Am I entitled to any pregnancy benefits?
It depends on whether you qualify as eligibility differs for each scheme.
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
SMP is a weekly payment from your employer that can be paid for up to 39 weeks. The amount depends on your earnings.
To qualify for SMP, you must have:
- worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before your baby’s due
- earned an average of at least £102 a week before tax (for the 2011-12 tax year)
Maternity Allowance (MA)
Maternity Allowance is a weekly payment that can be claimed through Jobcentre Plus. It can be paid for up to 39 weeks. The amount depends on your earnings.
You may be eligible for Maternity Allowance if:
- you’re employed but not eligible for SMP
- you’ve been employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before you’re due to give birth
- you’re registered as self-employed and pay National Insurance contributions or have a Small Earnings Exception certificate
- you earned at least £30 a week on average over any 13-week period during the 66 weeks
Directgov has more information about Maternity Allowance.
Sure Start Maternity Grant
People who receive some benefits may be entitled to the Sure Start Maternity Grant. This is a one-off payment of £500 that helps towards the costs of providing for a new baby. You don’t have to repay it.
Some changes to the rules apply from 11 April 2011. Directgov has more information about the Sure Start Maternity Grant, including the changes to the rules.
Healthy Start scheme
The Healthy Start scheme currently provides eligible people with vouchers that can be spent on:
- plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables
- infant formula
Free vitamin supplements are also available throughHealthy Start.
You can’t use the vouchers to buy fresh or frozen fruit and veg with added fat, sugar, salt and flavourings, such as oven chips and seasoned stir frys.
Directgov has more information about free milk, fruit, vegetables, infant formula and vitamins.
Health in Pregnancy Grant
The Health in Pregnancy Grant is a one-off payment of £190 for each pregnancy. You currently qualify if:
- you’re at least 25 weeks pregnant
- a midwife or doctor has given you health advice to help you and your baby stay healthy during your pregnancy, and
- you live and have the right to live in the UK
You need to have reached the 25th week of your pregnancy before 1 January 2011 to qualify for the Health in Pregnancy Grant.
Directgov has more information about the Health in Pregnancy Grant.
Published Date 2011-04-05
Last Review Date 2011-03-30