Help if you have children or are expecting

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There are a number of benefits available for families, and those who are currently pregnant.

Money Advice Line 02920 871 071

Child benefit

Child benefit is a payment that can help towards your costs for children. You can claim Child Benefit for each child you’re responsible for, regardless of whether you’re working or have savings. Payments are tax-free as long as neither parent or carer earns more than £50,000 a year.

Guardian’s Allowance

If you are bringing up someone else’s child, you may be able to claim Guardian’s Allowance, which can be paid as well as child benefit. For details see here

Universal Credit

Universal Credit can include an amount to help with the costs of looking after your child or children.

There are restrictions on how many children can be included in your claim. You may get extra money added to your Universal Credit if your dependent child is disabled.

Tax Credits

In most cases you can no longer make a new claim for tax credits. If you already get tax credits, tell them if you have another baby or a child comes to live with you as you may get more money. If you already get tax credits and start/ stop or change your working hours or pay as this may affect how much credit you receive.

Maternity Grant

You could get a one off payment of £500 to help towards the cost of having a child and you receive certain benefits.

Free School Meals

Free meals are available for children aged 5-16 in state schools.

School Essentials Grant (previously Pupil Development Grant)

The School Essentials Grant will replace the Pupil Development Grant from 1 July 2023 for the 2023 to 2024 academic year. The eligibility criteria will remain the same. Grants of £125 per pupil or £200 per pupil for those starting year 7 will be available.​​​​​​​​​​​​​
A School Essentials Grant is available to assist families on a low income to buy school uniform, sports kit, uniform for enrichment activities, school bags, stationery etc.

Healthy Start Vouchers

Healthy Start is a scheme to help expectant mothers, new parents and their children to eat healthily. If you qualify, you can get free vitamins, and a voucher towards the costs of milk, vegetables and fruit. Apply for healthy start vouchers.

Food and Fun – SHEP

This is a free scheme held in school holidays and includes childcare, activities and meals for children during the holidays in their own school. Please contact your school to see if they run the scheme.

Breakfast clubs

Breakfast clubs offer a free, healthy breakfast in some schools. Please contact your own school to see if they have a free breakfast club.

Child care costs

There are many different ways you can get help with child care costs and you can also access free childcare in some cases.