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If you’re thinking about having a baby, you’re probably thinking about the financial implications. Obviously, having a baby doesn’t come cheap – as I’m sure we’re all aware but that doesn’t mean that you have to do it all on your own. There is plenty of help available to you, so make sure you do your research and find out what you are entitled to.
Here’s a few things that I am aware of that might help you on your way.
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If you’re in England, unfortunately you have to pay for your subscriptions unlike the rest of us in the UK, but while you are pregnant and up until a year after your baby is born, you are entitled to free prescriptions.
If you take regular medication, this can save you an absolute fortune!
If you’ve been having trouble with your teeth, then while you are pregnant (or up until baby is aged 1 as above) if a great time to get any issues sorted as you are entitled to free dental treatment.
I had to go for two fillings last year, but because I hadn’t long had Elise the treatment was free.
If you are working, you are entitled to time off for all your ante-natal appointments.
You do not have to use your annual leave or work the hours back.
Obviously, it’s best to give work as much notice as you can – particularly if they will need someone to cover you – and if you can arrange appointments outside of work great.
But you are allowed the time off.
If you’re on certain benefits, you might be entitled to a one off payment of £500 for your first child. Find out more here.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to claim this but it would’ve been a great help, that’s for sure.
Apparently, this isn’t available in Scotland – but they do have their own alternative in place.
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If you or your partner earn under £50,000 a year, you are entitled to Child Benefit.
It is worth £20.70 per week for the first child, and £13.70 a week for each additional child.
To claim you need to fill out this form and payment will be backdated to the date your child was born.
I didn’t get around to applying for it until early Feb 2018 and Elise was born mid-December 2017, so it was nice to receive the backdated money in a lump.
I now receive payments of £82.80 every 4 weeks – while we are on one income this helps towards our bills, but when Luke returns to work we plan to save this money for Elise if possible.
If you live in certain areas in Wales classed as ‘disadvantaged areas’ you are entitled to a whole host of help and support.
You receive an enhanced health visiting service, access to free groups and activities for you and your baby, access to parenting support and confidence building classes, free part-time childcare for 2-3 year olds and much more.
Whether or not you fall under Flying Start is based on your post code and not your income. As the area we live in falls under the catchment, we have been able to access the flying start services.
We’ve had lots of visits at home at various age milestones to check how Elise is doing.
When she was young, a support worker came out and demonstrated baby massage, we’ve been given feeding advice and free vitamin drops. We have been given information on weaning – along with a free dinner set, sippy cup and meal planning kit. We were also given advice on oral hygiene and given toothpaste and a toothbrush.
In addition we’ve attended various free classes including Water Elklan (swimming pool based activities), Messy Play and Tiny Talkers.
As classes and activities can be quite costly, Flying Start has been a godsend and if you live in a qualifying area I would highly recommend you make use of their services. Find out more here
Legally, you can take 12 months off work for Maternity Leave, but you are only entitled to 39 weeks of paid leave.
If your job pays SMP this means that you will receive 90% of your normal pay for the first 6 weeks of leave, followed by 33 weeks of statutory pay which is currently £148.68 (2019/20) or 90% of your weekly pay (whichever is lower).
You will continue to accrue annual leave as you normally would whilst on maternity leave but you annual leave policy will dictate how you can use this.
I started my maternity leave 6 weeks before the end of 2017 and returned to work on 1st October 2018. This meant I received SMP from starting maternity until the end of August. I then used the annual leave I’d accrued to take September off before returning to work in October.
You are also able to take up to 10 keeping in touch days (KIT days), this means that you can go to work and be paid full pay for up to 10 days during your maternity leave – but you have to agree these dates in advance with your employer.
I worked all 10 of mine – the full pay was a welcome boost to my SMP and meant that I could ‘Keep in touch’ and ease myself back into work so that it wasn’t such a shock when I returned after taking 10.5 months off.
Some companies offer their own maternity policies which pays above SMP so check your contract or ask your HR department for a copy of your maternity policy to see what you’ll get.
If you haven’t been in your job long enough to claim SMP, you can instead claim Maternity Allowance from the government, which you can read more about here
I hope you’ve found this helpful, I might be preaching to the choir with a lot of you, but I know a lot of my friends and family who are planning children or have already been expecting didn’t know what was available to them so hopefully this gives you a better idea!
If you know of something I’ve missed (I’m sure there’s lot more out there), let me know and I’ll add it in.
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I started Katie Saves while on Maternity Leave to document our adjustment to living on less. Now back in work - I blog about making extra money, saving money, getting my life organised and being a new mum. Join me!