1,300 limit) up to £1,108.04 per month
Working Tax Credit
Maximum amount for one child (70% of up to £175.00 p/w of registered childcare costs) up to £122.50 per week
Maximum amount for two or more children (70% of up to £300.00 p/w of registered childcare costs) up to £210.00 per week
Money if you are under 16 and have had a baby
If you are under 16 when you have your baby, you can get Child Benefit even if you are still at school. Your parents or guardians can still get Child Benefit, Scottish Child Payment, Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for you. They can also claim these benefits for your new baby too.
If you are still at school you can apply for the Educational Maintenance Allowance.
Get advice about what benefits you can get, and when, so you can make the best financial decisions for you and your family.
Money if you are expecting, or just had a baby, and are in education or training
Financial help is available if you are starting, or continuing, in education or training while pregnant or after your baby is born.
The amount of help you receive will depend on the course you want to study. It is a complex area and you should get advice before committing yourself to a course of study.
Contact student services at your college/university or the Lone Parent Helpline:-
Telephone: 0808 801 0323 Mon – Fri , 9.30am – 4pm
Money when you have a miscarriage, your baby is stillborn or dies shortly after birth
If your pregnancy ends before 24 weeks and your baby is not born alive (miscarriage) you can not get Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance. You may get Statutory Sick Pay if you are working and also time off work to recover.
You can get Maternity Allowance or Statutory Maternity Pay if:
- your baby is born on or after your 24th week of pregnancy and is not born alive (still born) or
- your baby is born alive before your 24th week of pregnancy, even if they only live for a very short time, providing you meet the other qualifying criteria.
Child Maintenance from your baby’s other parent
Your child’s other parent has a responsibility to pay Child Maintenance. They do not have to have contact with your baby and their name does not need to be on the birth certificate.
The amount you get is based on the other parent’s income and the number of children they already have. Child Maintenance does not affect any benefits or tax credits you may be getting.