Employment and Support Allowance
If you cannot get either SMP from your employer or MA from Jobcentre Plus, you may be able to get Employment and Support Allowance. This will depend on your National Insurance (NI) contributions in recent years. Your maternity certificate (form MATB1) is accepted as evidence of incapacity for work for the period starting 6 weeks before the week the baby is due, to 14 days after the date on which the baby is born.
If you claim MA, your claim will automatically be considered for Employment and Support Allowance if you do not qualify for MA. You do not need to make a separate claim although you may be contacted for further information. This is true even if your MA claim is delayed until up to 3 months after your baby is born.
If your MA claim is disallowed, you may be able to continue to claim Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) after the beginning of the 11th week before the week in which your baby is due. But remember, you can claim JSA only if you are available for, capable of and actively seeking work. You should consult Jobcentre Plus.
You may be able to claim Income Support from the period beginning 11 weeks before your expected date of childbirth and ending 15 weeks after the date your pregnancy ends. You may also be able to claim at any time during your pregnancy if you are unable to work because of your pregnancy.
Sure Start Maternity Grant
The Sure Start Maternity Grant is a one-off payment to help with the cost of a new baby.
You are only eligible for a Sure Start Maternity Grant if: the baby you are claiming for is the only child under 16 in the family unless the other child under 16 is:
- dependent on you or your partner and their baby is the subject of the claim in question orone of twins or a greater number of children expected or born from the same pregnancy
- You or your partner must be getting:
Income Support or
Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or
Employment and Support Allowance (income-related) or
Pension Credit or
Working Tax Credit where a disability or severe disability element is included in the award or
Child Tax Credit at a rate higher than the family element
And one of the following must apply at the date you claim:
- You or your partner are pregnant and expecting a baby within 11 weeks,you or
- Your partner have had a baby in the past 3 months,
- You or your partner have a dependent child or dependent young person who is pregnant and expecting a baby within 11 weeks or who has had a baby in the past 3 months,
- You have become the responsible parent of a new baby, claim within 3 months of becoming responsible and are not the partner of the child's mother at the date of claim
- You or your partner have a dependent child who has become the responsible parent of a baby and the claim is within 3 months of them becoming responsible
You can also claim if you or your partner are getting one of the benefits or entitlements above and have:
- been granted an adoption or residence order for a baby - you must claim within 3 months of the order being granted and the baby must be no more than 12 months old
- been granted a parental order in respect of a surrogate birth of a baby - you must claim within 3 months of the order being granted and the baby must be no more than 12 months old
- had a baby placed with you for adoption by an agency - you must claim within 3 months of this happening and the baby must be no more than 12 months old
- been appointed the legal guardian of a baby - you must claim within 3 months of this happening and the baby must be no more than 12 months old
- adopted a baby overseas where certain criteria are met - you must claim within 3 months of this taking effect or being recognised and the baby must be no more than 12 months old.
If you are waiting for a decision on a qualifying benefit or entitlement, you must still claim within the time limits above.
More information about Sure Start Maternity Grants is available on the Directgov website.