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Knowing Your Rights


- To prove that you are pregnant and can claim benefits and maternity pay, make sure you fill in form MAT B1 with your midwife, by week 20.

- Remember that you’re entitled to paid time off work for antenatal appointments, scans and other tests during your pregnancy.   

- If you receive Job Seekers’ Allowance or Income Support, you are also entitled to free vitamins and a free pint of milk a day.  You may also be able to claim for refunds for travel to and from your antenatal appointments.  

- Think about your maternity leave as early as possible and make sure you know what you’re entitled to.  Standard maternity leave is 26 weeks.  For the first six weeks, you will receive Statutory Maternity Pay of 90% of your earnings, then £100 a week for the remaining 20 weeks.  If you are self-employed, Maternity Allowance is £100 a week or 90% of your earnings if below that.  You can take your maternity leave any time after the 11th week before your due date, but may want to leave it until later so as to be able to spend more time at home with your baby.  Discuss your options with your partner and remember that if you are planning on going back to work soon after the birth, it’s never too early to start thinking about childcare.  

As a parent, you may be entitled to some of the following benefits, it makes sense to start planning your financial situation as soon as possible:
 - Child Benefit: £16.50 a week for a first child, then £11.50 for subsequent children.
 - Child Tax Credit: Means-tested benefit.
 - Working Tax Credit: Means-tested benefit, includes credit for childcare costs.
 - Child Support Maintenance: For lone parents.
 - Sure Start Maternity Grant: For parents on low incomes, ask at your local Jobcentre.  

You have to make claims for all your benefits, you won’t just receive it automatically.  Call the Benefits Helpline for more information, on: 0800 882200.


Sarah Horrocks
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