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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!

FishWithABicycle Wed 18-Feb-15 05:47:34

Zombie thread from 2011, only resurrected due to a spam advert.

werr54321 Wed 18-Feb-15 04:58:09

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

debtcamel Sun 13-Oct-13 15:56:13

@Thistlelicker "We have a car due to my location of work, he gets the bus he doesn't drive, we rent, we also have a debt plan due to is having badly advised loans about 7 years ago!"

a debt, plan - who with? If it's with a fee chargging company you need to switch NOW to a charity that doesnt charge any fees so all your money goes to repay your debts, see

how much do you owe? because it may be necessary to rethink whether you can afford to repay ANYTHING to your debts.

IdaClair Sat 12-Oct-13 23:56:59

When I had DC1 I couldn't get any maternity pay, and couldn't qualify for maternity allowance. Eventually I did manage to get income support, for a little while, then got tax credits. I tried to put the mortgage on a payment break, but they said no, I went deep into arrears and ended up in court trying to save the house (I did, eventually, with repayment plans). Then my gas and electricity went on prepayment meters. When DC1 was 4 months old the boiler broke and stayed broken until I was able to fix it 11 months later so we had no heating or hot water to spend gas on anyway. I had baths at friends houses. The food budget was £25 per week and that was a huge chunk of income. I BF and used cloth nappies. DH worked two jobs, one regular hours and three nights a week, I went back to work four evenings a week when DC was 11 weeks. We got there, it was all OK in the end. We saved the house, had a new boiler put in when DC was a toddler, payed off the debts, managed. DC was fine. For second DC, I actually got maternity pay and was able to take 5 months off completely, no debts, was bliss. It's not easy, I never saw DH, we had awful relationship problems, I hated leaving DC, I hated taking DC to court for repossession hearings - but the world did not implode and we're alright now.

thistlelicker Sat 12-Oct-13 23:26:00

I only
In 1st trimester of pregnancy and already worried about mat leave/money! I earn 14550 per year and dh earns 12300. So when I go on mat leave we in the shit because I'm the higher earner and sometimes it's 300 extra a month more than him! We already on the basics of life! We have a car due to my location of work, he gets the bus he doesn't drive, we rent, we also have a debt plan due to is having badly advised loans about 7 years ago! Baby was accident(told we need fertility treatment) but anyway it's happened
But I worry! We don't have luxury a and we don't smoke or drink! But we don't have spare to save for when may leave starts!

Im just a bit meh over it all!!

myBOYSareBONKERS Sat 12-Oct-13 23:11:02

Spread your council tax payment over 12 mths instead of 10.

Cancel landline and use free minutes on mobile.

Take out a 0% credit card and use it to pay off any loans. You can then save money each month by just paying the minimum amount.

Stop any pension scheme payments for now but do restart again when sorted!

frogwatcher42 Fri 11-Oct-13 17:02:14

It does sound like ops dh is a high earner. Therefore it is highly unlikely they will get any help whatsoever.

Op - assuming the above, your only option is to cut back, move to cheaper accomodation, work more (either dh or yourself - you say it wont be enough but surely it will help as you wouldn't have any childcare costs if you worked weekends).

How did you manage childcare for ds1? That would be a saving if you worked shifts around each other as he wouldnt need any.

Babyroobs Fri 11-Oct-13 17:00:30

I've always worked nights and weekends around my husband even when we had 4 kids under 7 and had to go back to work when each one was 6 months old. It was incredibly tough but really there was no other option as we weren't entitled to any help from tax credits etc. I'd say my mental and physical health suffered and still is suffering after 14 years of working like this!

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 11-Oct-13 16:34:06

The OP says she has never claimed a penny in benefits so presumbly doesnt claim tax credits or child benefit.

Given she doesnt want to work nights or weekends, she is very limited with regards to making up the loss of her salary but it sounds like the DH is a high earner so childcare vouchers via salary sacrifice may be an option to assist with childcare costs.

SoonToBeSix Fri 11-Oct-13 15:26:11

Rick chic she hasn't said she won't get tax credits she said she won't get ct as in council tax benefit.

mummybearah Fri 11-Oct-13 14:48:06

debtcamel- thank you! I'll be a single mummy. I had a look at the turn2us website and it really didn't give me much hope! Maybe I'm doing something wrong so will try again when I get home.

DSM- oh how I understand your frustration sends a hug

I also feel at a loss. At this point I'm thinking I'll have to go back to mum and dads.. who live in a different city! But my only option. I believe once babies are born I'll score a few points in terms of benefits... (God that sounds awful!)

Thanks everyone for all the ideas !

KiplingBag Fri 11-Oct-13 14:45:45

ah I get you now soontobe.

Rockchick1984 Fri 11-Oct-13 14:45:45

Soontobesix the OP has said she won't get tax credits, so will be around £650 per month not £900?

SoonToBeSix Fri 11-Oct-13 14:42:32

Kipling yes I realise that the op won't get maternity on top of a wage and their will be a shortfall. However the op will have £900 a month, plus another wage that is deemed to high for hb, no travel costs for the op or childcare costs plus tax credits and cb for her ds . I am confused about why she cannot cope financially am not saying she will have spare money but surely that would be enough to live on or am I missing something?

Summerworld Fri 11-Oct-13 13:02:55

no, you won't be classed as a low earner just because you went on maternity leave. You are still regarded as employed on whatever terms you normally work. This is exteremely unhelpful and this is why so many mothers go back to work sooner that they would have hoped. The only thing you can do is to call CTC and estimate your income for this tax year and next financial year when it is there, so CTC award you the correct amount of money. But as to any other benefits, you are at a big disadvantage because you are classed as employed (FT?) and married, so unless you husband earns very very low amount, you are entitled to nothing other that CB and CTC. Worth checking the websites posted here, but your case does not sound too hopeful, sorry....

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?

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.

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.

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 11:14:08

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 .

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.

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.

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

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!

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.

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