If you are expecting or have recently had a baby, there are a number of benefits that you are entitled to, which include:
Maternity/ Adoption Benefit
Maternity Leave Benefit
Inform ARMS Ltd. about the increase in the number of people residing in your house. This is not exactly a benefit but it will help in reducing your utility bills.
The Maternity/ Adoption Benefit
This benefit applies to all mothers including those who have never worked, those who are planning to stop working, those who are employed and those who work on a freelance basis (self-occupied/ self-employed).
Those who are planning to return to work following their maternity leave will be given their normal wage by their employers for 14 weeks. They are then entitled to an extra four weeks of maternity, paid by the government. (Check out the Maternity Leave Benefit.)
By law, to be eligible for the Maternity Benefit, mothers are obliged to inform their employers about their pregnancy at least four weeks before they stop working and they also must work for 6 months with the same employer on a full-time basis following the maternity leave period. If they return to work on reduced hours or part-time, unless agreed otherwise, they would need to compensate in terms of hours worked or wage received.
Self-employed mothers are entitled to a benefit of €169.76 per week for the duration of 14 weeks. The total amount is €2,376.64 and is given out in two separate payments. These mothers have to hand in a copy of the SS contributions paid during that same year.
Mothers who are unemployed or those that stop working are entitled to €90.27 per week for the duration of 14 weeks, i.e a total sum of €1,263.78.
The application form can be submitted from the eighth month of pregnancy if signed by a doctor or up to six months after the birth of the child.
The Maternity/ Adoption Leave Benefit
This benefit is given to those mothers who will return to work and to those who are self-employed. In both cases, this benefit is given out by the state in one single payment of €672.04.
This application form has to be submitted once all the maternity has been used up, i.e from 1 day to 6 months after the 18th week of maternity.
When it comes to ‘Children’s Allowance’, there are two different application forms: Those parents whose annual income exceeds €24,833, are entitled to a fixed rate of €450 per year in four separate payments of €112.50: March, June, September and December. Whilst those parents whose annual income is less than €24,833 are required to submit the other application form and the allowance is calculated according to the parents’ income. The maximum amount of children’s allowance is €288.99 every three months with a total amount of €1,155.96 per year.
If this is not the first child you are applying for, you must fill in this application form.
Parents with children born with a disability, certified by a doctor, will be given a further €20 per week, no matter what the parents’ income is.
The application forms must be submitted within six months from the birth of the child to receive the full benefit.
The following parents are eligible to receive this benefit:
- Single parents or married couples, of whom only one parent is in employment, who earn more than €6,600 and less than €16,500 per year. Single parents are eligible to a maximum of €1,250 yearly per child. Married couples are eligible to a maximum of €350.
- In the case of married couples, with both parents in employment whose income is more than €10,000 and less than €24,000, they are eligible to a maximum of €1,200 yearly per child.
Payments are issued quarterly: January, April, July and October and are distributed until the child is under 23 years of age.
Those mothers who have a medical condition and cannot breastfeed their child or their milk supply is not enough to feed the baby, can apply for the Milk Grant. Usually such grant is given out to mothers who are already on other social benefits, however everyone can apply for it and each case is assessed individually.
All applicants are responsible to notify the Department of Social Security within six months about change in circumstance. This includes unemployment; if the parents separate/ widow/ marry or start living with a new partner; gain or lose legal custody of the child or make use of unpaid leave. The application form can be downloaded here.
All applications forms can be collected from the social security offices. You can also view information on all the 2017 benefit rates from here. You can calculate your potential benefit from here. For more information call 153 or send an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was written by guest contributor Franica Pulis who works as a freelance writer, proofreader and translator. Her life revolves around her two young sons and her husband. Franica spent 5 years working as a journalist with newspapers Illum and MaltaToday and has been involved in theatre for the past 20 years.