Extra financial help if you claim universal credit

Claiming universal credit means you can get additional help with things like medical costs and childcare.

Most schemes are open to all claimants.

Sometimes there will be extra criteria you must meet, such as how much you earn and whether you have children.

Find out about other sources of financial help

Help with bills

Council tax reduction

Your local council can give you a discount on your council tax.

You can find out how the application process works in your area on GOV.UK.

Cold weather payments

The cold weather payment scheme runs between 1 November and 31 March each year.

Some universal credit claimants are entitled to a £25 payment if the temperature drops below freezing for 7 days in a row over this period. 

You qualify if any of the following apply:

  • you have a disabled child
  • you have a dependent child under 5 and you're not working
  • you're not working and don't have to seek work because of disability or ill health

Check if a payment is due in your area on GOV.UK. You should be paid automatically if you qualify.

Help with healthcare

Help with health costs

You can get free prescriptions and help with eye tests and dental treatment if your earnings in your last assessment period were:

  • less than £435 - if you don't have a child or are expected to seek work
  • less than £935 - if you have a dependent child or are not expected to seek work because of disability or ill health

Take proof that you claim universal credit and how much you earned in your last assessment period when you get your treatment. 

Find out more about help with health costs from the NHS website.

Help with the costs of children

Free school meals

You qualify if your income is less than £7,400 a year after tax, excluding any benefits you get.

Start the application on GOV.UK

Maternity grant

A maternity grant gives you £500 if you’re expecting your first child. You won’t get it if you already have children, unless you’re pregnant and expecting twins.

You can claim up to 11 weeks before your due date or up to 6 months after your baby is born.  

Apply using the form on GOV.UK

Healthy Start vouchers

Healthy Start vouchers allow you to get fruit, vegetables and milk – including formula milk – for free.

You can get up to £6.20 a week.

The help is available if you claim universal credit and you have a child under 4 or are at least 10 weeks pregnant.

Apply online on the Healthy Start website

Help with legal costs

Legal aid

You can get help with legal costs through legal aid.

You could get free advice or representation in court if you’re at risk of homelessness or eviction.

Check if you can get legal aid on GOV.UK


Last updated 08 Apr 2019 | © Shelter

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