Benefits advice - Maternity and bringing up children

Universal Credit is a new benefit that is replacing many of the current benefits and tax credits with a single monthly payment. It is designed to support working age people with their basic living expenses and housing costs.

It is gradually being introduced across the country and will replace the following benefits:

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support 
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Housing Benefit (some exceptions apply)

A range of support is available depending on your circumstances. The following links will give you more information about the benefits you may be entitled to.

Statutory Maternity Pay

If you work for an employer and are expecting a baby, you may be able to get this weekly payment. You don’t have to be intending to return to work to get it.

More information on Statutory Maternity Pay

Statutory Paternity Pay

When your wife, partner or civil partner gives birth or adopts a child, you may be able to get Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP). This is money that’s paid by your employer to help you take time off work.

More information on Statutory Paternity Pay

Maternity Allowance

You may be able to get this if you cannot get SMP (for example because you are self-employed or have recently changed or left your job).

More information on Maternity Allowance

Statutory Adoption Pay

If you take time off to adopt a child you may be eligible for Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP).

More information on Statutory Adoption Pay

New Style Employment and Support Allowance

If you can’t get either SMP from your employer or Maternity Allowance from the DWP you may be able to get New Style Employment & Support Allowance (ESA). Your maternity certificate is accepted as evidence of incapacity for work.

New style ESA can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit.

You can apply for New Style ESA online. If you can’t make an application online, you can apply by calling the Universal Credit helpline.

Universal Credit

If you do not qualify for Maternity Allowance or Statutory Maternity Pay, are unemployed and cannot look for work, or on a low income, you might be able to claim Universal Credit while you are pregnant.

More on Universal Credit

Guardian's Allowance

This is a flat rate allowance paid to a person bringing up a child whose parents have died, or one has died and the other is untraceable or serving a prison sentence longer than 5 years.

More information on Guardian’s Allowance

Sure Start Maternity Grants

A Sure Start Maternity Grant is a one-off payment of £500 which is paid to assist with the cost of a new baby. You, or a member of your family, must be pregnant or have given birth in the last three months.

More information on Sure Start Maternity Grants

Child Benefit

You can get child benefit (CB) if you are responsible for a dependent child or a qualifying young person. This is a young person under the age of 20 and in full-time, non-advanced education.

More information on Child Benefit

Child Tax Credit

Child Tax Credit is a means-tested credit for families with children and is paid direct to the main carer. The amount you will get depends on your income. You can qualify for Child Tax Credit whether you are working or not.

More information on Child Tax Credit

Please note: You can no longer make a new claim for Child Tax Credit and will need to claim Universal Credit instead.

More on Universal Credit

Find out more about the support available whilst pregnant.