Pregnancy and your benefits

This information was correct at the time of writing - always double check with the relevant authority to ensure you have the very latest information.

Being pregnant brings a whole host of maternity benefits.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

If you have been with your current employer for 26 weeks before the Qualifying Week and earn over an average of £87 per week, then you will be entitled to SMP.

SMP is:

If your baby is due on or after 1st April 2007

  • 90% of your pay with no upper limit for the first 6 weeks.
  • £117.18 or 90% of your average earnings if this is less, for a remaining 33 weeks.

Maternity Allowance (MA)

If you are unable to claim SMP then you may be able to claim MA.

  • It is paid for a maximum of 39 weeks.

Will claiming Maternity Allowance affect my benefits?

Yes it may, it can affect the amount of other benefits you are entitled to. The benefits that could be stopped or reduced are:

  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Bereavement Benefits
  • Income Support
  • Jobseekers Allowance will be stopped

Incapacity Benefit (IB)

If you do not qualify for MA then you may be entitled to IB. This is paid at a lower rate than MA. You can claim from 6 weeks before your baby is due until 14 days after the birth.

Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP)

This is paid for up to 39 weeks, allowing you to take leave when you have adopted a child. You must have been in your job for 26 weeks before the adoption. Your partner may be able to get Statutory Paternity Pay.

Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP)

Paid to father’s who have been with their employer for 26 weeks by the Qualifying Week. Paid for 2 weeks at the same rate as basic SMP.

Free prescriptions

You can get free prescriptions for the duration of your pregnancy and for 12 months after your baby’s birth.

NHS dental treatment

Standard dental treatment is free during pregnancy and for the first 12 months after your baby is born.

Child Trust Fund

When you claim child benefit your baby is sent a £250 voucher which you can put in a saving or investment account. This money can be added to but it can only be withdrawn by the child and only when they reach 18. In low income households, or if you get a higher rate of Child Tax Credit, a further £250 is awarded to the child.

For more information see: Child Trust Fund >>

Child benefit

A benefit paid to the parent or guardian of every child under 16 in the UK, to help with the cost of raising them. If you don’t receive a claim pack in your Bounty Pack when your baby is born, then contact your local Jobcentre Plus.

Sure Start maternity grant

This is a one off payment of £500, to help with the cost of baby care items. You can claim this if you or your partner gets one of the following:

  • Higher rate Child Tax Credit.
  • Working Tax Credit with a disability element.
  • Income Support.
  • Jobseekers Allowance (income based).
  • Pension Credit.

Health in Pregnancy Grant

You may be entitled to a single tax-free payment of £190 if you expected date of delivery is on or after 6th April 2009.

You can apply for this grant if:

  • You are 25 weeks or more pregnant
  • You have received medical advise on keeping you and your baby healthy, from a doctor or midwife.
  • You must be classed as "Ordinarily Resident" (usually meaning your main home is in the UK) or have the "Right to Reside" here.

More about the Health in Pregnancy Grant

If your application is successful you will receive £190 per pregnancy. Multiple baby pregnancies will get the same as single baby pregnancies. This Grant is additional to other tax credits or benefits you may receive, income is irrelevent.

How to claim

You will need to claim from the 25th week of pregnancy. The completed form then needs to be signed by your doctor or midwife. Once you have obtained a signiture you need to return the form within 31 days. This is very important, if it is longer than 31 days you will not get the grant. The form must be returned to the Health in Pregnancy Office.

You can get a free reminder sent to you online at 25 weeks. Visit the Direct Gov website to set this up.

The claim forms can be obtained from your doctor or midwife, or by calling the Health in Pregnancy Grant Office on 0845 366 7885.

Child Tax Credits

This can be claimed by most families with children.

Working Tax Credits

This can be claimed if you have a low income and have young children.

For more information on Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits: Tax Credits Online >>

Free milk

You can get free milk tokens if you receive:

  • Income Support.
  • Income Based Jobseekers Allowance.

Speak to your midwife or GP about the tokens.