Support for your family

Find the right support for you and your family. There is a variety of help available for parents and children including payments from the government and free healthy food. You should be able to get some form of government help regardless of your income. 

Disabled grants for families

If you're in a low-income family with at least one disabled child aged 17 or under, you can apply to a number of Family Fund's wide-ranging grants for essential items.

To start applying for a grant, or to see what's available, visit Family Fund. 

Child benefit

If you're responsible for bringing up a child who is under 16 or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training, you can be paid a weekly sum of money known as child benefit.

Only one person can get child benefit for a child. It’s paid every 4 weeks and there’s no limit to how many children you can claim for.

Read more about how to apply for child benefit.

Tax-free childcare

If you're a working parent who is not receiving tax credits, universal credit or childcare vouchers, you can open an online account to recieve money from the government to help you pay the cost of childcare. 

Through the tax-free childcare scheme, the government contributes 20% of childcare costs. For example, for every 80p you put in to your online account, the government will top it up by 20p. 

The scheme is available for children under 12 and disabled children under 17. 

In order to get government contributions to your childcare, you must set up an online tax-free childcare account.

For more information, visit the tax-free childcare government page.

30/15 scheme

If you have young children and need help with childcare, the government provides free support based on your child's age. 

Families in England receiving some forms of government support with children under the age of 2 can get 15 hours of free childcare a week. 

All families in England with children aged 3 and 4 can get 15 hours of free childcare a week.

Working families in England children aged 3 and 4 can get 30 hours of free childcare a week. 

For more information and how to apply, click on the links above. 

Free school meals, holiday activity and food programme

If you recieve certain benefits, your child should get free school meals and free activities and food during the school holidays. 

To secure your child's free school meals and free activities and food during the school holidays, you have to apply via your local council. 

Also, children in reception, year 1 and year 2 in a government-funded school should be able to get free school meals. For more information, visit the government's free school meals page.

Free school uniform

If you're struggling to find the money for new school uniform, some local councils in England can provide grants. 

Usually, children who qualify for free school meals also qualify for help buying school uniform.

If your council do not provide help with school uniform costs, please contact your child’s school as they may be able to help.

See what other school uniform help your local council may provide.

Sure start maternity grant

If you are receiving certain benefits or tax credits and having your first child, you could get a Sure Start Maternity Grant. 

This is a one-off, tax-free payment to help towards the cost of maternity expenses and baby items. You do not need to pay it back.

You can get more information about Sure Start Maternity Grant by phoning 0800 022 4250.

NHS healthy start vouchers

If you’re receiving universal credit or child tax credit and are pregnant or have parental responsibility for at least one child under the age of 4, you can get help to buy healthy food and milk. 

Click here to apply for NHS healthy start vouchers.