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How Long Does a Maternity Grant Take?

Written by, Marija Petkova

Updated September, 21, 2022

Having children is expensive.

Fortunately, some parents can get a maternity grant from the government – no strings attached– to help them with the costs of having a new family member. 

But how long does a maternity grant take, and how to apply for a maternity grant?

Let’s find out.

What is a Maternity Grant?

A Sure Start Maternity Grant is a one-off payment introduced to help people on benefits cover the initial costs of maternity and infant products.

The  Sure Start Grant is tax-free and doesn’t have to be repaid. Since it doesn’t count as income, the grant will not affect your other benefits or tax credits, but you’ll have to meet certain conditions to qualify for it.

SSMG Eligibility Criteria

In most cases, you can get a Maternity Sure Start Grant if you’re having a child for the first time and you or your partner (regardless of whether you’re married or in a civil partnership) are on at least one of the following benefits: 

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance 
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit (only if it includes a disability element)

Note: If you’re just applying for Universal Credit, you might be able to backdate your claim

You could also apply for SSMG if you’re adopting or becoming a first-time surrogate parent and you’re on (the abovementioned) benefits. In this case, you can get financial help if one of the following applies:

  • You take full responsibility for the child even if you’re not the biological parent.
  • You have an order for a surrogate birth.
  • You are the appointed guardian for the baby.
  • You have an adoption or residence order.
  • You have permission to adopt a child from outside of the UK.

Can I claim the grant if I have employment status?

You can get a maternity grant as long as you’re claiming at least one of the benefits listed above. You also might be eligible for CTC after the baby is born. In that case, you can apply for the SSMG then.

You may be interested in: How to get a loan while on benefits?

How Much Money Will You Get?

If you do not have children, a Sure Start Maternity Grant is £500.

If you already have or care for a child that’s younger than 16, you can only get a grant if you are expecting multiple births, in which case you’ll get:

If you have children under 16Amount for twinsAmount for triplets (or more)
None are from multiple births£500£1,000
If you already have twins£0£500
If you already have triplets£0£0

How to Apply for the Maternity Grant?

Applying for a maternity grant can be done before or after childbirth

The earliest you can make a claim is 11 weeks before the baby is due. Once the newborn is here, you’ll have six months to apply for the grant. 

If you’re adopting or becoming a surrogate parent, the baby must be younger than 1 year when you make the claim to be eligible for the grant. 

To apply for a maternity grant:

  1. Go to the official UK government website
  1. Find the Sure Start Maternity Grant claim form (SF100) and print it.
  1. Fill out the form.
  1. Have a professional healthcare provider or a doctor fill in the statement on page 10. If you’re short on time, you can send the statement without it, in which case you will be contacted for a statement at a later date. 
  1. Post the claim to ‘Freepost DWP SSMG’. You don’t need a stamp or a postcode. 

Parents that aren’t sure whether they can apply can call the Sure Start Maternity Grant helpline at 0800 169 0140.

How Long Does a Maternity Grant Take?

It usually takes between 7-10 working days to get the maternity £500 grant transferred into your bank account. 

You will first get a message from the SSMG confirming that you are eligible for the claim. They will contact you if they need any additional information to complete the application process and the transaction.

Note: If you’re on Universal Credit, you will get the pregnancy grant decision after the next payment.

Bottom Line

First-time parents that are on benefits can get a maternity grant from the government. The maternity grant is designed to provide financial help to parents on benefits who aren’t taking care of any kids or are expecting multiple births. 

If you’re eligible, you can apply before or after the baby is born (as long as you meet the deadline). Once the grant is approved, you’ll receive the money in your bank account in up to 10 days. 

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

Do you have to pay the maternity grant back?

You do not need to pay the SSMG back.

Does maternity grant affect Universal Credit?

The grant does not affect Universal Credit, and you can claim Universal Credit while you’re on your maternity leave. You may receive less if you apply for a maternity allowance.

Who do I contact about my Sure Start Maternity Grant?

If you have questions about the SSMG grant, you can call the Sure Start Maternity Grant helpline.

What benefits can I claim when pregnant?

Some of the benefits that you can claim while pregnant are free NHS dental treatment, antenatal care, Statutory Maternity Leave and Pay, Maternity Allowance, Child Benefits, Child Tax Credit, and Working Tax Credit, among others.

When to tell Universal Credit you’re pregnant?

You should report your pregnancy to Universal Credit once you reach 20 weeks. You can be on Universal Credit while pregnant.

How long does a Maternity Grant Take? 

It can take anywhere between 7 and 10 days, and sometimes more, for the government to send the money into your bank account.

My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.