Becoming a new parent can be stressful and may stretch your finances to their limits. A Sure Start Maternity Grant can be a godsend for many fledgling families on limited incomes. But what exactly is it and how do you claim it?
Read out to find out more.
What is the Sure Start Maternity Grant?
A Sure Start Maternity Grant is a tax-free benefit that awards a one-time payment of £500 to those who are eligible. The grant is to help new mothers with the costs of having a child.
Is the Sure Start Maternity Grant available across the UK?
No, it is not. If you live in Scotland, you are not eligible for this benefit, but may instead receive a Pregnancy and Baby Payment instead.
If I receive the Sure Start Maternity Grant, do I have to pay it back?
No, you do not. The payment is a tax-free one-time payment of £500 and there is no need to pay it back.
What are the eligibility criteria for the grant?
You are likely to qualify for Sure Start Maternity Grant if the following apply to you:
- You are expecting your first child.
- You are expecting multiple birth (like twins or triplets) and already have children under 16 years old in your household.
- Either you or your partner receive specific qualifying benefits (see details later in the guide).
What benefits do I have to receive to get the Sure Start Maternity Grant?
You need to receive one of the following benefits to be eligible for a Sure Start Maternity Grant:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- If you have a disability or severe disability entitlement
- Universal credit
Can I only claim for my first child?
It’s likely that you won’t be eligible for a Sure Start Maternity Grant if you already have children under 16 years old and are not expecting multiple births (like twins, triplet, etc.). There are a few exceptions.
If you are looking to claim for a child who is not your first born, then one of the following must apply to your situation to be eligible:
- The child you are caring for is someone else’s.
- You have a refugee status or humanitarian protection, as well as a child or children from before when you first arrived in the UK.
Can I apply for a Sure Start Maternity Grant for someone else?
Yes, you can in certain circumstance. You can claim the Sure Start Maternity Grant for a family member who lives with you and is having their first child. If this is the case, one of the following criteria must apply to your family member:
- The person you are claiming for is under 16 years old.
- The person you are claiming for is between 16 to 19 years old and taking part in an ‘approved’ education or training scheme.
What counts as an ‘approved’ education or training scheme?
Approved education needs to be full-time, that is more than 12 hours a week on average and may include the following schemes:
- Pre-U, International Baccalaureate or similar level
- T levels
- NVQs, or similar vocational qualifications up to level 3
- Traineeships in England.
Your family member may not be eligible if the course is paid for by an employer, like a university degree of BTEC Higher National Certificate.
For approved training to be eligible, it should be unpaid and may be one of the following schemes:
- Foundation Apprenticeships or Traineeships in Wales
- PEACE IV Children and Young People 2.1, Training for Success, or Skills for Life and Work in Northern Ireland.
If your course is part of a job contract, it will not make your family member eligible.
Am I eligible if I am adopting a child or becoming a surrogate?
If you are becoming responsible for a child that is not your own, or becoming a surrogate parent, you may still be eligible.
You must apply when the baby is less than 1 year old, and you must be receiving one of the qualifying benefits listed previously in the article. One of the following must also be true of your situation:
- You are not the mother of the child you are responsible for.
- The baby was placed with you for adoption.
- You obtained permission to adopt a baby from abroad.
- You obtained a parental order to have a surrogate birth.
- You were appointed as a guardian of a child
- You have an adoption or residence order.
How much is a Sure Start Maternity Grant?
The Sure Start scheme provides new parents with a tax-free one-time payment of £500. This payment is standard for the first-born child if it is the only child.
You may receive more if you have twins or triplets. The following table describes exactly how much you could get in these situations, including if you already have a child under 16 in your household.
Children under 16
Grant if you have twins
Grant if you have triplets
You have 1 or more (and none of them are from multiple births)
You’ve already had twins
You’ve already had triplets
How do I claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant?
You need to claim the Sure Start Maternity Grant within the following timeframes:
- Within 11 weeks of the baby’s due date.
- 6 months after the birth of the baby.
If you are becoming responsible for a child, you must apply within 6 months of the date of this happening.
To claim the payment, you will need to:
- Download and print out the Sure Start Maternity Grant (SF100) claim form and fill it in.
- Get a medical professional to fill in the statement on page 10 of the form confirming the pregnancy/birth. This can be done by a doctor or midwife.
- Send the completed application form to ‘Freepost DWP SSMG’. You do not need a stamp.
How long does it take to get a decision?
You should receive a letter letting you know whether you are successful in your application for a Sure Start Maternity Grant within a few weeks after application. If you currently receive Universal Credit, you will get your decision after your next payment.
You may ask for a mandatory reconsideration if you disagree with a decision. For this, you must contact the office that gave you your decision, by phone, letter or by filling out and posting in a form.
A Sure Start Maternity Grant can be a godsend for new parents on low incomes.
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