If your baby is stillborn

After a stillbirth, you might find yourself facing financial strain on top of your grief. It’s important to know what you’re entitled to and who to talk to. This also applies if you’ve had a termination for fetal anomaly after 24 completed weeks.

Are you entitled to benefits and entitlements if your baby is stillborn?

If your baby was stillborn after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy, you might be entitled to financial support.

You’ll need to notify certain people.

The best way to do this is usually to phone, or, where possible, email.

If you don’t feel able to phone, you might be able to get a relative or close friend to make some of the calls for you.

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Maternity pay and leave

You’re entitled to a total of 52 weeks’ leave.

You can’t get this if you have a child through surrogacy, but you might be able to take unpaid parental leave.

You might qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay while you’re off work for a maximum of 39 weeks – providing you’ve been working for long enough.

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You must make your claim within 28 days of your baby’s death.

Talk to your employer about what they can offer you or check your employment contract.

Most employers offer compassionate leave to bereaved mothers and fathers as part of their basic contract of employment or employee benefits.

If you aren’t on maternity or paternity leave and are unable to return to work for medical reasons, Statutory Sick Pay is paid for up to 28 weeks. This could be more if your contract of employment allows it.

You may need a Fit Note previously called a Sick Note from your GP.

If you don’t qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay

If you’re self-employed or haven’t been with your employer for long enough to qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay, you might qualify for Maternity Allowance.

This is paid by the government rather than your employer.

If you can’t get Maternity Allowance, you might be able to get Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

To claim Maternity Allowance, Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance, contact your Jobcentre Plus.

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Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay and Leave.

If you’re employed in England, Scotland or Wales you have 56 weeks to take Parental Bereavement Leave or claim Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay through your employer. This starts from the date of the child’s death.

You can take two weeks leave in one block or as two separate blocks of one week.

The 56 weeks are split into 2 periods:

  • from the date of the child’s death or stillbirth to eight weeks after
  • nine to 56 weeks after the date of the child’s death or stillbirth.

You must give your employer notice before you take Parental Bereavement Leave.

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Other benefits and entitlements

You’re entitled to free prescriptions for at least 12 months In England.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, prescriptions are free for everyone.

You’re also entitled to free NHS dental treatment until the certificate expires.

Ask your doctor or midwife for form FW8, which you fill in and they sign and send off for you.

You’ll get your exemption certificate in the post.

They can also help you with the Healthy Start programme if you’ve been claiming vouchers. You won’t get any more vouchers but you can use any you’ve already received.

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Registering your baby

Your baby’s birth must be registered within 42 days in England and Wales, or within 21 days in Scotland. In Northern Ireland, a stillbirth must be registered within one year.

In most places, you’ll need to go to your local register office, but you might be able to do this at the hospital.

The hospital staff will tell you what you need to do and where to go.

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Making funeral arrangements

A baby who’s stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy must by law be formally buried or cremated, although a funeral isn’t legally required.

If you live in England, Wales or Scotland, your local council won’t charge you fees for a standard burial or cremation of a child.

Other fees, such a funeral director, flowers and memorial, will still need to be paid.

In England, there is also a £300 contribution towards the price of a coffin, casket or shroud. This can be reclaimed by the funeral director – or, if you’re not using one, by yourself.

In Wales, there’s also a £500 contribution towards the funeral and other related costs such as floral tributes, plaques.

If you’re not using a funeral director, you can claim for some funeral expenses. Find out more on the GOV.UK website

The coronavirus outbreak has imposed serious restrictions on funerals, which makes organising a meaningful ceremony seem difficult. Find out more about what you can do on the Quaker Social Action website

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Free printed guides

Our free printed guides give you clear, unbiased information. They ‘re a good starting point and can help you make informed choices.

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MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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