Benefits expert: Changes to Sure Start Maternity Grants explained

The rules have changed over maternity grants.
The rules have changed over maternity grants.

Q. I recently had a baby and made an application for a Sure Start Maternity Grant, but this was refused because I already have another child.

Is this correct, because in the past friends have had payments for subsequent children?

A. Yes, this is now correct, as the conditions for Maternity Grants changed and you cannot receive a payment for more than one child if you have other children aged 16 or under.

The only exceptions to this would be if you have no other children in your household and you give birth to more than one child.

In this situation you would receive payment for each child you give birth to.

Any subsequent children you then have would not result in a further payment if you still have children in your household aged 16 or under.

Q. The news recently reported there have been some court cases concerning Personal Independence Payments and the Government had not applied the law correctly.

Who may be affected by the decision and do I need to do anything?

A. The decisions referred to concern the mobility element of PIP and concerned those people who physically could walk but may require the presence or intervention of another person to enable them to start and complete a journey safely.

There is no definitive list of conditions, the following scenarios are simply given as examples, as so as always if you believe the changes apply to you then seek further advice.

Sufferers of epilepsy will often be accompanied by a person to make sure they are safe if they have a fit.

Prior to the changes such a person would not normally have been awarded points because they could make a journey from Point A to Point B and no regard was given to the risk of harm if such a person suffered a fit.

The court cases concluded this approach was incorrect and regard should be given to the harm and how the presence of another person would reduce such risk.

The DWP will of course take into account in this example the frequency of fits, warnings you may have prior to a fit occurring and previous incidences of falls.

Simply having epilepsy will not entitle you getting an award.

The rational of the court cases will cover a range of conditions such as agoraphobia, PTSD, learning disabilities, autism, anxiety, etc.

The Government has announced plans to carry out reviews of unsuccessful claims that could benefit from the changes but as always seek further advice.