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If you have children, or are expecting a baby, and you are struggling to make ends meet, you may be able to get financial help.

The first place to look if you are struggling to make ends meet is the Gov.uk website. It has a section dedicated to financial help and benefits for families.

You’ll find a number of benefits calculators on the website, which will help you to work out what financial support, if any, you may be able to get or should be receiving.

The site also has a separate benefits calculator to help you work out what childcare support, if any, you are entitled to. The Government may be able to help you with:

  • Free childcare with an approved provider
  • Childcare schemes
  • Childcare vouchers (existing users only)
  • Tax-Free Childcare
  • Tax credits.

Help with school costs

If you’re already on benefits you may be able to get extra support with some school costs – things like school uniform and PE kit, school meals and travel to and from school for your children.

How much help and support you can get will depend on where you live in the country. Check with your Local Authority, you can find out more on the Gov.uk website:

School transport for children with special education needs and disabilities

Your child may be entitled to free transport if they are unable to walk to school because of their special educational needs and disabilities (sometimes referred to as SEND) or mobility problems. Transport provided must be suitable to your child’s needs. Find out more on Gov.uk.

Support for you and your unborn child or toddler

Healthy Start

If you’re expecting a baby or have a child under 4, the Healthy Start scheme can help you buy basic foods like milk and fruit and also access vitamins for you and your children.

If you are eligible you will be sent some vouchers – these are widely accepted in shops across the UK.

Visit the Healthy Start website to apply.

Sure Start Maternity Grant

The Sure Start Maternity Grant is a one-off payment of £500 which you could be eligible for if you are expecting a baby.

You usually qualify for the payment if the following apply to you:

  • You’re expecting your first child (or first twins).
  • You or your partner already claim certain benefits. Check out the full list on Gov.uk.

You will need to claim the grant within 11 weeks of your baby’s due date or within six months of your baby’s birth.

You don’t have to pay back the grant and claiming it will not affect your other benefits.

To claim your grant, fill out the grant claim form which you can download from Gov.uk. You will need to ask your midwife, or another health professional to sign your form. Send your form to Freepost DWP SSMG – you don’t need a stamp or postcode.

You will receive a letter telling you if your claim was successful.

If you get Universal Credit, you won’t receive a decision on your claim until after your next payment.

If you already have children under 16

You may still be able to get a grant if either:

  • You’re expecting a multiple birth (such as twins).
  • The child you’re caring for is someone else’s (but not your partner’s) and the child was over 12 months old when the arrangement started

If you’re not giving birth

If you’re adopting or becoming a surrogate parent you may be able to get the grant. Check out Gov.uk for specific details.