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Sure Start Maternity Grant and Tax Credits – if your income has gone down

Many people can’t claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant before their child is born because they are not on any qualifying benefits. However, once they have their child, they become eligible for Child Tax Credit (CTC) and may be able to claim if they have a qualifying CTC award.

How tax credits work

Tax credits are initially based on your income in the previous tax year.

But your income in the tax year you have your baby is likely to be lower than your previous tax year’s income, due to your maternity or adoption leave. So, if your current year income is used in the tax credit calculation, you are more likely to get a qualifying award of CTC.

You can ask the Tax Credit office to revise your Tax Credit award so that it is based on current tax year income, but be careful. If you estimate the current tax year’s income and give a figure that is too low, you may have to pay back an overpayment of tax credits later.

Claiming the Sure Start Maternity Grant

You must still claim the Sure Start Maternity Grant within six months of your child’s birth. You can then reclaim within three months of a tax credit award which gives you Child Tax Credit which includes a child element or a disabled child element and covers the date you made your original Sure Start Maternity Grant claim. You can usually only claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant for your first baby.

If you want to, you can wait until the end of the tax year, when your tax credit award is finalised, to make your second Sure Start Maternity Grant claim, if it is then clear that your award of Child Tax Credit included a child element or a disabled child element for the period you made your first claim. This means you do not have to give an estimate of the current tax year’s income and you avoid the risk of being overpaid. But remember that claiming the grant once your tax credit award is revised or finalised will only work if you make your first claim for the grant within six months of the child’s birth (or adoption). You can find out more about how to make the claim on gov.uk.

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