Client Contacts Advice NI for Benefits Advice

Recently a client contacted Advice NI’s benefits line. The client is single, over 25 and works full time.

She lives in private rented accommodation with rent of £575 per month and is currently pregnant with her first child. The woman is currently claiming no benefits, has no capital/savings and has no health conditions/disabilities. She will be going off on maternity leave in Dec, and will receive full pay for the first 12 weeks then will drop down to statutory maternity pay of £151.97 per week.

The client was worried about covering her rent and expenses while receiving statutory maternity pay and wanted to find out if she was entitled to any benefits.

Advice NI provided a benefit check, which found the client would have entitlement of around £792.29 per month on universal credit while on statutory maternity pay. The Client was also advised she could claim child benefit of £21.15 per week once she had her baby and she would be entitled to the SureStart maternity grant of £500 once her universal credit entitlement began. This gran would help with the cost of baby items as this would be her first child. The adviser also informed the client that she could make an application for discretionary housing payment as she would still have a shortfall of £113 to cover in rent.

After a benefit check performed by Advice NI, this client should be better off by about £833.94 per month with universal credit and child benefit in place, rather than just receiving her statutory maternity pay. The client was also made aware of other financial assistance available through discretionary housing payment and SureStart maternity grant. She may not have been aware of any of these entitlements if she had not contacted Advice NI. The client was very thankful for the advice and a lot less worried about her financial situation.