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Sure Start Maternity Grant - for first child:


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I recently applied for a Sure Start Maternnity Grant and received a decision from the DWP today, declining my eligibility; under the basis that there is another child (under 16) in my family/ household.

 

My situation is this, 

I am co-habitating with my partner/ father of my new/ first baby. 

Within the last 10 months, my partner's daughter from previous relationship (age 13) had to be removed from her mothers care, owing to domestic violence issues.  The family Courts are still dealing with the situation as her mother is contesting her daughter residing with us, as she wants her to return to her home/ care - so obviously there is Social Services involved etc.

 

prior to this situation arising, my partners daughter, had always resided with her mother and my partner, had regular access etc.

I have cited the Sure Start Maternity Grant Act/ Policy and the more recently published 'Restricting payment of the SSMG to first child only

 

' -  I have to say, both have left me further confused as if you read the 'restricting payment policy/ in one paragraph, it states that in a situation where a woman has her first child and another child under 16, residing in same household/ family and is from the partners 'previous relationship' this would be considered a 'first child' and will be eligible for payment of grant.

If however, the reverse applies (ie: it is the 'father/ partner' first child, then payment would not be made.

 

This seems pretty straightforward, but then the policy starts to contradict itself and goes on to define, the only exception for payment to more than one child, is in the case of the child living in same household, is not from partner. 

Or if you are adopting a child under 1 year old/ special guardianship etc, then you are eligible.

It does not offer the scenario of any child in household under 16, from partner previous relationship being acceptable?

 

Can anybody please clarify this point please??? 

 

I want to challenge the decision/ request a Mandatory Reconsideration

- but wanted to include my reasoning/ the point of law they have not applied correctly?

 

Any help advice / greatly appreciated.

 

thank you 

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Without reading into the issues you discuss in your post, not sure of the legal position here.

 

But what you can do, is ask the DWP for a written statement of reason confirming the legislation they have applied to decline your benefit claim and also how they have applied this legislation in your case. 

 

When you contact them asking for the written statement of reason, ask them to note that you will be submitting a mandatory reconsideration and will be providing further information, once you have the written statement of reason from them.

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This is taken from the Sure Start Maternity Grant application form.  I have made bold/underlined, what they have applied.   They have not applied any exception which you think should be applied in your case.

 

You may be able to get a Sure Start Maternity Grant if you live in England or Wales and

 

: • your new baby is the only child under 16 years of age in your family, or

• you already have a child or children under 16 years of age in your family and you are having a multiple birth, for example twins or triplets, or

• you already have a child under 16 years of age living with you who is not your own, such as a younger brother or sister, that you are looking after because he or she is not able to be looked after by his or her own parents and they were over 12 months old when this arrangement started.

 

Stepchildren or partner’s children under 16 years of age are counted as children living with you so if you have stepchildren or partner’s children under 16 years of age living with you, you may not be able to get a Sure Start Maternity Grant, and you or your partner are getting one of the following benefits: • Universal Credit • Child Tax Credit • Working Tax Credit which includes a disability or severe disability element • Income Support • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance • Pension Credit 

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Reply from Frances sent but not to the thread.

 

Many thanks for your replies.  I have followed your advic in post 1 and written to DWP for statement of reasons etc.

However, your 2nd reply, which quotes parts of the legislation/ policy for the grant, seems very clear with regards to the 'exceptions' for having another child in family (under 16) in stating you must not be the parent of or other exceptions in terms of multiple births etc?

 

However, a  further publication 'Restricting payment of the Sure Start Maternity Grant to the first child' [Equality Impact Assessment - January 2011 (DWP)' gives very clear & specific guidance in its definition of a 'first time mother' being awarded the grant.  Even if their are other children in the family from her partners previous relationship.  It seems to suggest that provided children under 16 living with them, are from the 'fathers previous relationship, if the woman is then pregnant with her 'first child' a payment would be due?

It also states, that if the circumstances reversed, and it was the fathers first child, a payment would not be due.

 

All a bit misleading, as in the one hand there are very clear and specific circumstances related to other children of the family etc which seem to contradict the situation above?

 

confusing really?  But thanks for the advice.  Very helpful.

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Sure start maternity legislation was subject to changes in 2012.

 

Are you sure the 2011 guidance still applies ?

 

Sometimes guidance is changed for a period, but Government then issues legislation to ensure that the benefit restriction they originally intended applies.

We could do with some help from you.

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