If you have a late miscarriage

Many bereaved families find themselves facing financial strain on top of their grief after a late miscarriage, so it’s important to know what you’re entitled to and who to talk to.

Benefits and entitlements

Unfortunately, if your baby dies before 24 completed weeks of pregnancy (known as a late miscarriage), you’re not entitled to maternity benefits.

This includes Statutory Maternity Pay, Sure Start Maternity Grant and additional Healthy Start vouchers.

If you’re an employee, you’re entitled to Statutory Sick Pay and you should be able to get compassionate leave.

Do you need to do anything?

Even though you won’t get benefits, it’s still important that you tell a few key people what’s happened so they can sort out the paperwork.

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

If you can’t do this yourself, you might be able to get a relative or close friend to make some of the calls for you.

Speak to your employer

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

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

Your employer will also take care of cancelling any maternity or paternity pay that you might have arranged.

Speak to your doctor or midwife

Your Maternity Exemption Certificate can be used until the expiry date for prescriptions in England (In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland prescriptions are free for everyone).

Entitlements to free dental check-ups and treatment vary by country.

You can use any Healthy Start vouchers you already have.

Contact Jobcentre Plus or the Jobs and Benefits Office

If they’ve been organising a Sure Start Maternity Grant and/or Maternity Allowance for you, you need to tell them that you’re no longer pregnant.

Can you get sick pay?

If you have a late miscarriage you’re entitled to the same benefits as any other employee who is off sick.

You will at least get Statutory Sick Pay – this is paid for up to 28 weeks, or more if your contract of employment allows it.

You should take sick leave for as long as your GP signs you off sick – and not feel pressured to return to work until you feel ready.

You might be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance if:

  • Your Statutory Sick Pay runs out
  • You don’t earn enough to claim Statutory Sick Pay, or
  • You can’t claim Statutory Sick Pay because you haven’t worked for your employer for long enough

Can you get compassionate leave?

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

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

A certificate for your baby

When a baby is born dead within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, they are not formally certified or registered.

However, many hospitals offer parents a Certificate of Birth.

This usually gives your baby’s name, the date of your loss and some other details.

If your hospital doesn’t provide certificates, you can download one from Sands (the stillbirth and neonatal death charity) and ask the hospital to sign it.

Making funeral arrangements

If your baby died before 24 weeks, there is no legal requirement to have a formal funeral. If it is after 24 weeks, there must be a formal burial or cremation, but a funeral is not legally required.

If you live in England, Wales or Scotland, your local authority will not 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.

If you’re not using a funeral director, you can claim for some funeral expenses on Gov.uk.

If you’re on a very low income and getting certain benefits, the Social Fund may be able to help with other funeral expenses.

Find out more about:

Help and support

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by some of the things you need to do and the decisions you need to make.

While family and friends can be a great comfort, it’s also sometimes good to get some clear, impartial advice.

These organisations offer practical and emotional support:

Free printed guides

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

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