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

(90 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!

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 14:58:42

sleepyhead we could! and if we have to we will but this is what we did when DS was little - I worked nights and DP days. But working nights then caring for a child is horrific. I was sleeping on and off in short spells for maybe 3 or 4 hours a day. I eventually had mental health issues because of it, so it's not ideal.

Weekends would be okay, but wouldn't be enough income over only 2 days, really. I'd need to quit my job to do either of those options as well.

frogwatcher42 Thu 10-Oct-13 14:59:05

But it does get better sleepyhead. We are almost out the other end now, and work is easier, childcare easier, a little more money sloshing around (little being the operative word!).

Its really tough financially when dc are little. For us working opposing shifts was a lifesaver. I did anything I could get (even temporary washing up or bar work would be ok) - dh stayed in his normal job and did a second job when he could.

Good Luck all. Tough times.

sleepyhead Thu 10-Oct-13 15:05:10

Oh I know! I remember the first pay after ds1 started school - Ive never felt richer.... 5 more years until those days come again grin

DSM, I think you can do some work when you're on SMP, but you may have to have the additional job before you go off. I looked into it before ds2 was born as I have 2 jobs and was thinking about returning to one at 8 weeks, but didn't go through with it in the end.

I agree working nights and looking after a baby would be horrific sad.

KiplingBag Thu 10-Oct-13 15:06:25

I went back when one of mine was 9 weeks old. I worked nights, he worked days. It had to be done.
I didn't expect anyone else to be subsidising my life because I chose to have children.

KiplingBag Thu 10-Oct-13 15:06:52

oh 2 years old grin

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 15:11:25

Yeah, kipling so did I. My DS was only 2 months old when I worked nights, DP worked days.

But it caused a lot of problems for me, mentally, and I don't know that I could do it again.

I don't expect anyone to subsidise my life - I am 34 and never claimed a penny in benefits. But, when things are hard and I can't manage, then I do expect that the 18 years of tax and NI that I have paid might contribute to a little hep, for a year or so.

I could look for a second job now, but realistically who is going to hire a pregnant lady?

debtcamel Thu 10-Oct-13 15:20:30

"Most people on that site seem to get benefits. We have been told we aren't entitled" but the site isnt limited to those people. If you want tailor made advice, go there and you will get it.

KiplingBag Thu 10-Oct-13 15:34:03

DSM I know just how you feel, it was really really hard work. I had 3 under school age, and was catching bits of kip between nursery, it was dire!

Looking back I don't know how I did it, but there were lods of mums doing the same as me so we had a bit of cameraderie going on and lots of tea and sympathy for eachother as the night passed.

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 10-Oct-13 21:01:39

Surely you knew the rate of maternity pay and chlldcare costs before planning to have another?

Working an evening or weekjob job or taking a second job may be your only option now.

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 22:52:02

Not everyone plans their pregnancies, happymummy.

Rockchick1984 Fri 11-Oct-13 08:39:09

DSM you need to go to somewhere like CAB and do a full income/expenditure analysis. If it's only a problem while you're on maternity leave then you will just have to go back earlier if you can't afford to save anything now. If it's going to be a struggle to pay rent and bills once you return to work then you need proper advice of ways to cut your outgoings.

Apologies if this sounds harsh, but I've been in your situation - unplanned pregnancy, both wages going out as fast as they were earnt, and had to deal with it. You will find a way, but not if your attitude is just to brush off everyone's suggestions.

Tiredemma Fri 11-Oct-13 08:45:54

I had to go back to work when DS1 was 6 weeks old because we would have starved/been homeless otherwise. I hadnt worked with my employer long enough to accrue any OMP and wasnt entitled to SMP only Maternity Allowance.

With Ds2 I returned at 4 months because that when we worked out we would have a shortfall of incoming money.

DD1 ( born 4 weeks ago) I am having 7 months off. I have a better job now with reasonable OMP and with SMP - would be great to have a year off- but we cant afford it.

None of my children will planned by the way blush- but we did recognise that we had to tighten the purse strings in order to survive.

williaminajetfighter Fri 11-Oct-13 09:11:10

Dsm you are coming across as needy and barky.

I suggest you bow out of this thread and go do some homework. You are sounding like that kid in class who is complaining that he can't do his maths problem, asking everyone to help, without actually sitting down and trying to work it out.

DSM Fri 11-Oct-13 09:54:30

The problem is we have done this homework!

I am not meaning to come across as needy and barky blush i'm just really feeling at my wits end, and so bloody stressed about it all so maybe it isn't coming across well.

We've been to CAB, we've been to the benefits agency, and both have said there is nothing for us. Even if I go back to work after 6 weeks, when the 90% pay ends, we'll be paying a fortune for childcare. More than I would be earning, so it isn't viable.

I guess I was hoping there was an answer that I wasn't aware of, and someone could help me.

I don't know why we aren't entitled to any benefits, other than DP's income being too high. We don't qualify for social housing either.

Sorry if I have come across badly. I think I was hoping someone would say 'try this!' with a new suggestion, rather than just the obvious 'spend less' comments, which really are of no help, we have been stressing about this and thinking of every single possible solution for the past few months. We've cancelled all non essential outgoings (even my contact lenses - I just wear my glasses now) and DS swimming lessons, really everything we possibly could so to be told to 'stay in more' really hit a nerve.

Sorry again.

KiplingBag Fri 11-Oct-13 10:51:35

Could you work later into your pregnancy possibly? Would this give you a bit longer to get some finances behind you?

DSM Fri 11-Oct-13 10:57:23

I'm planning to work right up until my due date... even then, we have no opportunity to save.

We are currently looking for cheaper places, but genuinely, there are none. We are lucky as we have been in our apartment for 5 years, and the rent never went up. So we are paying the market value for 5 years ago. Even crappy flats are the same price as we pay now.

debtcamel Fri 11-Oct-13 10:58:52

"I think I was hoping someone would say 'try this!'"

I have - twice. Try posting details of your income & expenditure and family situation on here

Although the board is aimed at people with debts, it gives useful advice to anyone having problems making ends meet

If your situation is difficult - and it sounds as though it is - then you need detailed, specific comments, not generalities. Even if you suspect it won't help, it is worth a try!

sebsmummy1 Fri 11-Oct-13 11:04:30

Well I think unfortunately we are all out of ideas for you unfortunately some families seem to fall through the gaps when it comes to benefits and the welfare state. It is assumed that you can cope with what you are earning a d the benefits go to parents living on their own etc

I assume you have no family that can help? You can't give up your car and car share or yr OH perhaps cycle to work?

I think the only thing you can do is work weekends/nights. I know you said it effected your mental health before but was that the actual job you were doing or the hours?

In so sorry things have worked out this way for you, if you have truly exhausted every agency that is out there is offer help and guidance and written on the forums that have been suggested then I don't know what else to say sad

KiplingBag Fri 11-Oct-13 11:05:16

DSM - As you have othr children maybe you could have vouchers instead of presents for the baby from your friends then you can buy food? As you will still have stuff from your last baby.

I know it sounds awful but when we got married we were so skint that we spent some of the m and s vouchers on food! Needs must and all that.

KiplingBag Fri 11-Oct-13 11:08:06

sebs - good point about the weekend work. Then at least you won't have to stay awake in the day time if you dp is there for the children? I used to try to do the weekday nights but it was bloody hard then I managed to do weekend nights and that, although not perfect suited me better and gave us an income which was what was necessary at the time.

SoonToBeSix Fri 11-Oct-13 11:14:08

DSM how much does your dh earn? How much is your rent ? And am I right this will be your second child( have skimmed read the thread as it started out old) not being nosy just trying to work out some figures for you .

DSM Fri 11-Oct-13 11:20:21

Thanks everyone.

sebsmummy - We do have family, DP's parents live close but work full time. Mine live far away, and also work full time. Both our siblings live very far away.

We only have one car, DP walks to work currently as we cut out his bus pass. No one we could car share with, and DS's school is too far to walk (over an hour walk).

Kipling Sadly, our existing DS is nearly 10, so we don't have any baby stuff left over. We sold the big stuff and gave the little things to charity, a long time ago now. I wish we hadn't..

The night working caused me issues because I wasn't sleeping. I did it from when DS was a few months old until he was 4. I would get home, sleep for an hour or two then be up all day. I would get an hour or two nap in the afternoon when he was younger. Then work all night and repeat.. it played with my mind and I was having hallucinations, panic attacks and never felt 'awake', ever. It was really horrible, and I don't think I could risk it again.

We looked into me doing weekend work, but it wouldn't be enough hours over 2 days to make up the shortfall from full time.

It's just a crappy, crappy situation. I guess some people do just fall through the cracks.

Incidentally, the CAB told us that if I were a single parent, I would get everything. Social housing, rent and council tax benefit, CTC, Unemployment benefit if I wasn't working and childcare allowance if I was working. But we are a couple, and get nothing. It's a crazy system.

SoonToBeSix Fri 11-Oct-13 11:28:56

DSM I am confused your dh earns too much for hb and you will get over £200 a week extra when baby is born in maternity pay , tax credits and child benefit. Am struggling to understand how you won't manage as that is nearly £900 a month tax free extra income and obviously you won't have childcare costs to you will also continue to get tax credits and child benefit for your ds.

KiplingBag Fri 11-Oct-13 12:36:44

soontobe - the maternity pay won't be extra though will it, because she won't have an income and I presume the income was more so there is a shortfall.

DSM do you get tax creds?

Shame about the baby gear, I did that too, gave everything away then baby number 3 decided to come along!

What will your short fall be? Then maybe we can help with ideas a bit more.

Rockchick1984 Fri 11-Oct-13 12:49:25

DSM can you post your income and expenditure so we can make suggestions? Realistically, you will find a way to manage, but may be easier if we can offer solutions knowing all of your circumstances?

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