It can be a little daunting when you have just had a baby and you are being told that you must claim certain benefits or you will lose out. There are no hard and fast rules, but here is a brief guide to what you may be entitled to in the first few months. Some parents are told they must claim DLA immediately which is not always necessary and can put undue pressure on parents. You can claim DLA at any time – when you think the time is right.
Administered by HMRC and payable as long as one parent is not earning over £60,000 (not both your incomes added together). You can still claim the benefit if you wish and pay it back through your increased tax. If the highest earning parent earns less than £50,000, child benefit will still be paid in full and earning between £50,000 and £60,000 will affect the benefit on a sliding scale – so a parent earning £55,000 would only be entitled to half the child benefit.
You should receive an information pack just after your baby is born and this should contain a claim form. If not, ring the Child Benefit Helpline and ask for a CH2 form – 0300 200 3100. It can be backdated for 3 months only so claim soon after your baby is born.
Child Benefit is currently £20.70 for your first child and £13.70 for all other children (2017/18)
Child Tax Credit
The government is gradually replacing tax credits, housing benefit, income based ESA, income based JSA and income support with Universal Credit. If Universal Credit has been rolled out into your area, you should be told when you ring up.
Child Tax Credit is administered through HMRC, this is an earnings related top up benefit and if you qualify, you receive a premium for each child. You may already be in receipt of working tax credit or child tax credits for your other children. As a general rule of thumb, if you earn less than £26,000 per year between you and have one child, you will qualify. However once your child qualifies for Disability Living Allowance (DLA), you are able to earn more and still receive child tax credits as there is an extra premium for children in receipt of DLA.
You need to contact the tax credit office on 0345 300 3900 as they will not contact you.
There is no standard rate for tax credits as it depends on your income.
Disability Living Allowance
This is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It is not means tested. It is made up of the Care component and the Mobility component. The Mobility component is not payable until 3 years of age. The Care component can be paid from 3 months of age depending on the extra needs your child has.
The Care component has 3 rates:
- Higher rate (for extra day and night needs)
- Middle rate (for extra day or night needs)
- The lower rate is for someone who needs care for around an hour a day whether for a single period or lots of brief single periods.
The DWP will not award benefit purely because of a diagnosis, your baby has to have needs that are over and above the needs normally expected for a child of the same age.
To qualify for DLA at 3 months, a baby must have needs over and above those normally needed at this age. This means that it is babies with extra medical needs that will qualify at this time. Examples include tube feeding your baby or administering regular prescribed medication, maybe for their heart or kidneys.
If your baby has no medical issues, they will probably qualify at a later time when they start to show a delay in development. Maybe speech therapy and physiotherapy activities are needed for their development. This need varies with each child. If you are unsure, please call us.
Each baby is different but if you are unsure, please call us and speak to the benefits advisers. If you are awarded DLA for your child and you also receive Child Tax Credits, make sure you tell Tax Credits as soon as you can as you will be entitled to more tax credits.
The Higher rate Care component is £83.10, Middle Rate £55.65, Lower Rate £22.00 (2017/18)
You can claim this once your maternity leave ends and if your child is awarded DLA care component at the Middle or Higher rate. It is means tested, but only for the carer of the child.
If you decide to work part time, you are able to earn up to £116 per week (after tax, national insurance contributions and half of any pension payment). The other parent’s income will not affect the carers allowance. If you are receiving benefits, you can receive a Carers premium added on to your benefit.
To make a claim you need to contact Carers Allowance Unit on 0845 608 4321.
Carers Allowance is £62.70 and the Carers premium is £34.95 (2017/18)
Download this page
This page called Benefits for Babies can be downloaded.
Date: April 2016 | Information updated annually
If you have concerns, please ring the DSA’s Benefits Advisers: Christina Katic and Helen Wild
Monday – Friday 10am-4pm | Telephone: 0333 1212 300