Pregnancy / becoming a new parent

Maternity pay

You may be entitled to either maternity pay, maternity allowance, paid time off for antenatal care or shared time off and pay.

It is important to plan ahead, as you may be affected by the benefit cap if you do not return to work when your maternity leave ends. See information about claiming back child costs below.

Claiming benefits

You may be entitled to claim Universal Credit. You can apply regardless of how many children you have, and you may be awarded more when you have additional children.

You can also get extra help if one of your children has a disability.

You can use the following calculators to work out what you might be entitled to:

Child Benefit is a separate payment to Universal Credit. You get Child Benefit if you’re responsible for bringing up a child who is:

You may have to pay back some of your Child Benefit in tax if your (or your partner’s) individual income is over £50,000.

If you are claiming benefits, and are expecting your first child or children (twins, triplets, etc) you may be eligible for the Sure Start Maternity Grant. This is a one off £500 payment, which you do not need to repay. You must claim within 11 weeks of the baby’s due date, or within six months after they are born.

The following organisations offer support with benefit checks, form filling and mandatory reconsiderations:

Nquire offers free support, advice, and information to people in and around West Reading. This includes help with welfare benefits advice, form filling, letter writing, and debt referrals. Contact admin@nquire.org or call 01189 959 8558

Reading Community Welfare Rights provides a specialist service to all sectors of the local community in relation to all welfare benefits including assistance with benefit checks and form filling, advice on your right to challenge decisions, help with appeals, and preparation for court hearings. Contact advisor@readingspecialist.co.uk or call 0118 955 1070

Communicare offers support with applications and form filling. Contact office@communicare.org.uk    

Child maintenance arrangements

A child maintenance arrangement is an arrangement between you and the other parent of your child. It covers how your child’s living costs will be met when their parents no longer live together. The arrangement can be either:

  • A private arrangement between you and the other parent
  • Made through the Child Maintenance Service

Emotional and practical support available in the community

New Beginnings is a registered charity that has transformed the Queens Arms pub into a community café. On Wednesdays and Fridays between 12.30 and 1.30pm, they run Fridge for the Community where you can collect free food, and free clothing, including school uniform. Other services include an after school club on a Wednesday. Free hot meals are served. In addition, craft activities, toys, and games are on offer for children to enjoy.

Address: 24 Great Knollys Street, Reading

First Days is a charity providing everyday essentials to families who them, by distributing school uniforms, new baby essentials, travel items, toiletries, safety equipment, furniture, toys and books. A professional working with your family can make a referral.

Home Start Reading offers support, friendship and practical help to parents with young children. Parents may be going through bereavement or post-natal depression, coping with a disability, an illness, or social isolation, amongst other things. Contact office@home-start-reading.org.uk or call 01189 956 8800.