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Confused about your maternity entitlements?
It’s important to be aware of the support available to you to make sure you’re not missing out on money – afterall, having a baby isn’t cheap!
You may or may not know exactly what financial support you’re entitled when you’re pregnant and after the baby is born.
Here are some things you may want to look into.
If you or your partner earn under £50,000 a year, you are entitled to Child Benefit.
It is worth £21.05 per week for the first child, and £13.95 a week for each additional child.
It is paid every 4 weeks and you can get it backdated from the date your baby was born if you didn’t claim right away.
Free NHS Dental Treatment and Prescriptions
If you’re in England, you’ll usually have to pay for your prescriptions but while you’re pregnant, you can get a Maternity Exemption Certificate from your doctor or midwife.
NHS dental care is free in the UK while you’re pregnant, and for a whole year after your baby is born.
Healthy Start Vouchers
You may qualify for Healthy Start if you are pregnant or have a child under 4.
In Scotland you can apply for Best Start Foods.
If you are pregnant or have a child aged 1-4, you will receive weekly vouchers worth £3.10 to spend on milk, fruit and vegetables and formula.
If you have a child under 1 you’ll get 2 vouchers per week. You can also get free vitamins.
To be eligible you must receive certain benefits.
Paid Time Off for Appointments
If you are working, you are entitled to time off for all your ante-natal appointments.
You do not have to use your annual leave or work the hours back.
Employers must give pregnant employees time off for antenatal care and pay their normal rate for this time off.
The father or pregnant woman’s partner has the right to unpaid time off work to go to 2 antenatal appointments.
Statutory Maternity Pay/Leave
Statutory Maternity leave is made up of 2 parts:
Ordinary Maternity Leave – First 26 weeks
Additional Maternity Leave – Last 26 weeks
You do not have to take the full 52 weeks but by law you are required to take 2 weeks (or 4 if you work in a factory)
Pay wise, SMP is paid for 39 weeks (any additional weeks after this are unpaid).
90% of your usual pay for the first 6 weeks
Followed by £151.20 for the next 33 weeks
If you haven’t been in your job long enough to claim SMP, you can claim Maternity Allowance instead.
Sure Start Maternity Grant
If you’re on certain benefits, you might be entitled to a one off payment of £500 for your first child.
You must claim the grant within 11 weeks of the baby’s due date or within 6 months after the baby’s birth.
If you didn’t claim it for your first child, you may be able to claim it for your next.
In Scotland you can apply for a Pregnancy and Baby payment instead.