Benefits and financial support for you and your baby

You can start claiming some benefits while you're pregnant and after your baby's born. This includes:

  • Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment
  • Child Benefit
  • Universal Credit
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Tax-Free Childcare

Your midwife will give you your MATB1 certificate no more than 20 weeks before the due date. This is proof that you are pregnant if you need this for your employer or for claiming benefits.

Best Start Grant - Pregnancy and Baby Payment

The Best Start Grant - Pregnancy and Baby Payment is a new cash payment for the parents, or carers, of a baby.

You may be able to get this payment if:

  • you're a parent under 18
  • you or your partner are getting certain benefits

If you're eligible, you'll be paid:

  • £600 for your first child
  • £300 for each of your other children

You can apply when you reach 24 weeks in your pregnancy up to when your baby's 6 months old.

mygov has more about the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment

Child Benefit

As soon as your baby's born you can apply for Child Benefit. You need to claim it within 3 months of your baby’s birth.

Child Benefit:

  • is paid at a fixed amount for each child every 4 weeks
  • goes straight into your bank account or through a Post Office or National Savings account that accepts direct payments

If you have your baby in hospital, you should be given an application form before you go home. You can also download a CH2 form to claim Child Benefit through GOV.UK.

GOV.UK has more about claiming Child Benefit

Claiming Child Benefit during coronavirus

To maintain safe distancing, you shouldn't attend your General Register Offices to register the birth of your child. 

You can still claim Child Benefit without registering the birth by filling in a Child Benefit Claim form CH2 and sending it to the Child Benefit Office with a note to let them know you haven't registered the birth because of coronavirus.

GOV.UK have more about claiming Child Benefit during the outbreak

Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit

You can get Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for your child, depending on your circumstances and how much other income you have.

You may still qualify if you’re on maternity leave or when you go back to work.

If you already have 2 or more children in your family, you might not get any additional Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for a new baby.

GOV.UK has more about Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit


When you become a parent it’s important to have a home which you know is safe and where you can feel settled.

If housing benefit or universal credit doesn’t cover your rent in full, you may be able to get a discretionary housing payment (DHP) to help meet your housing costs.

More about housing rights and benefits for new parents

Women who are seeking asylum

If you’re seeking asylum in Scotland:

  • you have the right to NHS healthcare while you're here
  • you may be entitled to support from the Home Office

There are strict time limits for applying, but you can get extra payments:

  • during pregnancy
  • around the time of the birth
  • after your baby's born

More about accessing healthcare for refugees, asylum seekers and overseas visitors. GOV.UK also has more about asylum support.

If your claim for asylum has been refused

If your claim for asylum has been refused you may be able to get some support during pregnancy.

Get expert advice as soon as you can.

Women without leave to remain

If you’ve overstayed your visa or don’t have leave to remain you may not be entitled to many benefits.

If you and your baby are homeless or have very little or no money, you may be able to get housing and financial support from your local authority.

Women with no recourse to public funds

Most of the benefits mentioned here are classed as public funds.

If you have ‘no recourse to public funds’ as a condition of your visa, applying for these benefits could affect future immigration applications. Get expert immigration advice before applying.

GOV.UK has more guidance on public funds foreign nationals can claim

Translations and alternative formats of this information are available from Public Health Scotland.

Last updated:
04 March 2022