Expanding your family is a special milestone, and money worries can overshadow the joy you should be feeling. It’s a common worry, especially with such uncertainties in the world right now. But you can rest-assured that there will always be help out there for those who are in need.
In this blog, you will find out some of the help at hand and where to go to find more information.
You may be eligible for a one-off payment from the government for initial costs of having a baby. There are rules as to who can apply, when you can apply and whether you will be eligible for this. Have a look at up-to-date government guidance on this payment to see if you are able to claim.
If you have made your employer aware of your pregnancy, any appointments for antenatal care can be taken as paid time off. You will not be docked pay or made to make up hours for any of these appointments. This is available to anyone who is pregnant.
If you’re not signed up to an NHS dentist, you will need to find one to receive this benefit. A side effect of pregnancy is receding gums, so it’s important to have regular dental check-ups throughout your 9 months, and for a short while after having a baby. You are eligible to receive this from the beginning of pregnancy up until 1-year post-pregnancy. You will need to obtain a maternity exemption form – available from your doctor or midwife.
Due to the fact that you may need more prescriptions than usual (think antacids!), you are also eligible for free prescriptions. The timeframe is the same as dental treatment – while you are pregnant up to a year after birth. You can use the same Maternity Exemption form you used for your dental.
Statutory maternity leave is available for all expectant mums who have been working for their employer for a specific amount of time. You can use the governments maternity allowance calculator to find out what your entitlement is.
Some employers will offer additional maternity benefits, such as increased pay, but as a minimum must offer you statutory maternity leave (if you qualify).
Maternity allowance is available to most who don’t qualify for statutory maternity leave. Similar benefits are available under this title and has been set up for those who may not have been with their employer long enough, or do not earn enough to get stat mat leave.
Your partner will be allowed up to two weeks off in addition to your maternity leave. The amount they receive will be shown when you put your details into the maternity allowance calculator.
In recent years, shared parental leave has become available, allowing parents to split the full leave entitlement between them. This means the same benefits, split however you and your partner decide. You must give your employer notice if you wish to receive shared parental leave.
As standard, you can apply for universal credit to help you out with the new costs of being a mother. You will receive additional support on top of child benefit for having a child.
These are only a selection of the assistance available for new parents. For a full list, head over to the government’s money helper site.
If you’ve investigated all these options but you’re still worried, speak to your doctor. It’s important to know that it’s natural to feel more financially vulnerable when you’re not certain of what lies ahead, but there is always an avenue out there.
Options such as the foodbank are there for people who are struggling to make ends meet. It may not seem necessary, but paying bills without worrying how to put food on the table can be a huge relief in the short term.
Your GP, midwife and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau are all valuable points of contact when it comes to finding out more about the help on offer.