Ready Steady Baby

Back

Benefits and financial support for you and your baby

Some benefits can be claimed while you’re pregnant. Other benefits can only be claimed after your baby is born. Benefits you might be able to claim include:

  • Best Start Foods
  • Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment
  • Scottish Child Payment
  • Child Benefit
  • Universal Credit
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Tax-Free Childcare

Your midwife will give you a MATB1 certificate when you’re within 20 weeks of your due date. This is proof that you’re pregnant – you may need this proof for your employer or for claiming benefits.

Read more about support available to help people, including children and families, with the cost of living

Best Start Foods

Best Start Foods helps eligible pregnant women and families with children under the age of 3 to buy healthy foods. The payments are loaded onto a prepaid card that works like a regular bank card.

You may be able to get Best Start Foods if:

  • you or your partner, or someone you’re dependent on, are getting certain benefits

If you’re under 18, you can be eligible for Best Start Foods during pregnancy and up until your child turns 1, even if you’re not receiving these benefits.

You may also be able to get Best Start Foods for your child even if you cannot get certain benefits because of your immigration status.

Best Start Foods provides:

  • £18 every 4 weeks throughout pregnancy
  • £36 every 4 weeks from birth until a child turns 1
  • £18 every 4 weeks from 1 until a child turns 3

You can apply from as soon as you know you’re pregnant, up until your child turns 3 years old.

mygov has more about Best Start Foods

Best Start Grant – Pregnancy and Baby Payment

The Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment is a cash payment to help eligible parents and carers when they’re pregnant or have a new baby.

You may be able to get this payment if:

  • you’re under 18
  • you’re aged 18 or 19 and someone is getting benefits for you or
  • you or your partner are getting certain benefits

If you’re eligible, you’ll be paid:

  • £642.35 for your first child
  • £321.20 for each of your other children

In certain circumstances, you may be able to receive a payment of £642.35 for a child that is not your first child. There’s an additional multi-birth supplement of £321.20 to help with the costs of having more than 1 baby, like twins or triplets.

You can apply from the start of your 25th week of pregnancy up to when your baby’s 6 months old.

mygov has more about the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment

Scottish Child Payment

Scottish Child Payment helps towards the costs of supporting your family. It’s a weekly payment of £25 that you can get for every child you look after who’s under 16. You may be able to get this payment if you’re getting certain benefits.

mygov has more information about Scottish Child Payment

Child Benefit

You can claim Child Benefit as soon as you’ve registered the birth of your child. You need to claim it within 3 months of your baby’s birth.

Child Benefit:

  • is paid at a fixed amount for each child every 4 weeks
  • goes straight into your bank account or through a Post Office or National Savings account that accepts direct payments

If you have your baby in hospital, you should be given an application form before you go home. You can also download a CH2 form to claim Child Benefit through GOV.UK.

GOV.UK has more about claiming Child Benefit

Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit

You can get Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for your child, depending on your circumstances and how much other income you have.

You can only make a claim for Child Tax Credit if you already get Working Tax Credit.

If you cannot apply for Child Tax Credit, you can apply for Universal Credit instead.

If you already have 2 or more children in your family, you might not get any additional Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for a new baby.

Child Tax Credit will not affect your Child Benefit.

GOV.UK has more about Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit

Housing

When you become a parent it’s important to have a home which you know is safe and where you can feel settled.

Talk to your midwife if you’re worried you might lose your home or that your home isn’t safe for your baby.

If housing benefit or universal credit doesn’t cover your rent in full, you may be able to get a discretionary housing payment (DHP) to help meet your housing costs.

More about housing rights and benefits for new parents

If you’re seeking asylum

If you’re seeking asylum in Scotland:

  • you have the right to NHS healthcare while you’re here
  • you may be entitled to support from the Home Office

There are strict time limits for applying, but you can get extra payments:

  • during pregnancy
  • around the time of the birth
  • after your baby’s born

More about accessing healthcare for refugees, asylum seekers and overseas visitors. GOV.UK also has more about asylum support.

If your claim for asylum has been refused

If your claim for asylum has been refused you may be able to get some support during pregnancy.

Get expert advice as soon as you can.

If you don’t have leave to remain

If you’ve overstayed your visa or don’t have leave to remain you may not be entitled to many benefits.

If you and your baby are homeless or have very little or no money, you may be able to get housing and financial support from your local authority.

If you have no access to public funds

Most of the benefits mentioned here are classed as public funds.

If you have ‘no recourse to public funds’ as a condition of your visa, applying for these benefits could affect future immigration applications. Get expert immigration advice before applying.

GOV.UK has more guidance on public funds foreign nationals can claim

Further information and other languages and formats

Translations and alternative formats of this information are available from Public Health Scotland.

If you need a different language or format, please contact phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

Last updated:
2 November 2023

There are no NHS operators available to chat at this time