The baby cheque has gone but Spain's maternity benefit remains
One of the best things about the arrival of my third child was that he came with a 2.500â‚¬ "dowry" - a Spanish benefit that used to be paid to parents of new arrivals presumably as a way of keeping the birth rate up. Â Unfortunately the crisis put paid to this great benefit and it has been abolished for babies born after 31.12.2010. Â However there is still maternity benefit which is explained here.
Deduccion por maternidad
Spanish maternity benefit of up to 100â‚¬ per month per child is available to working mothers of children under three. Â The benefit can be claimed in advance in the form of a 100â‚¬ bank transfer every month by presenting a claim form: Modelo 140 Claim for maternity benefit
Alternatively the claim can be made retrospectively on your tax return. Â The full details are in this (Spanish) leaflet here but I have extracted the main details below:
Deduccion por maternidad leaflet
The benefit is worth a maximum of 1200â‚¬ per child per year. Â If the child is born during the year or turns three then the benefit is scaled back by 100â‚¬ per month the child was not born or was three.
Only working mothers can claim although there are extensions of the benefit to cover widowers, guardians and foster parents. Â The mother must be in employment or self -employed and paying into the social security system.
The amount of the claim is limited by the amount of the social security contributions made by the mother during the years in question.
In the unlikely event the child has its own income and this exceeds 8000â‚¬ the benefit ceases to be payable.
The benefit can be claimed even by higher rate tax payers and by people who have paid no tax - like a tax credit.
All this seems very positive but there is one danger. Â If you claim in advance using modelo 140, you will get the benefit paid by bank transfer every month but, at the end of the year if you are found to have claimed too much (e.g. because your child turned 3 or because you had paid insufficient social security contributions) you have to repay the money which can be a big shock.
Other tax articles: Â Spanish tax rates 2011 Tax treament of Spanish pensions or browse all our articles on the Advice page