The good news is that there is a lot of help out there for families. The bad news is that it can be difficult to track down, and even more difficult to apply for
So to make sure you’re getting all the benefits and support you should be, let’s take a quick look at each of the main benefits a family can claim, and check you’re getting them. Follow the links to find out more.
You are entitled to claim child benefit for every child you have aged 0-16. It is currently set at £20.70 per week for your first child and £13.70 per week for every other child. Child benefit is claimed by filling in an online form when the child is born, or when it comes to live with you. Everybody gets child benefit.
CHILD TAX CREDIT
This has been replaced with Universal Credit, which means you will need to apply for the child element of UC rather than the standalone Child Tax Credit. You may be able to claim back up to £646.35 for one child, or £1,108.04 for two or more children. Get started here
Payments are dependent on your work status, you’ll need to have a job or an offer to be able to claim.
Use the online Tax Credits Calculator to work out if you are eligible then follow the link to the form. Current Child tax credit claims will need to move to Universal Credit by 2023.
FREE SCHOOL DINNERS
Free school dinners are great news for you, and also for your school. The government works out how much extra funding a school might need by the number of free school dinners being claimed, so the school gets extra money if you successfully apply for free school meals for your child. You should be able to get free school meals if you are claiming any one of most other benefits – ask your school who will help you.
There are other pots of money available to help you, depending on circumstance. All are worth looking at to see if you qualify. If you are a guardian, for example, you get an extra allowance. If you need help with paying for childcare you can claim some money. Use the Turn2Us Benefit checker
Universal Credit is slowly being introduced across the country, though not many families have yet been ‘migrated’ (moved across) to it. If you have been, we recommend you speak to someone independent, a person from your Housing Association perhaps, or Citizens Advice, to make sure you are still getting all the help you can as at the moment UC is pretty confusing – even for the professionals! We’ve spoken to people on the new system, read what they told us here.
This page was last updated on 30/4/2019