BENEFITS EXPERT: What happens when maternity leave starts on furlough?

Q. I am currently on furlough wages and I am concerned as my maternity leave will commence whilst still furloughed.
Benefits advice on pregnancy.Benefits advice on pregnancy.
Benefits advice on pregnancy.

When calculating maternity benefits will my normal salary be used or that which I get whilst on furlough?

A. The government have recently announced that when working out entitlement and the amount payable for Statutory Maternity Payment or Maternity Allowance then they will use your normal salary and not you wage rate whilst furloughed. For those people with contractual entitlement to maternity pay (these new rules only apply to payments backed or made by the government/DWP) then we would advise to refer to your employer and/or ACAS for any potential disputes.

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Q. I have had to make a claim for Universal Credit due to the pandemic, I rent out a second property (I own my home that I live in). Is the property I rent taken into account for Universal Credit or just the rental income?

A. Normally if you have a second property (whether occupied or with sitting tenants), the second property is classed as capital and will be taken into account for Universal Credit. The capital value will be it's valuation by an estate agent. Any outstanding mortgage will be allowed so the overall monetary value will be what is left after the sale for you. A further 10% deduction of value of the house is allowed for cost incurred in the sale. However we are hearing from other agencies that the DWP are ignoring second homes BUT there has been no guidance issued by the government as to why this is happening. It may be that during the pandemic the rules regarding second homes MAY be temporarily changing. We would advise clients in this position to declare any such assets and await a decision on their claim. If there is confirmation about this particular position via legislation then we will confirm/clarify any new changes.

It's important to make sure that you get all the help that you're entitled to. Citizen’s Advice website gives you information on benefits and tax credits if you are working or unemployed, sick or disabled, a parent, a young person, an older person or a veteran. There is also information about council tax and housing costs, national insurance, payment of benefits and problems with benefits.

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