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

In some areas you can get extra money towards your energy bills if you have:

  • health problems
  • a disability
  • a dependent child under 5

If you're eligible, you’ll automatically get £25 in your account when the temperature drops below freezing for 7 days in a row between November and March.

Contact the universal credit helpline if you don’t get it.

Call 0800 328 5644 Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm

Check if cold weather payments are available in your area

Help with childcare

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

Free school meals

You’ll be eligible if you claim universal credit and your income after tax is less than £7,400 a year, not including any benefits.

Start the application on GOV.UK

Help with healthcare

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 health costs

You can have health costs such as prescriptions, eye tests and dental treatments paid for if your earnings were less than £435 in your last assessment period.

You’ll also get this if your earnings were less than £935 in your last assessment period and you:

  • receive the child element of universal credit, or
  • have limited capability for work and work-related activity

Take proof you claim universal credit when you get your treatment. You can print out statements from your universal credit account or request proof from the universal credit helpline.

Help with legal bills

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 10 Jan 2019 | © Shelter

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help

Get help

Was this advice helpful?

Email a link to this article

Thank you - your message has been sent.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.

Was this advice helpful?

Thank you - your feedback has been submitted to the team.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.