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Check if you can get the Pregnancy and Baby Payment

This advice applies to Scotland

Coronavirus - more time to apply for a Pregnancy and Baby Payment

If you've missed the deadline for applying for a Pregnancy and Baby Payment because of coronavirus, you can make a late application.

Social Security Scotland will check your application against your circumstances on the last day that you would normally have been eligible.

If you're applying after your baby has turned 6 months old, Social Security Scotland will look at your circumstances on the day before your baby turned 6 months old. They will only do this if your application is late because of coronavirus.

If you've taken over the care of the baby from someone else, you normally need to apply before the baby turns 1. If you're late because of coronavirus, Social Security Scotland will look at your circumstances on the day before your baby turned 1 to see if you're eligible.

If you're under 18, you don't need to get any benefits to be eligible for a Pregnancy and Baby Payment. If you've turned 18 and you missed applying earlier because of coronavirus, you can make a late application. Social Security Scotland will look at your circumstances on the day before you turned 18 to see if you're eligible.

You can get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment if you:

Usually you will not be able to get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment if someone else has already had one for the baby. There's an exception for people who have taken over responsibility for a child aged under 1, for example kinship carers. Check if you can get a payment if someone else has already had one.

If you're eligible, you can apply online, by phone or by post.

When can I apply

You can usually apply for a Pregnancy and Baby Payment from the end of the 24th week of pregnancy until your baby is 6 months old. This is called the 'application window'. 

There's a longer application window if you:

  • have taken over responsibility for a child under 1 year old, and
  • are not the mother's partner.

If you miss the application window, you cannot make a late application unless the reason for being late was:

  • you were waiting for a decision about a qualifying benefit, or
  • coronavirus.

If your baby is born prematurely

You can apply earlier if you or your partner gave birth to your child prematurely. The baby can have been born before or during the 24th week of pregnancy.

If your baby is stillborn

You can get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment if your baby was stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy.

If you've taken over responsibility for a child under 1 year old 

The application window is extended until the baby turns 1 in some situations, such as if you adopt a child or start looking after a child as a 'kinship carer'. You're a kinship carer if you take over looking after the child because a relative or close friend cannot care for them.

Can I make a late application

You might be able to make a late application for a Pregnancy and Baby Payment if you could not apply earlier because you were waiting for a decision about a qualifying benefit.

If you're awarded the qualifying benefit for at least 1 day that falls within the application window, you can apply for the payment.

You must make sure that Social Security Scotland receive your late application:

  • no more than 20 working days after the last day of the application window - this means no more than 20 working days after the end of the day on which the child is 6 months old or no more than 20 working days after the end of the day before the child's first birthday, depending on the reason that you're responsible for the child, and
  • within 3 months of you being told about the backdated award - you'll need to apply within 3 months of the date that the authority made the decision, for example the DWP or your local council.

Who can apply for a Pregnancy and Baby Payment

You can apply for a Pregnancy and Baby Payment if you're:

  • pregnant or the birth mother of the baby
  • the partner of someone who is pregnant or the birth mother of the baby - you need to be married, civil partners or living together as if you were married or civil partners
  • getting Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Pension Credit or the child element of Universal Credit for the birth mother - for example, your 17-year-old daughter is expecting a baby and you still get Child Benefit for her
  • responsible for the child in some other way - for example, you've adopted a child or are a kinship carer.

If you've adopted a child 

You can get the Pregnancy and Baby Payment if you've adopted a child who is less than 1 year old.

If you're getting Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Pension Credit or the child element of Universal Credit for the child, you will not need to give any evidence of the adoption to Social Security Scotland.

If you're not getting Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Pension Credit or the child element of Universal Credit for the child, you'll need to send Social Security Scotland a copy of the legal order that allows you to look after the child.

You should send Social Security Scotland a copy of the legal order, not the original.

You can ask Social Security Scotland to send you a pre-paid envelope to put the copy of the order in. You can phone them to ask for this. If you were sent a paper application form, the pre-paid envelope should have been sent with the form.

Get Social Security Scotland's contact details on our page about how to apply.

Find out more about adoption.

If you're a kinship carer 

You can get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment if you're a kinship carer for a child who is less than 1 year old. This means that you're looking after the child because a relative or close friend cannot look after them. For example, you might be looking after your grandchild, niece or nephew.

If you're not getting Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Pension Credit or the child element of Universal Credit for the child, you'll need to send Social Security Scotland proof that you're a kinship carer. This could be:

  • a copy of the legal order that allows you to look after the child
  • proof that you've dealt with the social work department about the care of the child.

If you're not sure if the local council recognises you as a kinship carer, you can phone the National Kinship Care Advice Service.

You should send Social Security Scotland a copy of the legal order, not the original.

You can ask Social Security Scotland to send you a pre-paid envelope to put the copy of the order in. You can phone them to ask for this. If you were sent a paper application form, the pre-paid envelope should have been sent with the form. 

Get Social Security Scotland's contact details on our page about how to apply.

Read more about kinship care.

If more than 1 person applies for the same child

Only 1 person can get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment for a child.

If you and somebody else apply for the same child, Social Security Scotland will decide who gets the payment based on which benefits you already get for the child and how you can show you're responsible for the child.

Social Security Scotland must decide on the application of the person who applied first, before deciding on another application.

You’ll get the Pregnancy and Baby Payment if you get 1 of these benefits for the child:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Pension Credit with child element
  • Universal Credit with child element.

If you're a kinship carer, you'll get the Pregnancy and Baby Payment if either:

  • no one else applying gets 1 of these benefits
  • the child's circumstances show that you're responsible for them.

If no one is a kinship carer or getting benefits

You'll get the Pregnancy and Baby Payment if you get Child Benefit and no one who applied:

  • is a kinship carer
  • gets Universal Credit, Pension Credit or Child Tax Credit for the child.

But if no one gets Child Benefit, Social Security Scotland will decide who gets the payment by considering the child's circumstances. This means they'll think about where the child lives and how they're cared for.

If you're both kinship carers or getting benefits

The person who applied for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment first will get the payment if everyone applying has the same level of priority.

You might have the same level of priority if you and the other person:

  • are kinship carers but do not get any benefits for the child yet
  • get Universal Credit, Pension Credit or Child Tax Credit for the child.

For example, you might both get a benefit like Universal Credit for the child because you have a joint claim.

If your baby was stillborn or died after they were born

You can get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment. You can apply up to 6 months after the day your baby was born.

You need to have been at least 24 weeks pregnant for the payment to be made after a stillbirth. It will not be made if you had a miscarriage in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

What benefits do I need to get

You or your partner usually needs to get 1 of the following benefits: 

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Universal Credit.

You or your partner usually needs to get 1 of these benefits on the day that you apply for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment.

There are exceptions if you're:

  • on Universal Credit
  • under 18, or
  • aged 18 or 19 and in some types of education or training.

If you think you might be entitled to 1 of these benefits, you can get advice about this. Check how to get advice.

You can also use an online benefit calculator to see if you might be entitled to anything. You can find benefit calculators on the Turn2Us website or the Entitledto website.

If you've applied for a benefit but not had a decision yet

You can still apply for a Pregnancy and Baby Payment.

If you're waiting for a decision about a claim for Universal Credit, your claim for a Pregnancy and Baby Payment will be held until the end of the first Universal Credit assessment period. A Pregnancy and Baby Payment decision can then be made at this point. This is called a 'determination'.

If you're waiting for a decision about a claim for any benefit other than Universal Credit, the claim will be held for 10 days in case a decision is made in that time. If so, a determination about the Pregnancy and Baby Payment can be made. If not, you'll need to re-apply for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment once your other benefit claim is decided.

If you've missed the application window for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment but you've now been awarded a qualifying benefit, you might be able to make a late claim for a payment. This will only be possible if you've been awarded the benefit for a date within the application window.

Find out if you can make a late claim for a payment.

If you're not sure if you can apply, check how you can get advice.

If you or your partner gets Universal Credit 

If you or your partner gets Universal Credit, you might not get some Universal Credit every month if your income goes up and down. Check that you got an award of Universal Credit in the month before you apply for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, as this is what will be checked.

It will not matter if you do not get any Universal Credit in the month in which you apply, as long as you got some for the month before you applied.

If your Universal Credit goes down because of deductions, for example for a sanction or money you owe, this will not matter. Social Security Scotland will look at the amount of your Universal Credit before any deductions are made.

Read more about how Universal Credit is paid.

If you're under 18

You don't need to get any qualifying benefits. 

You can choose whether you want:

  • to apply and receive the benefit yourself
  • someone else to apply and get the benefit, such as your parent or carer.

If someone else applies, they will need to get Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit or the child element of Universal Credit for you to show that you're still living with them. They'll also need to meet the other conditions to get a payment.

If you're 18 or 19 years old

You don't need to get any benefits as long as someone else is getting Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit or the child element of Universal Credit for you. For example, your parent or carer might get 1 of these benefits for you because you're still at school or college.

You can choose whether you want:

  • to apply and get the Pregnancy and Baby Payment yourself
  • your parent or carer to apply and get the payment.

If you apply yourself, you'll need to give your parent or carer's details so that Social Security Scotland can check that they're getting benefits for you. You'll need to give their name, date of birth and national insurance number if they have one.

If your parent or carer applies for the payment, they can't apply online at the moment. They can only apply by phoning Social Security Scotland. Get Social Security Scotland's contact details on our page about how to apply.

If a payment has already been made for the baby

You can't usually get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment if someone else has already had either:

  • a Pregnancy and Baby Payment for the baby
  • a Sure Start Maternity Grant for the baby.

The only time that you can get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment if someone has already had a payment for the baby is if you've taken over responsibility for the child - for example, you have adopted the child or are a kinship carer.

Rules about living in Scotland

In most cases, you can get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment if you normally live in Scotland and you meet the other conditions for getting the payment.

You need to get 1 of a list of benefits to be eligible for the grant - although there's an exception for some young people aged under 18 or aged 18 or 19 and still in education or training.

If you're not a UK citizen or you're a UK citizen who has been living abroad, you might not be able to get any of these benefits. So you might not be able to get the Pregnancy and Baby Payment.

Get advice if you're not sure if you can get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment because of residence issues.

Find out how to get immigration advice

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