All benefits up for parents from Monday

BENEFIT payments increase from Monday, giving many families a pay rise as the cost of living crisis hits.

If you’re a new parent, you can get help with the cost of raising your children – and the amount you can get increases in just days.

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Maternity and paternity benefits are among benefits up 3.1% in AprilCredit: Getty

From maternity and paternity leave to Child Benefit and Universal Credit – here’s the help you can get and how it will increase from April 11.

Other benefits up 3.1% also include universal credit base amounts and state pension – you can see the full list here.

The rate hikes will partly help families in their fight against exorbitant bill increases.

Millions of people saw their energy bills double to an average of £1,971 a year when the price cap was raised earlier this month.

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And inflation hit 6.2%, a high not seen in decades, when the latest data from the Office for National Statistics was released last month, driving up the cost of fuel, food , etc.

You can use a benefits calculator to check if you’re claiming everything you’re entitled to, which could increase the cash in your purse.

You can check using an online benefits calculator, offered by charities such as Turn2Us and EntitledTo.

You will get the benefit rate increases when you are usually paid from that month.

So you will see the extra money in your account added to your usual payment.

Maternity, paternity, adoption and sharing of parental salary

Paying for moms and dads who take time for children, including those who adopt, will increase.

Statutory rates will rise from £151.97 to £156.66, for maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental pay.

Pregnant women and new mothers can take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave in the UK and up to 39 of them are paid.

The amount of salary depends on various factors, including where the woman works, how long she has been employed, and her average salary.

Most employers offer an enhanced maternity pay package, but it depends on the company.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid at 90% of usual earnings for the first six weeks, then £151.97 (increasing to £156.66 from Monday) per week for the next 33 weeks , or 90% of average earnings (whichever is lower)

For those who adopt a child, the rules are the same.

Statutory Adoption Benefit is paid at 90% of usual earnings for the first six weeks, then £151.97 (rising to £156.66 from Monday) per week for the next 33 weeks, or 90% average income (whichever is lower).

Statutory paternity pay is paid at 90% of earnings or £151.97 (rising to £156.66 from Monday), whichever is lower.

Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) is £151.97 per week (rising to £156.66 from Monday) or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

You can use the calculator on gov.uk to see how much maternity or paternity you could get.

Maternity allowance

New mums who are not eligible for the standard Maternity Benefit could still receive a payment amounting to thousands of pounds from Maternity Benefit.

Mothers who take maternity leave are generally entitled to statutory maternity benefit (SMP) from their employer.

But under certain circumstances they may not be eligible, for example if they have recently lost or quit their job.

And women working on their own don’t have an employer to pay them SMP.

Maternity Allowance will increase from £151.97 per week to £156.66 from Monday.

Over a year, that works out to £5,926 for 2021-22 over the 39 weeks you could get, although the exact amount you can get depends on your eligibility.

This will rise to £6,109 – and an additional £182.91.

Anyone on Maternity Allowance also gets Class 1 National Insurance Credits – which can help build up your state pension – so it’s worth claiming it even if you don’t get the full amount .

Find out more about who is eligible for maternity benefit and how to apply for it in our guide.

You can use the calculator on gov.uk to see how much maternity benefit you could get.

Family allowances

There are two child benefit rates, one for the eldest and another for each additional child.

The current rate for your eldest or only child is £21.15 per week and it will increase to £21.80.

Then for each of your other children it’s £14 per week – which will increase to £14.45 per week.

This represents an additional £33.80 and £23.40 respectively per year for each tariff.

There are other benefits you might get in addition to Child Benefit if you are on low income, such as the Child Element of Universal Credit.

If either parent earns more than £50,000 they have to pay High Income Child Benefit Tax.

Universal Credit child element

Low-income families can get universal credit and extra cash if you have kids.

Core Universal Credit rates are increasing, as well as the child element.

Here are the additional Universal Child Credit amounts:

For those with a first child born before April 6, 2017, the additional amount increases from £282.50 to £290

For those with a child born on or after April 6, 2017 or a second and subsequent child, the additional amount increases from £237.08 to £244.58.

For those with a disabled child, the lowest rate additional payment increases from £128.89 to £132.89 and the highest rate from £402.41 to £414.88.

More help for new parents

New parents can get a range of supports in addition to these benefits.

Help with childcare

If you apply for Universal Credit, you may be able to get a refund on most of your child care expenses.

You can claim 85% of childcare costs up to £646.35 for one child or £1,108.04 for two or more until August 31 following the child’s 16th birthday.

You will need to pay for your child care costs yourself up front and then claim reimbursement through Universal Credit.

Free prescriptions and dental care

Prescriptions cost £8.60 per person in England, while NHS dental costs vary by location.

You can get both for free during your pregnancy and for 12 months after your baby’s due date.

Ask your doctor or midwife for a maternity exemption certificate (MATEX) to benefit from free care.

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Free milk, formula, vitamins, or fruits and vegetables

Under the Healthy Start program, you may be eligible for freebies if you are at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under the age of four and qualify for certain benefits, such as Universal Credit.

Free £500 scholarship

In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, you may be eligible for a £500 Sure Start grant if you are on certain benefits and are expecting your first child or are expecting more than one baby, such as twins. Learn more here.

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