Welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting journey, albeit an expensive one. The Sure Start Maternity Grant offers a £500 financial cushion for eligible families in the UK, easing the burden of essential baby-related expenses.
But how do you secure this vital support? Our guide breaks down the application process and eligibility criteria, simplifying your path to obtaining the grant. Let’s explore how you can access this financial aid, so you can focus on the joy of your new arrival without the stress of extra costs.
- What Is Sure Start Maternity Grant?
- Who Is Eligible for Sure Start Maternity Grant?
- Bare in mind 💡:
- When To Claim?
- How To Apply for the Sure Start Maternity Grant?
- Financial Help for First-Time Parents
What Is Sure Start Maternity Grant?
The Sure Start Maternity Grant is a one-off payment of £500 designed to alleviate the costs associated with welcoming a new member into the family. It can be spent on essential expenses of a newborn, such as clothing, nappies, and other necessary items, without the need to pay it back.
Aimed at providing support when it’s most needed, this grant is a part of the government’s effort to ensure every child gets the best start in life, making it a bit easier for families to manage the financial aspects of this significant life event.
Who Is Eligible for Sure Start Maternity Grant?
The maternity sure start grant is targeted towards families living in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland who are expecting their first child, although exceptions are made for multiple births (like twins or triplets) even if there are already children in the family.
For those living in Scotland, there is a scheme called Pregnancy and Baby Payment that is worth checking out.
To apply for sure start maternity grant, applicants must be receiving certain types of government benefits or tax credits that indicate a lower-income status. Eligibility for sure start maternity grant depends on:
- The benefits you are receiving. To qualify, you need to be receiving certain types of financial support, such as:
- Universal Credit
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (Income-based)
- Income-Based Employment and Support Allowance
- Working Tax Credit (with a disability/severe disability part)
- Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (higher than the family element)
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Your Personal Situation. Eligible applicants include the baby’s mother, her partner, or individuals involved in adoption or surrogacy arrangements. You can claim from 11 weeks before the expected due date and up to 6 months after the baby is born.
- UK Residency. It’s crucial to be in the UK when applying, though some exceptions apply, such as for refugees or those under humanitarian protection.
Bare in mind 💡:
- The grant is typically for your first child, but there are exceptions for multiple births.
- Ensure you apply within the specific time frame related to the baby’s due date, birth, or arrival to the family if you chose the adoption route.
- You may also qualify for the Sure Start Maternity Grant if you receive mortgage loan support.
People with Children
Mothers with children may still apply under the following conditions:
- You’re expecting multiple births (i.e., twins or triplets).
- The child you are looking after belongs to another person (the child must not be your partner’s), and the age of the child was 13 months or older when the appointment began.
- Your children are 18 or over.
- You have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK and had kids before arriving in the country.
Can Anyone Other Than the Mother Claim?
Someone may also obtain the grant if they claim for a person who is part of their family and resides with them. That individual must be:
- Less than 16 years of age or
- Aged between 16-19 years and in training or education that’s approved by the government. Education that’s approved can include:
- Advanced level or other similar courses,
- 2-year technical programs,
- National Vocational Qualifications to the level three stage or below,
Advanced courses such as a degree from a University or the Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) Certification at the Higher National Level would not fall under the ‘approved category.’
Adoptive Parents, Surrogate Parents, and Guardians
A person may claim the Sure Start Maternity Grant if they adopt or become a surrogate parent or guardian. The baby must be less than 12 months old on the date the claim is made. They must receive one of the benefits listed under “Who is Eligible,” and one of the following conditions must also apply:
- They are responsible and in charge of the baby.
- They’ve received a surrogate birth parental order.
- They have the requirements in place to adopt from overseas.
- They’ve become the guardians of the baby.
- They have been given permission to adopt or won a custody order.
When To Claim?
It’s possible to apply from 11 weeks before the baby is due and is open for 6 months after the baby’s birth. For those becoming an adoptive/surrogate parent or caretaker for a baby, the application must take place within 6 months of becoming responsible for the child. People waiting for a decision on a qualifying benefit must claim within these periods.
How To Apply for the Sure Start Maternity Grant?
Currently, claims need to be made by post; in the future, it will become possible to apply online. Print and fill in the Sure Start Maternity Grant (SF100) claim form. The statement on page 10 of the form should be completed by a health professional such as a doctor or a midwife. If necessary, the Sure Start Maternity Form can be sent without the statement to meet the deadline. In such a scenario, the Department for Work and Pension (DWP) will make contact at a later date.
Once completed, post the form to Freepost DWP SSMG. Affixing a stamp or providing a postcode is not required. You’ll receive a letter shortly informing you of the outcome.
Getting Help With Your Claim
To receive help with your claim, telephone the Sure Start Maternity Grant number at 0800 169 0140. You can also contact them if you haven’t heard back after the application was sent. Jobcentre Plus may be of assistance with your application process.
What To Do If Your Claim Is Unsuccessful
A mandatory reconsideration is possible if you were not successful with the request. The appeal stage involves:
- Contacting the Department of Work and Pension (DWP)
- Explaining why the decision is unfair
- Potentially submitting further details
Follow this link to find out more detailed information on how to challenge the decision.
Financial Help for First-Time Parents
We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful. The £500 one-off payment available through the Sure Start Maternity Baby Grant is a welcome help. Given many of the recipients are benefit and Universal Credit claimants, the SSMG can be a valuable resource to boost income at a critical time.