Financial support for families
It's a good idea to check whether you're eligible for certain benefits and grants to help with the costs of running a family home.
Turn2us and entitled to provide free online benefit calculators where you can find out which benefits you can get and how to claim them. The types of benefits and grants available to eligible families are outlined below.
Universal Credit replaces a range of benefits for people of working age who are on a low income. It's gradually being introduced in stages and will eventually replace Income Support, Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit. If you're on any of these benefits the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will tell you when Universal Credit will affect you.
Child Benefit is something you could qualify for if you're responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training).
Child Maintenance is financial support towards your child's everyday living costs if you've separated from the other parent.
Council Tax Support is a discount on your Council Tax bill if you're eligible.
Sure Start Maternity Grant is a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child. To receive the grant you must be in receipt of certain benefits.
Healthy Start vouchers can be spent on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins. If you're pregnant or have a child under 4 years old and are on a low income, you could qualify for Healthy Start.
Free childcare (up to 15 hours per week) is available to all 3 and 4 year-olds and some 2 year-olds.
Free school meals are available if your child is in year 2 or below. If your child is in year 3 or above and under 19 and in full-time education, you may be able to get free school meals if you're on certain benefits.
Free school transport is available to eligible families.
Childcare Grant is help with your learning costs if you are a full-time higher education student, have children under 15, or under 17 if they have special educational needs.
Parent's Learning Allowance is help with your learning costs if you're a full-time student with children. How much you get depends on your household income.