Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Benefits and Entitlements for Expectant and New Parents

Having a baby is expensive – there’s no getting around that!  Thankfully there is help available to expectant and new parents. 
Here’s a quick guide. 

Sure Start Maternity Grant
A grant of £500 is available to parents-to-be on low incomes to help with preparing all those baby essentials.  To see if you qualify for the grant, please visit:

Healthy Start Scheme
Healthy Start is a government scheme that provides vouchers for free milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, infant formula and vitamins to certain pregnant women and children in families on low incomes.  Visit: to find out if you are eligible.
You can get an application form from your midwife or health visitor or complete it online.
Lots of shops except the vouchers – look out for the Healthy Start sticker or ask in store.

Free prescriptions and dental care
All mums-to-be qualify for a prescription exemption certificate once their pregnancy has been certified by a doctor or midwife.  You need to complete form FW8 and they will need to sign it.  You’ll be sent a handy little credit card type certificate that you can keep in your wallet. 
Just remember to mention it at the chemist or dentist when you visit!
It entitles you to free prescritions and dental care so get one as soon as possible.  They last until a year after the day your baby is expected.  For more info visit:

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
To help you take time off work with your baby, you may be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) which is a payment from the government and is paid to you via your employer. 
(You may also be lucky enough to have this enhanced by an employer’s maternity scheme).
For more details on SMP and to find out if you qualify please visit the Pennies 4 Parents Blog:

Maternity Allowance
Mums-to-be who do not qualify for SMP may still be entitled to Maternity Allowance.
This is also paid by the Government but direct to your bank account for 39 weeks.
For more information please visit:

Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP)
Most working Fathers are entitled to Statutory Paternity Pay for 2 weeks after the birth of their baby.
The current rate is £128.73 per week.
New Dads are now also eligible to take Additional Paternity Leave and Pay if the Mother returns to work before the end of her Statutory 39 weeks of Maternity Pay.
For more information on Paternity Pay please see:

Tax Credits
Tax Credits are payments from the Government.  Your entitlement depends on your household income. Visit: to see if you qualify – you may be pleasantly surprised!
More information can be found here too:

Child Benefit
You normally qualify for Child Benefit if you have children under 16 (or under 20 if in certain types of education or training), but you do have to apply for it.
You should receive an application in the useful Bounty Pack you are given in hospital when your baby is born (or your midwife will pass you one). 
You can also print off a form here:
The current weekly rates for Child Benefit are: £20.30 for your first/oldest child and £13.40 for other children.

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