What is the Sure Start Maternity Grant?

The Sure Start Maternity Grant is a £500 one-off payment to help towards the cost of having a child. You can choose to spend it how you like, and you don’t have to repay it to the government.

It also doesn’t affect any other benefits you receive.

It is usually given to new mothers who have no other children. It can also go to mothers who have other children but are expecting a multiple birth (like twins or triplets).

If you receive the Sure Start Maternity Grant, it will come in one lump sum straight into your account. This is the account you put on the form when you apply.

Who can claim it?

Like we talked about above, most new mothers can claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant if they’re receiving benefits. Also, mothers who already have children may be eligible if they’re expecting a multiple birth.

You’ll usually qualify for the grant if both of these apply:

You’re expecting your first child, or you’re expecting a double or triple birth (e.g. twins) and you have children already.

You or your partner already get certain benefits.

Here are the benefits you or your partner must be receiving to be eligible for a Sure Start Maternity Grant:

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

Don’t worry if you don’t receive one of those benefits above. You may also qualify if you’re getting a Support for Mortgage Interest loan.

As we’ve discussed above, you should be eligible for the Grant if you have other children if:

  • You’re expecting more than one child (like triplets)
  • The child you currently care for is someone else’s and they were one year old when you started caring for them. In other words, this baby is your first child.

You may also be able to get a grant if you’re adopting or becoming a surrogate parent. The same rules as above apply for what benefits you claim. There are also some addition rules. One of the below must apply:

  • You care for the child but you are not the mother.
  • You are adopting the child.
  • You’ve got permission to adopt a baby from abroad.
  • You’ve got a court order for a surrogate birth.
  • You are the child’s legal guardian.
  • You’ve got an adoption or residence order.
  • If this is the case, you must claim before the child’s 1st birthday.

How to claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant

First of all, you should print the Sure Start Maternity Grant (SF100) claim form. You can access it using the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sure-start-maternity-grant-claim-form

If you don’t have access to a computer or the internet, you can contact your local jobcentre plus for a form. You can also contact the Sure Start Maternity Grant helpline:

0800 169 0140

A doctor, nurse or midwife must also fill out the form with you.

Once you complete the form, you can either post it or take it to your local Jobcentre Plus.

The address you can post it to is:

<Freepost DWP SSMG

This address seems short, but it is all you need. There’s also no need to buy a stamp for your letter.

If you live in Northern Ireland, you need to post the form to your nearest Jobs & Benefits office. You can find the nearest one here:

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/contacts/jobs-benefits-offices-jobcentres-and-social-security-offices

You must claim the grant within 11 weeks of the baby’s due date or within 3 months after the baby’s been born.

You will then get a letter in the post to inform you of your application. If it was successful, it will tell you your payment date. If you were unsuccessful, it will give you a short explanation why. If you claim Universal Credit, the letter won’t come until after your next payment.

Mandatory reconsideration

If the government says you aren’t eligible for the Sure Start Maternity Grant, you can challenge the decision. This is a ‘mandatory reconsideration’.

You can do this with any of the benefits the government offer.

You need to be careful, as the time limits for challenging the decision are quite strict. You have one month from the date of rejection to submit a challenge.

Turn2Us has a useful guide for challenging decisions:

https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Challenging-Department-for-Work-and-Pensions-benef/What-are-my-options