Benefits and Tax Credits

The Government offers a range of benefits to help parents with the cost of bringing up children. Most of these are available to everyone, not just low-income households.

There is no catch to claiming these benefits, so you should look to take advantage of as many of these as possible.

The range of help on offer includes:

Health in Pregnancy Grant

If you have been pregnant for more than 25 weeks, you are entitled to a 'Health in Pregnancy' grant of 190. This is to help you prepare for the birth of your baby.

More information on Health in Pregnancy grants at Direct.gov.

Child Benefit

Every parent is entitled to Child Benefit, regardless of income or savings. You'll receive 20 each week for your first (or only) child, and 13.20 more each week for any additional children.

More information on Child Benefit at Direct.gov.

Child Tax Credit

This is additional support for parents who are bringing up children, regardless of whether or not you are working. HM Revenue and Customs claims that 9 out of 10 families with children are entitled to tax credits.

To find out whether you're entitled, visit their website (address below) or call the Tax Credits Helpdesk on 0845 300 3900. You can also ask at any Jobcentre Plus or HMRC Enquiry Centre.

More information on Child Tax Credits at the Inland Revenue website.

Childcare Vouchers

Some employers offer tax-free and NI-free childcare vouchers to employees. However, some of these schemes involve sacrificing your access to Child Tax Credit and other Tax Credit contributions, so make sure you carefully check the terms and consider the financial impact on your family before making a decision.

More information on childcare vouchers at the HM Revenue & Customs website.

Sure Start Maternity Grant

This is a one-off grant for mothers on a low income. Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a one-off payment of 500 for each child you have.

More information on the Sure Start Maternity Grant at Direct.gov.

Community Care Grant

This is a grant available to parents who are receiving certain benefits and are facing exceptional pressure (e.g. long-term illness) while bringing up their children.

More information on the Community Care Grant at Direct.gov.

Healthy Start scheme

If you're on a low income and you are pregnant or have children under four years old, you may be entitled to free milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, infant formula and vitamins from the Government.

More information on the Healthy Start scheme at Direct.gov.

Go to Part 2 - Managing your finances

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