Coronavirus: council service information and advice
Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus
There's a range of funding available to help pay toward the cost of raising a family. Some is available to everyone, regardless of circumstances and how much you earn. Some funding is only available to certain families, and depends on the family situation and income.
Most of the financial entitlements can only be claimed when your child is born, but you may be able to get some financial support before the baby arrives - don't miss out.
Sure Start Maternity Grant
Sure Start Maternity Grant
A Sure Start Maternity Grant (SSMG) is a one-off payment of £500 to help with the costs of having a new-born or adopted baby. You can choose how to spend the grant money. You do not have to pay the grant back and it won’t affect your other benefits or tax credits.
You will only get a maternity grant if the new baby is the only child under 16 in the household. There are special rules for multiple births.
Read more about whether you're eligible for this grant and apply
Healthy Start vouchers
With Healthy Start, you get free vouchers every week to spend on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins.
You qualify for Healthy Start vouchers if you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four years old and you or your family are in receipt of certain benefits.
You’ll also be eligible for the Healthy Start scheme if you’re pregnant and under 18, even if you don’t receive any benefits.
Read about eligibility and how to apply for Healthy Start Vouchers
Maternity and paternity benefits and leave
The link below lists the benefits you're entitled to when you're pregnant, and has information on maternity, paternity and shared parental leave. It also lists other benefits you might be able to receive, depending on your circumstances.
Read about maternity and paternity benefits and leave
You get Child Benefit if you’re responsible for one or more children under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training). There’s no limit to how many children you can claim for.
There are 2 child benefit rates. The weekly rate for the eldest or only child is £20.70 and additional children are £13.70 per child.
Find out if you're eligible and read how to apply for Child Benefit
Child maintenance is financial support towards your child’s everyday living costs when you’ve separated from the other parent.
You and your ex-partner can arrange child maintenance yourself if you can agree. This is called a ‘family-based arrangement’.
A family-based arrangement is a private way to sort out child maintenance. Parents arrange everything themselves and no-one else has to be involved.
If you cannot come to an agreement, read Gov.uk advice on how you can arrange child support
Child Tax Credit
Child Tax Credit has been replaced by Universal Credit for most people.
You can only make a new claim for Child Tax Credit if you get the severe disability premium or got it in the past month and are still eligible for it.
If your child is 16, you can claim up until 31 August after their 16th birthday.
If you cannot make a new claim for Child Tax Credit, you may be able to apply for Universal Credit.
Apply for Child Tax Credit or read further information
Working Tax Credit
Whether you can get Working Tax Credit depends on the hours of paid work you do each week and your income and circumstances. Working Tax Credit has been replaced by Universal Credit for most people.
You can only make a new claim for Working Tax Credit if you get the severe disability premium or got it in the past month and are still eligible for it.
If you cannot make a new claim for Working Tax Credit, you may be able to apply for Universal Credit.
Apply for Working Tax Credit or read further information
Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit from the Department of Work and Pensions for working age people. It can help you to pay living, housing and childcare costs, if you are in work or out of work. It will eventually replace Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (income-related), Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) (income-based), Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Housing Benefit.
Read about Universal Credit and how you can apply
Money, debt and financial advice
Do you have money worries but aren't sure where to go for advice and support? Visit our Money Advice page to find out what free help is available face-to-face, online and by phone.
If you or someone you know is finding it hard to afford the cost of food this Christmas, or need a hot meal and good company on Christmas Day read about the help available in Christmas Meals and Help with Food
Housing benefit and council tax support
Housing Benefit is to help people on a low income who pay rent for where they live. It is a means-tested benefit and almost everyone with a low income who pays rent can claim. You don't have to receive income support or job seekers allowance to claim.
You can apply whether you’re unemployed or working, and whether you rent from the council, a housing association or a private landlord.
Council Tax Support is a scheme to help some people pay their Council Tax. The amount of support you can get will depend on your income and your personal circumstances and is only available to people resident in the UK.
Read information and learn how to apply for housing benefit and council tax support