You can claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant from 11 weeks before your baby is due up until six months after your baby is born. If you are adopting, you can only claim the grant if the child you are adopting is under 12 months when you claim. You can also claim a grant if you have a residence order for a child under 12 months, or if you have a parental order for a child by a surrogate mother. In these cases you cannot claim any later than three months after the adoption, parental order or residence order.
If you are not sure whether you meet the conditions (for example, because you are waiting for your benefits claim to be decided), then you should claim the grant within six months of the baby’s birth anyway (there is no point claiming before the birth unless you are on a qualifying benefit before your baby is born). You can let Jobcentre Plus (the Social Security Agency in Northern Ireland) know about your Universal Credit or tax credits later if necessary. If your income is lower than it was in the last tax year because of your maternity leave or any other reason, and you need a qualifying award of Universal Credit or Child Tax Credit to be eligible for the grant, you may need to claim the grant again when your benefits are revised or finalised, but still make sure your first claim is within three months of the birth.
You can usually only get a Sure Start Maternity Grant for your first child (see Sure Start Maternity Grant), however, if you are entitled, you get a grant for each child or expected child, so for example if you have twins, you would get £1000. If you only have one child, and then you have twins, you could get £500 if you are eligible.
You will be entitled to the grant if you meet the other conditions and you have a stillbirth after the end of the 24th week of your pregnancy, or if you have a baby which is born alive, even if the baby dies very soon after birth.
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