A Guide to Benefits if you are under 18 and having a baby
If you are under 18, you can usually get Healthy Start vouchers to help with the costs of milk, fruit or vegetables whilst you are pregnant. You should ask your midwife about these.
You may be able to get Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance if you have been working and meet the usual conditions. Once you are 29 weeks pregnant, you could be entitled to Income Support. You must meet all the other conditions, and there are complications. You will not be able to get Income Support if your parents or anybody else is claiming Child Benefit for you. This can happen for a short time even after you have left school or college.
When your baby is born, you can claim Child Benefit . You can no longer make a new claim for Income Support or Child Tax Credit and will in most likelihood have to claim Universal Credit instead (unless very limited circumstances apply). You will be told what to do if this applies to you. If you are a single parent, and have an existing Income Support claim, even if you go back to school or college you will continue to be eligible for this. You will probably be able to claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant for your baby, if it is your first child, depending on what other benefits you are claiming. There may be a choice between whether you claim benefits or your parents claim; if you are not sure what to do, get advice. You might still be able to get Healthy Start vouchers but this will depend on what other benefits you or your family get.
If you or your parents have come from outside the UK, whether you can claim benefits may depend on your immigration status. If you are not sure what to claim, you should get advice.
If you are a single parent (not living with a partner) and you live in England or Wales, you can contact Gingerbread for advice. In Scotland, you can contact One Parent Families Scotland and in Northern Ireland, Gingerbread NI.
If you are living with a partner, your rights to benefit will depend on the age of your partner and whether or not they are working. You can ring our helpline for more advice.
If you are employed, you have exactly the same employment rights as any other employee. The only difference is the national minimum wage. All the information on our site about your rights at work applies. You can also look at the EHRC campaign Power to the Bump which is specifically aimed at young mums.