Financial help for families on a low income

Raising a family is expensive at the best of times, and if you’re on a low income it can be a real struggle.

There is a range of financial support available for families which need it the most – find out if you’re eligible here.

Sure Start Maternity Grants (the Social Fund)

A Sure Start Maternity Grant is a payment of £500 which does not have to be paid back.

To qualify you or your partner must be receiving income based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit, Child Tax Credit at a rate higher than the family element, or Working Tax Credit where a disabled worker is included in the assessment.

You should claim:

  • Anytime from 11 weeks before the week the baby is due until three months after the baby is born
  • If you are adopting - you should claim within three months of adopting and your baby must be under 12 months at the date of your claim
  • If your baby is born by surrogacy - you should claim within three months of the order being made and you and your partner must have a parental order

Ask at your local Jobcentre Plus office, Social Security office or at the Pension Service for the SF100 Sure Start form to claim.

Funeral Payment (the Social Fund)

A Funeral Payment can help with the essential costs of a funeral, which you or your partner are responsible for arranging.

To qualify you or your partner must be receiving income based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit, Child Tax Credit at a rate higher than the family element, or Working Tax Credit where a disabled worker is included in the assessment. 

The payment is recoverable from any money available from the deceased person’s estate. 

Ask at your local Jobcentre Plus for a claim form and more information.

Community Care Grants (the Social Fund)

A Community Care Grant (from £30 up to £1,000) does not have to be paid back.

To be eligible you must be getting Income Support or income based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit, or payment on account of one of these, or are likely to get one of these benefits or entitlements when you move out of residential or institutional accommodation.

Grants may be awarded to help people:

  • Who are leaving accommodation in which they receive care
  • Continue to live in the community
  • On a resettlement programme to set up home

Grants can also be awarded to help ease exceptional pressures on families, to care for a prisoner or young offender released on temporary license, or to help with certain travel costs.

Ask at your local Jobcentre Plus for a claim form and more information.

Budgeting Loans (the Social Fund)

Budgeting loans are interest-free (from £30 up to £1,000 in total) for the cost of things other than regular expenses (eg furniture, household equipment, clothing, footwear, things to help you look for or start work).

To be eligible you or your partner must have been getting Income Support or income based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit, or payment on account of one of these, for at least 26 weeks.

Ask at your local Jobcentre Plus for a claim form and more information.

Crisis Loans (the Social Fund)

Crisis Loans are interest-free and can help if there is a serious risk to the health and safety of you or your family following an emergency or disaster. You do not need to be getting any benefits but you must be over the age of 16. Whether you can get a Crisis Loan will depend on your particular circumstances.

Ask at your local Jobcentre Plus for a claim form and more information.

Working Tax Credit

To claim Working Tax Credit, you have to be aged 16 or over, work for 16 hours or more a week and either:

  • Be responsible for a child or a qualifying young person
  • Have a disability that puts you at a disadvantage in getting a job
  • Be aged 50 or over and be returning to work after a period on benefit

If none of these apply you must be aged 25 or over and usually be working at least 30 hours a week.

As part of Working Tax Credit you may qualify for help towards the costs of childcare (known as the childcare element) — this is worth up to 80 per cent of your childcare costs up to a maximum of £175 for one child and £300 for two or more children each week.

For more information on financial help for parents and children, visit www.direct.gov.uk.


I work full time at the moment I am 31 weeks pregnant & my partner just lost his job we have a mortgage which my wag just covers we arnt entitled to working tax credits at the moment unsure if will be once baby's here dose any one know if we will get the 500 grant thanks
My husband is off sick at the moment and our lo is 15 weeks. Money really tight as we have a mortgage on top of everything else. Any advice anyone?
if anyone has any advise me and my partner are strugglyin we have one child aged 18 months and im due again in october.we have a mortgage but in 6 months arrears and the mortgage company is starting the process for repossesion. i was made reduntant in september 2011 and my partner lost his job last august 2011 but did get another job but at alot lower wage but cause of the stress and other health problems hes been of sick since november 2011. the only help with the mortgage we would be entitled to is smi but we wont get that till the 19th june!which is to late, we have been asking for help for the last 3 years (as our income has been dropping due to less overtime and pay cuts) we have both worked full time from the day we both left school (21 years in total between us) just woundered if im missing anything??from 1st june we are only entitled to jsa (con and income based) ctc and cb
i am really struggling at the min and dont know what to do. my husdand works selfemployed and has an income of around 150 a week we get wt cb and ctc. we have 2 childern 7 and 5 and exspecting another in july. we are in £25000 in dept and just cant make ends meet. its like we have 10 pound and outgoing 40 pound. Please please can you suggest anything to help me and my growing family to get out of this financial mess. its causing me so much stress and depretion i just dont know what to do.
i am due in sept and my job is not contracted and when i leave for maternity leave there may not be a job for me anymore and if there is i only work 4 hours most weeks anyway. my partner earns £14000 pm, apparently we are only entitled to cb and ctc, after working out all our in comings and outgoings and we are left with less then £100. we are in rented accommodation. does anyone know if we may be entitled to more?
My husband works full time and i saty at home with our 2 children who are 1 and 9 and childcare was crippling us and grandparents are diabled or still working. We get WTC & CTC plus CB and have just applied for HB although my husbands income is around £15,000 so honestly dont think well get anything, we have around £14,000 worth of debt so are really struggling. I worked from the age of 17 to when I left to have my daughter at 25 and just feel like we havnt been given any chance of some financial help, its a short term thing until my daughter starts school then ill find a part-time job but upsets me that people choose not to work and get so much more when my husband works 10-12 hour days 5 days a week and some weekends just to support us and is missing seeing his kids grow up
me and my partner have 2 children an we both work full time and still cant afford to treat our selves or work less hours, we get a tiny bit of help of the goverment but i sat down with my sister who is on the social and she and her partner get more money then us and not to mention we have to pay for everything ie rent and council tax ect and they dont so really they get double what we are getting and still moan that they dont get enough , i think the goverment should reconsider how they pay benifits and help the likes of us who have to chose between seeing our children and working to make a life for them .
Can anyone help me as everytime i contact the jobcentre i get told something different!! I am currently claiming maternity allowance and not on any other benefit, and i am going to be a single parent will i get the £500 sure grant? Ive been told to send it off now then i get told i wont get it because im getting maternity allowance from the goverment! others have said wait till i put in for child tax credit coz then ill be on a benefit but i dont no anything about these to know if i will get a higher rate of child text credit!? any advice would be great! Thanks guys
oh and baberainbow, returning straight after having baby in september will be very hard, if it a full time course, i took a year out and it was the best thing i did, if your partner would have graduate, he may have a job and you could get supported that way, tax credits and such to bump up earnings!
hi baberainbow myself and my partner have just graduated, i turned after the birth of my son, 4years ago now (i cant believe it!!) whilts at uni we recieved childcare grant (helped cover 80% nursery fees), parents learning allowance and highest available of maintanance loans and grants and benefit wise got help with housing benefit and rent and child benefit. it was extreemly difficult, especially the long summer breaks however we did it and i did hate needing benefits to help but otherwise id of been going nowhere in life stuck on a checkout or on jobseekers, so beter to struggle for a little wile, its all worth it in the end!
I am pregnant and due in june... currently in full time university education and planning on finishing my degree starting again after i have given birth in september. My partner is currently in his last year of his degree and working part time. However it seems that we are not entitled to anything, there is no information for students about benefits etc anywhere that i can find, and we are both worried that our income will be too low to provide for our little one.
it seems that the people who do nothing get everything handed to them on a plate. i'm currently working part time, but going into full time education in september, my partner is in his last year at uni! we are living with 3 other adults (his nan, uncle and aunty...) in a very cramped house!we do not want everything handed to us on a plate, but we did expect a little help with finding our own house!! when we both finish uni we'll be in over £100,000 worth of debt just to have good careers. i think that this government needs to seriously reconsider who they give benefits too!!
I am currently a full time university student supported by my other half and will be taking a year out to have baby but I am so worried that we only just have enough money to cover our bills n shopping and I can't seem to find that I am entitled to anything?
iam in the same position as alot of people that wrote in there comment. I work part time no help wen baby arrives other than the normal cb ctc wtc all that am doin to help is after me scan and i no all is well am goin to a baby store and order me needsmust pram and cot bed and m. basket and pay off over the next 6 months there r some realy gud stores out there and gud sales at moment try amazon jan sales .
I am self employed, i own and run a burger van ut due to loans taken out to buy it and my husband being unemployed at the moment i take home about 30 per week!!! Does anyone know if we are entitled to any help? My husband can not sign on aqs we are married and i am classed as working ( i work usually 12 hours a day 7 days a week at the moment) so i go over the allowed working hours for entitlement!!! Please help, i want this baby more that anything but not sure we can afford to do this!
me and my partner are on a low income getting ctc wtc and cb, im 5 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child and tbh im a lil worried cos we arent entitled to any help at all. this new government is getting ridiculous!!
I work for an agency going into care homes for the elderly and because im pregnant im no longer allowed to do alot of the manual handling that goes with the job. I used to work 4 or 5 days a week but now they can only give me 1 or 2 days a week. My husband works 30- 40 hrs a week but we're really struggling to pay bills etc. HELP any ideas??
What if, I am working 18hours a week and my husband is working 18hours; I am receiving child tax and he is receiving working tax. Are we still qualify for Sure Start Maternity Grants?
im 20 and prgnant with my first baby i work 35 hours a week n my partner is self employed he work 6 days a week from about 8/9 - 6 we struggel to pay the rent on time because of how he gets payed sometimes he goes 2-3 weeks with no work n we are not entited to any benifits untill the baby is born and then i will onyl get working tax credits i dont no how we are going to afford everything the baby needs on my wages
i'm 20 and pregnant. i don't work, my parnter works 8-6 and gets less then 14k a year and we have 1 child under4. we get housing ben, child ben and working/child tax credits but because we get these benifits arnt intitled to healthy start or sure start benefits/ grants. we just about manage to make a living and don't know how we are going to cope buying everything the new baby will need
im pregnant and i have no money and my family are not supprting me at all
anyone who wants to know what they are entitled to there is a website www.entitledto.com which is brilliant works out a 'rough' amount that you are entitled to ie tax credits, housing benefit etc, also good to look at if your thinking about increasing/decreasing your working hours when you have children x
im currently on jsa and my boyfriend is on a low income, i wanted him 2 move in with me now that i am pregnant but were not sure if we will b able 2 get by and what we would b able 2 claim and what i would lose can anybody help me figure this out? im really worried that were not going 2 manage and its really getting me down. x
thank you!
hello. i am currently 25 weeks pregnant, i work 36 hrs a week and my partner works 40 we are on low income, we ar expecting our first baby and are confused as to what we are entitled too benefit wise, please can some one help. many thanks melanie
i relly worried about money when my baby come i work about 35 hours a week at the moment but will have to go down to 16 hours a week when i go back to work does this meen i will be intill to 175 a week plus my wage
I wanted to know if I am entited to any of the benefits as I have been here on my HSMP-work visa from the last 2 years and I currently have a 3 month old baby. Your response regarding this matter would be highly appreciated.
Good day, I am facing financial difficuities because my husband stopped working for he is studing in the university. I claimed child tax, working tax and also getting child care element. But the working tax and childcare stopped because i worked only 15 hours.Please i do not know what to do.
can u tell me im a single mum of 1 and one on the way i work 20 hours and get child tax and workin tax do i still get the sure start grant (500) thanks
Hey i am a young 20year old single mum to a 3months old little boy i work 30 hours somtimes more and recieve child benefit child tax and working tax credit i applied for the sure start maternity grant sevril times to see if i was able to get it but they say i am not although my midwife in the hospital told she she works 40 hours with 1 child and still recieved her sure start maternity grant must be somthing wrong there just keep trying x
my take home monthly pay is around 650-700 pounds per month and i also get working tax and child tax credits i was wondering if i would be entitled to a sure start grant on my income? may be not am not sure but thought i would ask anyway
I am 22 weeks into my pregnancy and was made redundant in september 2009,where i had been employed for 9 years.I am currently on income based jobseekers allowance as my partner was also made redundant last year.I would like to know if i am entitled to a weekly maternity allowance. i know i about the sure start grants.
yes you can recieve the maternity allowance from the people at the job centre i only know this as my friend has done so x
Hi, I'm a single mum working 37 hours a week but when I go on Maternity Leave I will receive statutory maternity pay of £117 a week after the first 6 weeks. Does anyone know if you are entitled anything to help you with rent and council tax for this period? Thanks
thats not right you are intitled to 90% of your average earning and then after 6 weeks it goes up 2 £126.15 you are entitled to child benefit, child tax credits, and working tax credits. somtimes you may even get help from the council
Please, I need an answer to this question. I am in the UK on a student visa, I have my baby who is 3 months now. Am I entitled to anything? My partner is also on a student visa.
No you wont be entitled to any benefits as your student visa clearly states you have no recourse to public funds.
when do i recive my £190?
u get it once ur 25 weeks takes about 2 weeks to process x
I got mine at my 20 week midwife appointment in the doctors surgery
i am a single parent with 1 child and im 6 months pregnant with my 2nd child. i work 18 hours, will i be eligable for the sure start maternity grant?
i dont see why not you on a low income i'd say just apply for it whats the worst that can they say no.
Yes you can just fill your form and get your health visitor or you midwife to sign it for you.