BENEFIT payments are rising from today, giving many families a pay boost as a cost of living crisis bites.
If you're a new parent, you can get help to pay for the cost of bringing up your kids – and the amount you can get is rising today, Monday, April 11.
From maternity and paternity leave, to child benefit and Universal Credit – here's the help you can get and how much it's rising from today.
Other benefits rising by 3.1% too include basic Universal Credit amounts and the state pension – you can see the full list here.
The rate rises will help families in part as they battle against eye-watering bill rises.
Millions saw their energy bills double to an average of £1,971 a year when the price cap went up at the beginning of the month.
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And inflation hit an eye watering 6.2%, a high not seen in decades, when the latest data from the Office for National Statistics was released last month – driving up the cost of fuel, food, and more.
You can use a benefits calculator to check if you're claiming everything you're entitled to which could boost the money in your purse.
You can check by using an online benefits calculator, which are offered by charities such as Turn2Us and EntitledTo.
You'll get the benefit rate rises when you usually get paid from this month.
So you'll see the added cash in your account added onto your usual payment.
Maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay
Pay for mums and dads taking time away for kids, including those adopting, has gone up.
The statutory rates has increased from £151.97 to £156.66, for maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental pay.
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Pregnant women and new mothers are able to take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave in the UK and up to 39 of these are paid.
How much pay is given depends on different factors including where the woman works, how long she’s been employed, and her average salary.
Most employers offer an enhanced maternity pay package but this depends on the company.
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid at 90% of usual earnings for the first six weeks, then at £151.97 (rising to £156.66 from today) a week for the next 33 weeks, or 90% of average earnings (whichever is lower).
For those adopting a child the rules are the same.
Statutory adoption pay is paid at 90% of usual earnings for the first six weeks, then at £151.97 (rising to £156.66 from today) a week for the next 33 weeks, or 90% of average earnings (whichever is lower).
Statutory Paternity Pay is paid at either 90% of earnings or £151.97 (rising to £156.66 from today), whichever is lower.
Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) is £151.97 a week (rising to £156.66 from today) or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.
You can use the calculator on gov.uk to see what maternity or paternity you could get.
New mums who don't qualify for standard maternity pay could still get a payment adding up to thousands of pounds from Maternity Allowance.
Mothers taking maternity leave are generally entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) from their employer.
But in some circumstances they may not be eligible, for instance if they lost or left their job recently.
And women working from themselves don't have an employer to pay them SMP.
Maternity Allowance has increased from £151.97 a week to £156.66 from today.
Over a year that now adds up to £6,109 for 2022-23 over the 39 weeks you could get it, though the exact amount you can get depends on your eligibility.
Anyone getting Maternity Allowance also get Class 1 national insurance credits – which can help you build up your state pension – so it's worth claiming even if you don't get the full amount.
Read more about who's eligible for Maternity Allowance and how to apply in our guide.
You can use the calculator on gov.uk to see what maternity allowance you could get.
There are two child benefit rates, one for the eldest child and another for each further child or children.
The old rate for your eldest or only child was £21.15 per week but that has gone up to £21.80 today.
Then for each of your other children it was £14 a week – but that has gone up to £14.45 a week.
That's an extra £33.80 and £23.40 a year respectively for each rate.
There are other benefits you might get on top of child benefit if you're on a low income, like the child element of Universal Credit.
If either parent is earning over £50,000 they have to pay the high income child benefit tax charge.
Child element of Universal Credit
Families on low incomes can get Universal Credit and extra cash if you have kids.
The main rates of Universal Credit have gone up, along with the child element.
These are the extra Universal Credit amounts for children:
For those with a first child born before April 6, 2017, the extra amount has gone up from £282.50 to £290.
For those with a child born on or after April 6, 2017 or second child and subsequent child, the extra amount has gone up from £237.08 to £244.58.
For those with a disabled child, the lower rate addition payment has gone up from £128.89 to £132.89 and the higher rate from £402.41 to £414.88.
More help for new parents
New parents can get a range of help on top of these benefits.
If you claim Universal Credit, you might be able to get a refund on most of your child care costs.
You can claim back 85% of childcare costs up to £646.35 for one child or £1108.04 for two or more up to August 31 following the child’s 16th birthday.
You will have to pay your childcare costs yourself up front and then claim the money back through Universal Credit.
Free prescriptions and dental care
Prescriptions cost £8.60 a pop in England, while NHS dental costs vary by location.
You can get both for free while you're pregnant and for 12 months after your baby's due date.
Ask your doctor or midwife for a maternity exemption certificate (MATEX) to claim the free care.
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Free milk, infant formula, vitamins or fruit and veg
Under the Healthy Start programme, you may be entitled to the freebies if you're at least 10 weeks pregnant or you have a child under four and you're on certain benefits, such as Universal Credit.
£500 free grant
In England, Northern Ireland and Wales you may be entitled to a Sure Start grant of £500 if you're on certain benefits and expecting your first child or expecting more than one baby – such as twins. Find out more here.
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