Information on financial support available for families
Child benefit is a payment that you can claim for your child. It is tax free if you or your partner individually earn less than £50,000 per year. It's usually paid every four weeks but in some cases can be paid weekly.
The amount you get depends on how many children you have. Anyone who qualifies can claim Child Benefit, whatever their income or savings. Child Benefit is managed and paid by central government.
Universal Credit replaces most means tested benefits including tax credits.
If you have 1 or 2 children, you'll get an additional allowance for each child. If you have 3 or more children, you'll only get an additional allowance for the 3rd or more children if they were born before 6 April 2017. There are exceptions.
You'll get an extra amount for each disabled or severely disabled child no matter how many children you have or when they were born.
Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit
Most people can't make a new claim for Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit and must claim Universal Credit instead.
You can only make a new claim for Tax Credits if you get one component but not the other, and become entitled to that other component. So you can only make a new claim for Working Tax Credit if you already receive Child Tax Credit and vice versa.
If you already receive Tax Credits, you'll still get them but if your circumstances change, you might have to claim Universal Credit instead.
If you and your partner are over State Pension age you will not be able to claim Universal Credit. However, if you are responsible for a child or young person, you may be entitled to an extra amount of Pension Credit.
Help with childcare costs
If you're working and claim Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit, you may qualify for help with childcare costs.
The two main benefits available to expectant mothers working before or during their pregnancy are
Which of these you may be entitled to depends on how long you were working and whether this was for the same or different employers.
Sure Start Maternity Grant
If your an expectant or new parent who gets some means tested benefits, you can claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant of £500.
Healthy Start scheme
If you're more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be eligible to get help to buy healthy food and milk with the NHS Healthy Start scheme.
Adoption pay and leave
If you take time off work to adopt a child, you might be entitled to statutory adoption leave and statutory adoption pay.
Paternity leave and shared parental leave
If you're the partner of someone who has just had a baby or adopted a child, you're entitled to one or two weeks paid paternity leave from work.
Parents can also share time off work and statutory shared parental pay during the first 52 weeks after the birth or adoption of a child.
If you've been getting income based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, income related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit for at least 26 weeks, you can apply for an interest free loan to cover the cost of essential items. This can be up to £812 for items such as furniture, clothing or travel expenses.
Budgeting loans (Universal Credit)
If you've been receiving Universal Credit for the past 6 months and haven't earned more than £2,600 (£3,600 jointly for couples) you can apply for a budgeting advance. This can be up to £812 for items such as furniture, clothing or travel expenses.
The advance payment is a loan and is usually repaid over 12 months from your ongoing payments. You could be refused an advance if you have other sources of funds and are not repaying an existing advance payment.
To apply for a Budgeting Advance contact your Jobcentre Plus work coach.
You may also be entitled to
- Disability Living Allowance for children
- Carers' benefits
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Reduction
- Guardian's allowance on GOV.UK
- Income Support on GOV.UK
- Pension Credit on GOV.UK
- Universal Credit
Use our benefits calculator to find out about all the benefits and tax credits you may be able to claim.