Types of help you can get include benefits and grants. These are:
- Child Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Sure Start Maternity Grant
- Healthy Start food vouchers
- Disability Living Allowance for children
You can get Child Benefit for any of your children who are under 16 and live in the UK. If they stay in most types of school, college or training after that age you can get Child Benefit until they're 20.
Only one person can claim Child Benefit for a child.
If you get Child Benefit, you will get £20.70 per week for your eldest child. You will get £13.70 per week for every other child.
You should claim Child Benefit as soon as your child is born or, if they're adopted, as soon as they come to live with you. Child Benefit can only be backdated for up to 3 months so if you claim it any time after this you'll miss some payments.
Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit
Child Tax Credit is another payment made by the government to help with the cost of bringing up a child.
While every child in the UK is eligible for Child Benefit, not every household is eligible for Child Tax Credit: it depends on your circumstances including:
- your income
- how many children are living with you
- whether your child has a disability
The government is currently introducing Universal Credit, a new type of benefit which will eventually replace tax credits including Child Tax Credit.
Visit GOV.UK for more information on Child Tax Credit, and whether Universal Credit has replaced it in your area yet.
Sure Start Maternity Grant
If you're about to have your first baby, or had them within the last 3 months, you can apply for a Sure Start Maternity Grant.
This is a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the cost of having a child.
Healthy Start food vouchers
Healthy Start is a scheme that helps you buy basic foods like milk, fruit and infant formula.
If you qualify you'll get a voucher worth £3.10 each week, or two vouchers if you have a child under 1.
To qualify for the Healthy Start scheme, you must either be at least 10 weeks pregnant, or have at least one child under 4 years old.
You must also be getting at least one of the following:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credit (but only if your family income is £16.190 or less a year)
- Universal Credit (but only if your family take home pay is £408 or less a month)
If you're under 18 and pregnant, you'll qualify even if you don't get any of the above benefits.
Visit the Healthy Start website for more information on how to apply and where you can use the vouchers.
Disability Living Allowance for children
You may be able to apply for Disability Living Allowance if you have a child who:
- is under 16
- has difficulties walking or needs much more looking after than a child without a disability
The amount of Disability Living Allowance you can get depends on the level of help your child needs.
Visit GOV.UK for more information on eligibility for Disability Living Allowance and how to apply for it.