Help for families with children

Having a baby and raising a family can be expensive. There may be ways to increase your income if you need money for extra costs such as childcare and school trips.

New child in the family

If you are having or adopting a child, check if you are entitled to statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance.

You may be able to claim a Sure Start maternity grant for your first child, and for twins or multiple births, even if you already have children.

Use the Money Advice Service's Budgeting for baby calculator to help you work out how having a baby will affect your finances.

Benefits to help with the cost of children

If you claim benefits, make sure you claim for free school meals, school uniform grants and help with school trips. These are often part of your overall benefit entitlement.

Contact your local council to claim

Most families with children are entitled to child benefit.

Use the benefits checker from Turn2Us to work out your entitlement to benefits.

Help from the council

The council might be able to help you with finding childcare, as well as providing other help and advice.

Find details of help available from your local council's social services department.

School trips

Your child's school may sometimes ask you for money for school trips and other activities. Find out from Citizens Advice what schools must provide for free and what activities they can charge for.

Don't be afraid to approach your child's school for help with the cost of school trips. The school may have a special fund that can help.

Tax credits and childcare vouchers

If you are working but struggling to make ends meet, check if you can claim tax credits to provide help with childcare costs and extra income. You may be eligible if you or your partner are working more than 16 hours a week.

Tell the Tax Credit Office about any change in your circumstances, for example if your income has gone down. You may be due some more money.

Ask your employer if it offers childcare vouchers, but also check that this won't affect the amount of tax credits you get.

Use HMRC's calculator to work out if you will be better off with childcare vouchers or tax credits.

Find out about childcare, nursery and local education provision from your local Family and Childcare Trust.

Get money saving ideas online

Find out more from the Money Advice Service about managing money when you have a family.

The Family and Childcare Trust has information for working families on childcare and free nursery places.

Family Lives offers tips and advice on budgeting for kids, such as keeping kids occupied on a budget.

Link up with other parents. Charities like the National Childbirth Trust often run sales of baby clothes and equipment.

Use Shelter's budget calculator to help you manage your money.

Last updated 01 Jan 2015 | © Shelter

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