As a newly unemployed mother-to-be, I have taken it upon myself to find out as much as possible what help I can get for myself and my growing family.
I had no prospect of finding a job while pregnant, since any job would have a trial period and I would inevitably have to inform them of the situation before that period was up. What business will hire someone just to pay them to not work? Well, not any I know.
Now at 31 weeks pregnant and counting, it’s quite obvious that I’m in no state to continue working indefinitely as I could pop at any time from about a month and half away.
So of course I am stuck, not that I am unhappy because if we can get by (a big if) I can be the stay-at-home Mum I always wanted to be. At least until they’re in regular nursery or school. This is fantastic if it works!
This is where Maternity Allowance might save you and me!
Maternity Allowance is an alternative to Maternity Pay, which is through your employer. Since I was employed close enough to the time of getting pregnant, I am entitled to pay, but since my employer had to let me go for non-pregnancy-related issues (Covid-19 closures of his income was the cause), I have a legitimate claim to some money from the UK government.
I have just received the text today stating that I will receive the around £462 every 4 weeks to pay my personal bills and pay my share of the house rent and half the bills. This is not the full amount possible for me to have received, and I’m not sure why I didn’t get the full package, but here we are.
This is still a fantastic outcome though, and I am definitely grateful for it as I didn’t know it even existed before now. However…
This is not quite enough to cover my half of the household costs (rent, gas, electric etc.) and my personal bills. Helping my partner to not feel put upon with paying all the bills was my hope for getting Maternity Allowance. After not being in work anymore and not being able to receive Maternity Pay, this was what I felt to be my last option. Thank goodness I got this much.
Sadly, J will have to pay a little more than me in the household bills, and this makes me quite upset. I wanted to cover myself, I don’t want to be a ‘kept woman’ in any sense if I can help it. It makes me feel uncomfortable.
This situation is definitely not ideal, and I have no idea what I can do once my Maternity Allowance runs out. J would be paying the full rent, bills, and helping with my bills possibly, because even though I get University payments, they end in June and only restart in October – making the summer a scraping by kind of time. So I began looking at alternative help out there.
There is more!
Once baby is born there is also the possibility of Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits and others from Universal Credit, plus Child Benefit which isn’t through Universal Credit and everyone with a child gets, to help pay for the most basic childcare needs.
I am in the process of applying for a few of these extras, including a Universal Credit application which I am almost certain won’t be granted – but you never know! If I get this, the Sure Start Maternity Grant may be available, plus the vouchers, and of course once the baby is here, the Child Benefit will be a welcome blessing.
So as J and I pull ourselves back into attempting to afford me as a stay-at-home Mum, we might also just find that it helps our case with the local council, which we have since put in yet another application to join the social housing list.
Silver linings and we live in hope. Good luck to anyone else out there needing a little bit of help!