Benefits you are entitled to when having a baby

Most families with children are entitled to cash from the government. But working out which benefits you qualify for and how to claim can often be complicated. To make sure you’re not one of them, read on.

Benefits for families

Child Benefit

Who is it for? Anyone responsible for a child. (If you or your partner has an individual income of over £50,000 a year, then the person with the highest income will have to pay back some or all of the Child Benefit in extra tax.)

More information:  Claiming Child Benefit

How to claim:  Download a claim form from the HM Revenue & Customs website

Free prescriptions and NHS dental treatment

Who is it for? Pregnant women and new mums for the first 12 months. Prescriptions are free for everyone in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. NHS dental check-ups are free for everyone in Scotland.

More information: Free prescriptions and NHS dental care in pregnancy

How to claim: Fill out the Maternity Exemption form (FW8), available from your doctor or midwife.

Child Tax Credit

Who is it for? Anyone with responsibility for a child who normally lives with them. How much you get will depend on your household income. For example, if you have one child you will probably get tax credits if your income is not above £26,000, or £32,000 for two children.

You can still get tax credits even if your income is higher if you have childcare costs or your child has disabilities.

Between April 2013 and October 2017, Child Tax Credit is being gradually phased out and replaced by Universal Credit.

More information: Child Tax Credit

How to claim: Call the Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900 or See the Tax credits calculator on the HM Revenue & Customs website

Benefits for workers

Statutory Maternity Pay

Who is it for? Pregnant women and new mums on maternity leave (up to 39 weeks) and if you have 26 weeks’ continuous employment and average pay of at least £111 a week (2014-15).

More information: Maternity pay and leave

How to claim: Tell your employer by the 15th week before your due date (usually before 24th week of pregnancy).

Maternity Allowance

Who is it for? Pregnant women and new mums who are not eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (perhaps because they’re self-employed).

More information: Maternity Allowance

How to claim: Get a claim form from your local Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office or Call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688

In Northern Ireland, call the Social Security Agency on 02890 336 000

Ordinary Statutory Paternity Pay

Who is it for? New dads or partners who work. It amounts to two weeks’ paid leave.

More information: Paternity pay and leave

How to claim: Tell your employer by the 15th week before the baby is due (usually the 24th week of pregnancy).

Working Tax Credit

Who is it for? Working adults. Whether you qualify depends on the number of hours you work and whether you are single or in a couple. There is extra help with childcare costs if you do qualify for Working Tax Credit.

Between April 2013 and October 2017, Working Tax Credit is being gradually phased out and replaced by Universal Credit.

More information: Tax credits and other help with childcare costs

How to claim: Call the Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900

Benefits if you're on a low income

Healthy Start food vouchers

Who is it for? Pregnant women and families on certain benefits with children under four. Also all pregnant women under 18.

More information: Benefits you can claim when pregnant

How to claim: Speak to your midwife, health visitor or doctor, or call Healthy Start on 0845 607 6823

Sure Start Maternity Grant

Who is it for? Pregnant women or new mums on certain benefits. £500 for the first child only.

More information: Benefits you can claim when pregnant

How to claim: Contact your local Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office

Download an application form from the DWP website (PDF)

Income Support

Who is it for? Single parents who are not working (or working less than 16 hours a week) and whose youngest child is under five.

More information: Gov.uk – Income Support

How to claim: Contact your local Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office

Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

Who is it for? Families where no one is working more than 16 hours a week (24 in some cases) and at least one adult is seeking work.

Between April 2013 and October 2017, Jobseeker’s Allowance is being gradually phased out and replaced by Universal Credit.

More information: Gov.uk – Jobseeker’s Allowance

How to claim: Contact your local Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office

Housing Benefit

Who is it for? A household paying rent.

Between April 2013 and October 2017, Housing Benefit is being gradually phased out and replaced by Universal Credit.

More information: Gov.uk – Housing Benefit

How to claim: Contact your local Jobcentre Plus/Jobs and Benefits Office or local council office

Help with Council Tax

Who is it for? The person responsible for paying Council Tax.

More information: Your local council website

How to claim: In England contact your local council to apply for their Council Tax Reduction scheme.

In Wales contact your local authority to find out about their Council Tax Reduction scheme.

In Scotland contact your local authority to find out about their Council Tax Reduction scheme.

Free prescriptions, NHS dental treatment and eye tests, and vouchers for glasses

Who is it for? Members of families getting Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or, in some cases, tax credits, or Universal Credit. Prescriptions are free for everyone in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. NHS dental check-ups are free for everyone in Scotland.

More information: Help with health costs advice line

How to claim: Complete form HC1 from a Jobcentre Plus office, doctor, dentist or optician.

Contact the Scottish Health Cost advice line on 0845 850 1166

Benefits if you're studying

Care to Learn - help with childcare costs

Who is it for? Under-20s who live in England, are studying and have at least one child and a partner who is unable to provide childcare. Can't be claimed if you or your partner is claiming the childcare element of Working Tax Credit.

More information: Gov.uk – Care to Learn

How to claim: Request an application pack via the Gov.uk website

Discretionary Learner Support

Who is it for? Over-16s who have been accepted onto or are studying a programme of learning funded by the Young People’s Learning Agency.

More information: Gov.uk – Discretionary Learner Support

How to claim: Speak to your student service team at college or university.

Talk to a National Careers Service adviser on 0800 100 900 or look at the National Careers Service website for more details.

Childcare Grant - help with childcare costs

Who is it for? Full-time higher education students in England with dependent children in registered or approved childcare. Can't be claimed if you or your partner is claiming the childcare element of Working Tax Credit.

More information: Gov.uk - Help for students with children

How to claim: Download a form from the Gov.uk website (PDF) or Contact Student Finance England on 0845 300 5090

Parents' Learning Allowance - help towards course costs

Who is it for? Full-time higher education students with dependent children.

More information: Gov.uk - Help for students with children

How to claim: Contact Student Finance England on 0845 300 5090

Benefits if you or your child has a disability

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Who is it for? Anyone from age 3 months to 64 years who needs care because of a disability. Anyone from age 3 years to 64 years who has mobility problems because of a disability. DLA is now closed to new claims from people aged 16 to 64. All new claims are now for Personal Independence Payment.

More information: Financial support if you or your child has a disability

How to claim: Call the Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 882 200

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Who is it for? People aged 16 to 64 who need help with daily living or mobility as a result of a long-term health condition or disability.

More information: Gov.uk – Personal Independence Payment

How to claim: Call the PIP claim line on 0800 917 2222 or Textphone: 0800 917 7777

Benefits if you're a widow(er) or guardian

Widowed Parent’s Allowance

Who is it for? Bereaved wives, husbands or civil partners responsible for children

More information: Gov.uk – Widowed Parent’s Allowance

How to claim: Get a Bereavement Benefits claim pack (form BB1) from your local Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office

Guardian’s Allowance

Who is it for? Anyone who is bringing up a child because one or both parents have died, and is entitled to claim Child Benefit for the child.

More information: Gov.uk – Guardian’s Allowance

How to claim: Download a claim form from the HM Revenue & Customs website (PDF)