Other benefits and payments

Benefits payments

Working out the money that is due to you during and after pregnancy is quite complicated and things can change. For up-to-date advice check with your employer, your trade union or your local Citizens Advice Bureau. Visit the Citizens Advice Scotland website for more information.

Up-to-date advice can also be found at www.gov.uk

Child benefit

You will usually be entitled to child benefit from the date your baby is born. A form for child benefit is handed out by the hospital after your child is born. Claim within three months to access the full amount. The form is also available online visit GOV.UK child benefit or phone 0300 200 3100.

Sure Start and Best Start grants

Sure Start is a lump sum grant to help with thecosts of a new baby if you or your partner are oncertain benefits. You do not have to pay backany of this money. Claim your grant using form SF100 which must also be signed by an approved health professional. You can get the claim form from your local Jobcentre Plus office or online at GOV.UK maternity grant

You will probably only qualify for your first child and you can claim at any time from the 29th week ofpregnancy until your child is three months old. The Best Start maternity grant will replace the Sure Start grant by summer 2019. You will still need to be in receipt of a qualifying benefit.       

Childcare vouchers and tax-free childcare

Your employer may offer you pay in the formof vouchers for childcare. This may reduce the amount of tax you pay, but you could lose out on help with childcare through tax credits.  See GOV.UK childcare vouchers for more details. This scheme will be closed to new entrants from 6 April 2018 and replaced by a 'Tax-free childcare' scheme. Tax-free childcare can provide some help with the costs of childcare if you are in work and your income is too high for tax credits or universal credit.

The government will pay £2 forevery £8 that you pay into an online childcare account, up to a maximum of £2,000 per year per child (£4,000 if your child is disabled). But if you’re on a lower income, you will usually be better off getting tax credits or universal credit instead, as you cannot get either of these at the same time as tax-free childcare. Find out more about tax free childcare. This scheme will be closed to new entrants in 2017 and replaced by a 'Tax-free childcare' scheme.

Healthy Start

You are entitled to free vitamins during your  pregnancy. You may also be eligible for vouchers which can be exchanged for any combination of milk, fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables, and infant formula milk in registered shops. If you qualify, you can also get free vitamins after your baby is born. Ask your midwife or health visitor, visit the HealthyStart website at  or call the Healthy Start helpline on 0345 607 6823. You will qualify for Healthy Start if you are at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4 years, and if you or your family receive certain benefits. 

Remember you need to reapply after you have had your baby. All pregnant women under the age of 18 also qualify for Healthy Start, whether or not they are on benefits. All pregnant women in Scotland are entitled to free vitamins.

Tax credits

You may be eligible for child tax credit and working tax credit. You do not need to have been in work to get child tax credit. The amount you get depends on your circumstances and income.

You may also be entitled to working tax credit if you are in work, including while on maternity leave for 39 weeks.

Working tax credit can include help with childcare costs. Claim within one month of the birth, or you may lose money.

Universal credit

Tax credits and some other benefits are gradually being replaced by universal credit. If you are already getting universal credit when your baby is born, you claim a child addition in universal credit instead of child tax credit.

In some areas, if you are not already getting tax credits, you will claim universal credit when your baby is born.

Find out more about universal credit  or speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau. If you already have two or more children in your family, you might not get any more child tax credit or universal credit for a new baby. You should always report the birth of a new baby, as there are some exceptions, and amounts are payable for childcare costs and disabled children. Child benefit is still payable per child.

For information about tax credits call 0345 300 3900 and for universal credit call 0800 328 5644 or visit Gov.uk.

Working out pregnancy-related money and entitlements can be complicated and things can change.

More information is available from the following websites

Or contact the following helplines

  • Working Families Helpline: 0300 012 0312
  • One Parent Families Scotland Helpline:0808 801 0323.
Remember all NHS dental treatment is free during pregnancy and for one year after the birth. 
Last Updated: 25 January 2018
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