Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. Free legal advice is available from a Citizen's Advice Bureau, and the Law Society can supply a list of local solicitors.

Benefits while on maternity leave

(12 Posts)
NewMum139 Mon 28-Oct-13 22:09:58

Hello

I am in a bit of a pickle regarding how I will manage financially once my baby is born. I am pregnant and only started a new job relatively recently (before I fell pregnant) so will only qualify for SMP not the company maternity pay as I haven't worked there long enough. I will also be a single parent and I have a mortgage to pay. Needless to say this was not planned this way!

I have never claimed benefits before in my life - will I be entitled to child tax credits/ working tax credits/ income support etc when I am on SMP and then when this dwindles to nothing? I want to take a year off to give my baby the est start but don't know how I can. I am not currently entitled to any benefits such as working tax credits etc. My annual salary is £30k

I have tried researching but it's a minefield and I can't work it out. I need a reply from someone who faced a similar situation or who knows about all this stuff.

Thanks in advance for your help

Babyroobs Mon 28-Oct-13 22:43:17

The problem with tax credits is that they tend to base them on your earnings from last tax year, and if you earned £30k last year you wouldn't be eligible as the cut off for one child is around £26k. However I think if you know your income for the present tax year is going to be significantly lower, you can ask them to base your entitlement on that figure. If you are on mat leave you are still classed as employed so would not be eligible for income support. You could go to one of the benefit calculators to work out what help you might get. Some say the Turn2Us one is most accurate.

awakemysoull Mon 28-Oct-13 22:45:32

Check the entitled to website. I can't do links but a quick Google will bring it up.

It will tell you what you will be entitled to when your baby is here

I don't know about the benefits side of it, but do you have anything left over after bills? What is your outgoing that is fixed? Put away as much as you can now in a separate account to help top you up while you are off.

Is the baby's father going to provide financial support? Do you have some family to give emotional support once the baby is here? I hope it all works out well for you

NewMum139 Tue 29-Oct-13 09:41:16

Thanks. I have some very difficult decisions re what to do re ex so I am working it out without taking that into consideration at the moment.

Looks like I might get some tax credit payments. I'm wondering if I might get income support when on unpaid mat leave but even if I do it will never cover the mortgage. I could rent my second bedroom out but my flat is small and I don't know who would want to live with us! Yes I have good friends - most of my family is at the other side of the country. They might help a bit but my parents are retired so I can't rely on anything significant. I know I got myself into this but it's scary to think I might have to go back to work full time really quickly and pay so much for nursery. My job is hectic and they are really tricky about people working part time.

Babyroobs Tue 29-Oct-13 09:47:10

You may well get help with childcare costs through the tax credit system when you go back to work or your employers may participate in the vouchers scheme where you can buy childcare vouchers before you are taxed, thus saving you quite a bit.

Val007 Thu 31-Oct-13 14:20:42

I know some mothers who never really stopped work during pregnancy, birth and maternity. To be precise 10 day-ish at birth and a month part-time from home each side of the birth. And done it not be heroic, but, you know - you gotta pay the mortgage/rent or else you're in the street! Not everyone can afford a whole year off work. In fact, nowadays it is a luxury, what with the demise of the extended family etc. Sorry, not helpful, but there is another side of the coin.

After SMP stops, you will be entitled to income support, child benefit and child tax credit. After 13 weeks of getting Income Support, you are likely to be entitled to some help with your mortgage payments, see https://www.gov.uk/support-for-mortgage-interest/what-youll-get

You could consider asking you mortgage lender for a payment holiday for a few months?

But whatever you decide about work & benefits, you NEED to claim child support from the baby's father. Although you might theoretically prefer to manage without, this will make a huge difference to you and your baby's lives.

Ruby1080 Sat 02-Nov-13 10:56:43

Hi NewMum, I have been in this situation and am just returning to work after my maternity leave. Once the baby is born you need to make a claim for child benefit and child tax credit. I'd advise getting the forms before the baby is born and filling in as much as you can to save time after the birth, as there's a limit of something like a month for back payments of tax credits. You will have to put your previous year's income on the tax credit form but once you have sent it off, phone them and explain that this year's income will be lower - they'll take the lower figure and calculate what you're entitled to off that. You will also probably get some help with childcare costs once you return to work - either look at the tax credits calculator online or phone them up for an estimate, I've always found them to be very helpful when I have contacted them.

If you decide to take the full 12m maternity, then you will be entitled to income support for the final 3 months, as a lone parent. As a result of being entitled to income support, you would also be able to get Healthy Start vouchers and a reduction in your Council Tax. Any help with mortgage payments would only come after a waiting period of 3 months, so you wouldn't get this as you would be back at work by that point.

I found this fact sheet on the Gingerbread website to be very helpful - http://www.gingerbread.org.uk/factsheet/17/Money-during-maternity-paternity-and-adoption

Good luck with everything and feel free to ask any more questions if you have them.

HoopHopes Wed 06-Nov-13 21:56:18

Hi not everyone can afford to take 12 months off, sadly. When I was pregnant I saved as much as possible before went on maternity leave and worked as late as possible which helped. Can get lots of baby things second hand which also helps.

Could you rent out your 2nd room now, before baby came - just in short term to help?

And yes most mortgage companies will allow a mortgage holiday so worth contacting your company and seeing if that is an option for the number of months you are off work.

Also some jobs still give paid holidays during maternity leave, some also bank holidays which can add up to quite a few weeks. Worth finding out your company policy - if they will give say 5 weeks paid holiday for 12 months off that would cover 1 month financially?

hettienne Wed 06-Nov-13 22:01:31

Have you thought about hosting a student? If you live in a city there are probably quite a few language schools to choose from, either for short to mid term students (2 weeks to a few months) or you could host a 16-18 year old exchange student for an academic year. You have to feed them but you get paid around £350+ a month.

Spockster Wed 06-Nov-13 22:08:58

They have to let you accrue leave while you are on mat leave; and then either pay you for it or let you tag it on the end of whatever may leave you take.
Also check again your entitlement to additional mat leave on the company scheme; I did think that these days they couldn't exclude you based on length of service, as you weren't pregnant before you started the job.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now