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Statutory maternity pay - am I seriously meant to survive on £128 a week!

(88 Posts)
Lozza05 Tue 10-May-11 22:56:35

can anyone help advise on whether statutory maternity pay will make me a low income earner? This is my first child and I'm confused about what help I can get in terms of benefits. My salary would not class me as low earner generally but once the 6 weeks 90% pay is over and I'm on £128 per week, will that put me in a low earner bracket?
I don't see how smp will cover anything but it's not clear what other benefits I will get. Any advice much appreciated, currently panicking over how my partner alone will cover all costs without a real salary from me!

mummybearah Thu 10-Oct-13 13:04:51

Forgot to mention that my current wage does not entitle me to any benefits! Real bummer!

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 13:14:39

I'm actually wondering this too..

Our incomings and outgoings are much the same, so we can't save to prepare for me only earning. £130 a week or whatever it is. And we can't afford our rent and bills on DP's wage alone, so we will be homeless!

We will get TC but they don't make anywhere near the difference, and we won't be entitled to housing benefit.

Genuinely, what will we do?

debtcamel Thu 10-Oct-13 13:24:59

@mummybearah - apart from SMP you will be entitled to child benefit and possisbly child tax credit when the child is born. And possibly Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support. (It's not clear from your post if you are a single parent or if you have a partner - if you have a partner their income will be taken into account in calculating your benefits.)

Use www.turn2us.org.uk to see what benefits you WILL be entitled to.

If you are just renting a room, you need to talk to your local council about either rehousing you or giving you help with a deposit so you can rent somewhere in the private sector.

debtcamel Thu 10-Oct-13 13:32:48

@DSM

see my reply to mummybearah and work out what benefits if any you are entitled to.

This is the time to start seeing how you can reduce your expenditure - loads of sites on the web to help with this, here is a start: debtcamel.co.uk/improve/decrease-your-expenditure/.

Tell all your friends and family you would like any baby stuff they have - small babies don't know or care if their cot, buggy, babygrows, baby bath etc are new or secondhand.

You may have to choose between major lifestyle changes or going back to work earlier than you want sad

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 13:36:56

According to the benefits agency, we are not entitled to housing or CT benefit.

I have no friends/family with any baby stuff.

And we have looked at our finances, there is nothing we can cut back on. Other than getting rid of the car, but we'd spend about the same a month on bus and taxi fares so would be pointless.

Going back to work earlier would be fine, except I wouldn't really be earning anything after paying child care for a little baby, and it doesn't help for the month or two that I would be off. We literally cannot pay the bills.

I genuinely don't know what we will do.

debtcamel Thu 10-Oct-13 13:48:34

"According to the benefits agency, we are not entitled to housing or CT benefit." are you talking about NOW or after the baby is born?

Tell everyone at work and your partner's work you want baby stuff - people have attics full of it that they would like to get rid of! Look on Freecycle and Freegle. Ask your neighbours.

Do you have any debts?

Working Tax Credits may help with the childcare costs.

Use www.turn2us.org.uk to see what benefits you will get - pretend you have already had the baby and are getting SMP only and see what comes out.

If you want some help looking at your finances in detail, you could go to your local CAB, but if you are working that often isnt convenient. You could post on this forum boards.fool.co.uk/dealing-with-debt-50079.aspx?mid=12900027 which is mainly for debt advice but they would be happy to help in your situation if you post details of your income and expenditure.

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 13:52:55

No debts.

I work in a company with only 4 other people, all of whom have teenagers. DP is almost the exact opposite - works in a very young office. I have asked my colleagues, but DP is new in his office and doesn't feel comfortable asking if anyone has any extended family/friends whom could donate stuff to us.

We don't know any of our neighbours (other than one childless couple).

I did turn2us just now. The only thing that came up was CB?

sebsmummy1 Thu 10-Oct-13 13:58:16

I was only entitled to maternity allowance as I had just switched jobs. It worked out around £250 every two weeks. I have savings, my OH pays the bills, I stay in a lot. You just make it work.

sebsmummy1 Thu 10-Oct-13 14:00:57

Free cycle would definitely be your friend. If you google freecycle and your local area you should find a few sites you can join. Then post asking if anyone has any baby things, I am absolutely sure you will get lots of offers of help.

Otherwise bundles on eBay, car boot sales, NCT sales, charity shops xx

sebsmummy1 Thu 10-Oct-13 14:03:32

If you seriously think you could end up homeless then you must got to the citizens advice bureau or make an appointment to see someone in your local council housing office. Are you renting? Could you downsize? I can feel your stress and I'm so sorry you're feeling this way xx

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 14:04:45

That's all really lovely, let's hope we get free pram, cot, etc etc... But it won't change the fact we can't make our monthly payments without my income!

I love the tip 'I stay in a lot' as if we are out all the time spending money, ha!

Without my income, we won't be able to pay our rent and bills. So we have to move out. Thus, rendering us homeless. We've looked for cheaper properties but there aren't any in this area.

No idea what we will do. And I can't seem to find anyone that will actually help other than suggesting we stay in more hmm

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 14:05:15

We aren't eligible for council housing as DP earns too much.

EdithWeston Thu 10-Oct-13 14:17:04

There is no magic wand solution.

If you can't cut your expenditure, then you have to boost your income.

You will need to return to work as early as you can, and both you and DH will need to chase promotions and overtime as hard as you can. If you cannot increase income in those jobs, you will need to look for better paid ones, or take a second one.

I know how hard even a fraction of that can be. But it's what has to be done, rather than a fruitless search for "anyone that will actually help".

Can either of you secure any additional income now, and get a bit in the bank before your ML?

debtcamel Thu 10-Oct-13 14:25:26

"And I can't seem to find anyone that will actually help other than suggesting we stay in more" post on boards.fool.co.uk/dealing-with-debt-50079.aspx?mid=12900027 woith details of your income & expenditure and you WILL get help, honest.

It's just that without full details it's impossible to say anything specific to your case.

As EdithWeston says, there is no magic wand solution but there will be a way forward for you and your family.

sebsmummy1 Thu 10-Oct-13 14:26:06

DSM I know your stressed but people on the thread are just trying to help.

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 14:28:00

I'm not looking for magic, just help. I don't understand why we aren't entitled to any help? Or am I doing something wrong?

There is a better future for DP, and he is working towards that, but it is a slow process (involves sitting exams) and he is working through it but it will be another 2/3 years before he sees more than £1k a year uplift on his salary. There is no overtime, for either of us.

I could go back to work as soon as I can, but then we can't afford the childcare. We looked at nursery sand CM's, nursery is MORE than I earn and CM is only very slightly less.

I can't look for a new job now, as I won't get hired when pregnant. Be realistic! I also wouldn't qualify for maternity as I wouldn't have been working long enough, as you have to have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks up to the 15th week before the expected week of birth.

I don't know what other people do?!

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 14:29:19

I know sebsmummy, but telling someone who is in a dire! stressful situation to just 'stay in more' comes across as really patronising.

I do appreciate the help, but there's no point in just smiling and saying thanks when it is entirely useless suggestions.

sebsmummy1 Thu 10-Oct-13 14:31:01

:bows out:

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 14:32:32

Sorry blush I don't mean to sound so rude!

I do appreciate the suggestions! but I hope you can also appreciate the patronising tone of people suggesting we could make our money stretch further somehow! as if we aren't smart enough to have worked that out ourselves.

Maybe I am being sensitive, I blame pregnancy hormones grin

bigkidsdidit Thu 10-Oct-13 14:38:29

I think people don't have another child, we can't afford another so won't have one. I genuinely do not mean that in a judgey way, btw.

debtcamel Thu 10-Oct-13 14:41:21

"I don't understand why we aren't entitled to any help? Or am I doing something wrong?"
No one can answer that without knowing your full circumstances.

"We looked at nursery sand CM's, nursery is MORE than I earn and CM is only very slightly less. " you may be able to get help with childcare costs through working tax credit

"I don't know what other people do?!" post on the forum site I linked to before with all your details and people will tell you.

But at the moment if people say things you just say they aren't relevant. Which doesn't help you but also it doesn't help us to be more helpful.

To point out the obvious, you don't have a temporary problem because of the low level of SMP. if you can't make ends meet when you are back at work you have a serious long term problem.

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 14:45:37

Right now, we make ends meet.

We won't when I am on ML.

So, we don't have a serious problem, until ML starts, which is why I am asking what we should do.

Most people on that site seem to get benefits. We have been told we aren't entitled.

It's really confusing.

frogwatcher42 Thu 10-Oct-13 14:52:45

Not sure you will want to hear this, or if it will help, but I think it is very common for people to find they can't cover their bills when one wage goes. Lots of people don't want to be working and would give up if they didn't need to to enable them to cover bills. SMP doesn't last long and isnt very much.

I think most people save a bit ready for the maternity leave knowing it will be tough.

We didn't get any benefits and hadn't saved. We found ourselves in a really tight situation. I took a weekend and evening job around dps job so we didn't need childcare. You could do that fairly soon after dc born?

A lot of my friends borrow a bit of money, take a mortgage break, or get a loan to cope while on ML.

sleepyhead Thu 10-Oct-13 14:55:03

DSM, it's not a great way to live, but can you and your dp get jobs where you work opposing shifts? Ie one of you does nights and the other days, or less extreme, a Mon-Fri and a Sat Sun? This is one way that a lot of couples avoid childcare.

For the poster worrying about moving from a 1 bed, ds1 is 6 and ds2 is 6 months and we're just now selling our 1 bed to hopefully get a 2 bed. Not ideal, but my god in hindsight I'm glad we didn't bust a gut to move when I was pg with ds1. 5 years worth of redundancy, massive income drop, long periods of ill health on statutory sick pay, our small mortgage, lower council tax and lower fuel bills in our tiny flat was the only thing that kept our head above water. Babies don't take a lot of space, don't need their own room, don't need a garden. Nice but not actually child neglect if you can't afford it.

Good luck people. I'm about to go back to work after 6 months (luckily having had additional employer mat pay) and dh is taking 6 months as he's the lower earner. It's a big shock when you realise you're going to be taking a huge financial hit for the foreseeable future.

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 14:55:58

Definitely can't get a loan. We've tried. And we couldn't afford the repayments anyway.

We rent so no chance of a mortgage break (though great suggestion if we were owners!)

I could do an night/weekend job, are you allowed whilst on ML?

I wish we could save. I really, really do but our incomings and outgoings are basically the same. And our only variable, is food.

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