Benefits & Support

On average new parents are missing out on £600 + per year on benefits

If you are a new mum or an experienced mum living in England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland find out how much you can claim to support you and your family.

UK Benefits & Grants

Benefits and financial support for families in the UK

More Benefits in Scotland

Additional benefits and financial support for families in Scotland

Childcare Options

Understand childcare options available for your baby

Benefits available for families living in the UK

Learn more about your options below and check if you are eligible for grants

Universal Credit

Application conditions:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
  • you live in the UK


If you have 1 or 2 children, you’ll get an extra amount for each child. The amount you could get depends on when your children were born.

Learn more here            

Child Benefits

Application conditions:

You normally qualify for Child Benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training) and you live in the UK.

You may have to pay back some of your Child Benefit in tax if your (or your partner’s) individual income is over £50,000.


It’s paid every 4 weeks and there’s no limit to how many children you can claim for.

Application time:

You can claim Child Benefit as soon as you’ve registered the birth of your child, or they come to live with you.

Eldest or only child

£21.15 (weekly)

Additional children

£14 per child (weekly)

Frequency of payments:

paid every 4 weeks


Learn how to claim here

Tax-free Childcare

You can get up to £500 every 3 months (up to £2,000 a year) for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare. This goes up to £1,000 every 3 months if a child is disabled (up to £4,000 a year).


Your eligibility depends on:

  • if you are working
  • your income (and your partner’s income, if you have one)
  • your child’s age and circumstances(Child must be 11 or under and usually live with you. If your child is disabled you may get up to £4,000 a year until they’re 17.)
  • your immigration status
  • you cannot get Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as claiming Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers.​

​Learn more here

Child tax credits

You can get Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for your child, depending on your circumstances and how much other income you have.

You may still qualify if you’re on maternity leave or when you go back to work.

If you already have 2 or more children in your family, you might not get any additional Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for a new baby.

GOV.UK has more about Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit

Other support

You may be eligible for following support:

Check if your child can get free school meals and find out how to apply on your local authority’s website.

If you’re pregnant or have a child under 4, this scheme can help you buy basic foods like milk or fruit.

You may be eligible for help with your learning costs if you’re a full-time student with children.


Maternity pay and leave

Statutory Maternity Leave is 52 weeks.

You qualify for Statutory Maternity Leave if: 

  • You give your employer the correct notice
  • you’re an employee not a ‘worker’ 

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid for up to 39 weeks.

You get:​

  • 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks
  • £151.97 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.

To qualify for SMP you must:

  • earn on average at least £120 a week
  • give the correct notice and proof you’re pregnant
  • have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks continuing into the ‘qualifying week’ – the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth

Learn more here

Maternity allowance

Maternity Allowance is a payment you can get when you take time off to have a baby.

You could get it if you:

  • are employed but cannot get Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
  • are self-employed
  • have recently stopped working
  • take part in unpaid work for the business of your spouse or civil partner

You can get Maternity Allowance for up to 39 weeks.

You can claim Maternity Allowance as soon as you’ve been pregnant for 26 weeks. Payments can start up to 11 weeks before your baby is due.


Learn about eligibility here


Shared Parental Leave and Pay


  • having a baby
  • using a surrogate to have a baby
  • adopting a child

Eligibility for birth parents:

  • share responsibility for the child at birth
  • meet work and pay criteria – these are different depending on which parent wants to use the shared parental leave and pay

What you’ll get​:

If you’re eligible and you or your partner end maternity or adoption leave and pay (or Maternity Allowance) early, then you can:

  • take the rest of the 52 weeks of maternity or adoption leave as Shared Parental Leave (SPL)
  • take the rest of the 39 weeks of maternity or adoption pay (or Maternity Allowance) as Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP)​​

Paternity Leave and Pay

When you take time off because your partner’s having a baby, adopting a child or having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement you might be eligible for:

You must be taking time off to look after the child and be one of the following:

  • the father
  • the husband or partner of the mother (or adopter) – this includes same-sex partners
  • the child’s adopter
  • the intended parent (if you’re having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement)

There are extra conditions you need to meet to qualify for leave and pay.


Learn how to claim here

Sure Start Maternity Grant

You could get a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child. 

You usually qualify for the grant if both of the following apply:

  • you’re expecting your first child, or you’re expecting a multiple birth (such as twins) and have children already
  • you or your partner already get certain benefits

You must claim the grant within 11 weeks of the baby’s due date or within 6 months after the baby’s birth.

You do not have to pay the grant back and it will not affect your other benefits or tax credits.


Learn how to claim here


Benefits and support available for families in Scotland

Explore what benefits you can claim to support you and your new baby

Baby Box

The Baby Box helps families prepare for the arrival of their baby.

Scotland’s Baby Box is packed full of clothes, bedding and lots of other useful things to help give your baby the best possible start in life. The Box also provides a safe and comfy place for your wee one to sleep. It comes complete with a mattress and bedding that fits perfectly.

To get the box, your midwife will fill in a Baby Box registration card with you between your 18-20 or 28 week appointment. Your midwife will send this card away to register you for your Baby Box, so you won’t need to do anything else.


    Learn more here

    Best Start Grant - Pregnancy and Baby Payment

    You can get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment of £606 for your first child.

    You can get £303 for any child that comes after your first. For example, your second or third child, or any child after these.

    You can use the payment for anything you need. This could include:

    • pregnancy clothes
    • a pram
    • a cot
    • baby clothes
    • toys


    Learn more here


    Best Start Grant - Early Learning

    Early Learning Payment is a payment of £252.50 per child to help with the costs of early learning. You can get the payment when your child is aged between 2 years old and 3 years and 6 months old. To get this payment your child does not need to go to nursery.

    You can get Early Learning Payment for multiple children, as long as each child is the right age when you apply.

    You can spend this money on anything you need for your child at this age. This could include:

    • clothes
    • toys
    • trips to new places

    Learn more here

    Best Start Grant - School Age Payment

    School Age Payment is a payment of £252.50 per child. It helps with the costs of preparing for school when your child is first old enough to start primary school.

    You can get the payment for multiple children, as long as each child is the right age when you apply.

    To get a payment, your child does not have to take up a place at school. You’ll still need to apply in the year that your child is first old enough to start school, if:

    • you’re deferring when you child starts school
    • your child is not going to school

    You can spend this money on anything you need for your child at this age. This could include:

    • clothes
    • school trips
    • stationery for school

    Learn more here

    School Meals

    Application conditions:

    From 1 August 2021, your child can get free meals in school if you get: 

    • Universal Credit (where your monthly earned income is not more than £625) 
    • Income Support 
    • income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance 
    • income-based Employment and Support Allowance 
    • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 

    Your child is also entitled to free school lunches if you get: 

    • Child Tax Credit, but not Working Tax Credit, and your income is less than £16,105 
    • Both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit and have an income of up to £7,500


    • Free school meals
    •  Some local councils and schools offer other free food and drink for pupils including free: milk, breakfast, fruit.

    Application time:​

    You can apply as soon as you start to get one of these benefits.


    Learn more here

    Best Start Foods

    Best Start Foods is a prepaid card that can help you buy healthy foods like milk or fruit, if one of the following applies to you. For example:

    • you’re pregnant
    • you have a child under 3

    The amount you get on your prepaid card will change depending on the age of your child. The Best Start Foods payments are:

    • £18 every 4 weeks during pregnancy – the payment amount is per pregnancy. This means the payment amount is the same whether you’re pregnant with one baby, or if you’re having twins or triplets
    • £36 every 4 weeks from your child being born up until they’re one year old
    • £18 every 4 weeks when your child is between the ages of one and 3 years old


    Learn more here

    Scottish Child Payment

    Application conditions:

    • you live in Scotland
    • you or your partner are the main person looking after a child who’s under 6 years old
    • you or your partner are getting certain benefits or payments:
    • Universal Credit/ Child Tax Credit/ Pension Credit/ Working Tax Credit
    • Income Support
    • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)/ Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

    What you get:

    It’s a weekly payment of £10 that you can get for every child you look after who’s under 6 years of age. You’ll get the payment every 4 weeks if your application is successful.

    Application time:

    Who’s under 6 years of age.

    Learn more here

    Housing rights and benefits for new parents

    Application conditions:

    Determined by local agency


    Have a home which you know is safe and where you can feel settled:

    Discretionary housing payment (DHP):

    Heating your home:

    School Clothing Grant

    Application conditions:

    • Who can apply and the amount of money you’ll get depends on your local council.

    • Example: Glasgow

    Glasgow application conditions:

    Scottish Government has announced an increase to School Clothing Grant awards of £120 for a Primary aged child or £150  for a Secondary aged child.

    Glasgow Supports:

    • £120 for a Primary aged child or £150 for a Secondary aged child.

    Application time:​

    You will receive your Clothing Grant payment automatically if:

    • Your child/children attend a Glasgow City Council school
    • You receive Housing benefit/Council Tax reduction, and your child/children are listed on your claim


    • You have received a Declaration letter from us, advising that your payment will be issued automatically
    • If you did not receive a Declaration letter or if your circumstances have changed you must complete a new application form, which will be available on 1st of July.

    Learn more here

    Childcare Options

    Here’s a summary of the different options available to help you decide which ones best suit your family’s needs and budget


    Child Age




    Playgroup or pre-school​

    Community and voluntary-run care and education sessions for children.

    3-5 y.o.

    Usually offer a three hour morning or afternoon sessions during term time.

    £5 – £10 per three-hour session​
    Depends on your household income - some play sessions can be free.​
    Free if it’s part of the state school system.

    Sure Start Children’s Centre​
    A ‘one-stop shop’, you can also get advice on other things – for example, training and job opportunities.
    A low-cost option - many of the services are free.

    0-4 y.o.

    This is around 16 hours a week in term time.​
    Children younger than aged 3 may also be able to get funding.

    You can get 600 hours of free early learning and childcare a year.

    Nursery school​
    An introduction to primary education for three to five-year-olds. They’re often attached to a pre-school or primary school. 

    3-5 y.o.

    During school hours.

    You can use your 15-30 hours free weekly childcare allowance if you’re eligible.

    Registered childminder​
    Someone who looks after children in their own home.

    0-2 y.o.

    25/50 hours a week

    £138/£263 a week

    You can use your 15-30 hours free weekly childcare allowance if you’re eligible.

    Day nursery​
    Day nurseries offer care and education for children.

    6 weeks - 5 years

    25/50 hours a week

    £138/£263 a week

    You can use your 15-30 hours free weekly childcare allowance if you’re eligible.

    Employing a Nanny​
    Someone who looks after a child in the child’s own home. It’s usually a live-in or daily role, but part-time nannies are also available.


    25 hours a week

    £250 – £400 a week, including tax and National Insurance contributions



    Benefits and financial support


    Community and workshops

    Cost calculator

    The BabyReady resources


    What to pack – Labor & Birth

    Baby Ready 101: New-born Essentials

    Equipment You Need for Your Baby

    Scan the code