Help for pregnant teenagers and young parents
Pregnant teenagers and young parents face a challenging task in caring for their baby during pregnancy and after childbirth. Cognizant of this fact, the government and private organisations around the country have created various support services and financial aid programs to help young parents raise their child.
- Sure Start Maternity Grant: Parents may claim a one-time grant of £500 to help offset maternity cost. Only first time parents qualify for this grant. However, exceptions can be made in cases of twins or triplets. There is a second qualifying criterion: parents must also be an existing recipient of one of the following government programs: income support, jobseeker’s allowance, employment allowance, pension credit, tax credit, universal tax credit or working tax credit. Applications must be submitted within 11 weeks before birth or 3 months after birth.
- Income Support: If you are single parent between the ages of 16 and 20, and are currently unemployed, you may qualify for Income Support. The allowance amount varies, but it will not be less than £57.90 per week.
- Budgeting Loan: If you are a recipient of Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment Allowance, you may apply for an interest-free Budgeting Loan from the government to help pay rent or make household purchases like furniture, appliances and clothes.
- Childcare Cost: Parents who work at least 16 hours a week, either single or married, may claim Tax Credits towards childcare cost. The amount will be determined by the government on a case by case basis.
- Scottish Welfare Fund: If you live in Scotland, you may qualify for either Community Care Grants or Crisis Grants, which are extended to people facing extreme financial pressure. The grant covers housing benefits, tax credits and allowance.
Healthy Start: The Healthy Start program provides vouchers which can be redeemed for milk, produce and vitamins. To qualify, you must be under 18-years-old and pregnant.
Housing Benefits: Shelter.org provides rental and other housing benefits to low-income citizens. The amount provided is dependent on the size of family and income level.
Free prescriptions and dental care: All pregnant mothers, extending to one year after child birth, qualify for free prescriptions and dental care. Simply fill the Maternity Exemption application form (FW8) which is available at all clinics and dental offices.
Bursary Fund: If you are between the ages of 16 and 19, and are currently studying in a public school or college, you may qualify for a scholarship worth up to £1,200.
The emotional and financial pressures for young parents can be overwhelming. If you need to talk to someone or get impartial advice, here are some organisations you can call:
Marie Stopes: 0345 300 8090
Straight Talking: 020 8546 4665
Worth Talking About: 0300 123 2930
NHS National Sexual Health Helpline: 0300 123 7123
British Pregnancy Advisory Service: 03457 30 40 30