From bump to baby

Money while you’re pregnant

Statutory Maternity Pay

  • To qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) you need to have been employed for at least 26 weeks, by the same employer without a break, 15 weeks before your baby is due.
  • SMP is paid by your employer for a maximum of 39 weeks. For the first six

weeks it is paid at 90% of your average weekly wage, then reduced for the following 33 weeks.

  • SMP counts as earnings, so your employer will still deduct tax and national insurance.
  • You can receive SMP from 11 weeks before your due date or, at the latest, the day after your baby is born.
  • You will need to give your employer your MATB1 Maternity Certificate. This is given to you by your midwife or GP 20 weeks before your due date.
  • Your wages will be paid in the usual way.
  • If you are not entitled to SMP, your employer will give you a SMP1 form explaining why. You should contact the DWP and ask for a Maternity Allowance Pack. Remember to include the SMP1 form when you return your application.

Maternity Allowance

  • Maternity allowance (MA) is paid for 39 weeks and is not subject to tax or National Insurance.
  • Maternity Allowance is paid at a standard weekly rate or 90 per cent of your average gross weekly earnings (before tax), whichever is lower.
  • It can be paid from 11 weeks before the baby is due or from the day following the birth, at the latest.
  • You can claim Maternity Allowance as soon as you’ve been pregnant for 26 weeks. You should contact DWP for a MA1 claim pack. You’ll need to send them your MATB1 as proof of pregnancy. If you have been working, you will need to send pay slips too.
  • MA is paid fortnightly or four-weekly in arrears and will paid into a bank account.

You might be able to claim Maternity Allowance if:

You’re employed but don’t qualify for SMP

  • You’re registered self-employed and paying class 2 National Insurance Contributions
  • You have recently been employed. You must have been employed and/or self-employed for at least 26 weeks in your 'test period' (the 66 weeks up to and including the week before the week your baby is due).

Sure Start Maternity Grant

If you're on a low income, the Sure Start Maternity Grant is a one-off payment to help towards the cost of a new baby. The grant is issued by the Social Fund and you must be receiving one of the following benefits to qualify:

  • Income Support
  • Job Seekers Allowance (income Based).
  • Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related).
  • Child Tax credit paid at an amount higher than the basic family element.
  • Working Tax Credit where there is a disability or severe disability element included.
  • Pension Credit.

You will only qualify for a grant if you don’t have any other children under the age of 16.

To apply you should contact the DWP for a SF100 Sure Start claim pack. You can claim from the 29th week of pregnancy up until your baby is 3 months old.

The grant is not affected by savings and you won’t have to pay it back.

Your midwife, health visitor or GP will have to sign the form on the back of the application pack.

Telling people about your baby’s birth

Registering your baby’s birth

When your new baby is born, he or she will need to be registered. You have six weeks after the birth in which to do this. It is advisable that you get this done as soon as you can, as you need to send the original birth certificate to claim your benefits.

You will be charged a small fee by the registrar. It is a good idea to get the large certificate at registration as you will need this when you apply for your child’s passport. Children can no longer travel on their parents’ passports.

Your benefits

If you receive Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance (Income Based) or Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related) you will need to notify the DWP about the birth so they can amend their records. They may ask to see your child’s birth certificate.

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit

If you are receiving Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit, you must notify your local authority about the birth. They will need to see the birth certificate and proof of child benefit before they can amend your claim.

Last Updated : 12 January 2016
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