This page has information on where to find out more about the benefits /funding available for families, also organisations that can help advise families on the benefits that may be available to them.
Last reviewed December 2022.
Benefits for families on a low income or out of work
Universal Credit, has replaced income-based jobseeker's allowance (JSA), income-related employment and support allowance (ESA), income support, child tax credit, working tax credit and housing benefit. This is a single universal credit payment made once a month. To find out more about Universal Credit please visit. https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit
To find out if you may be eligible to housing benefit (if you receive universal credit, this will be included in your monthly payment) or a council tax reduction visit Reading Borough Council ~ Council Tax Support .
Maternity payments / allowances
To find out about statutory maternity pay please visit. https://www.gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave
If you are not entitled to statutory maternity pay, then visit. https://www.gov.uk/maternity-allowance
You may be entitled to a maternity grant of £500 if this is your first child or in receipt of certain benefits. https://www.gov.uk/sure-start-maternity-grant
If you are pregnant or have a child of under 4 years of age and in receipt of certain benefits, you may be eligible to a Healthy Start Card. Can be used to buy on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins. https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/
Who can claim child benefit?
Many families are entitled to child benefit for their children. 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. To find out more and how to apply visit. https://www.gov.uk/child-benefit
Advice on maternity payments
Maternity Action is a national charity “committed to ending inequality and improving the health and wellbeing of pregnant women, partners and young children – from conception through to the child’s early years”. https://maternityaction.org.uk/
ACAS gives employees and employers free, impartial advice on workplace rights, rules and best practice (which includes maternity pay and leave). They also offer training and help to resolve disputes. https://www.acas.org.uk/your-maternity-leave-pay-and-other-rights
Pregnant then Screwed charity - worried about redundancy whilst pregnant? Want to know how to submit a flexible working request? Confused about your holiday entitlement whilst on maternity leave? https://pregnantthenscrewed.com/
Help with childcare costs / funding
Our Childcare Costs advice and guidance page, has information on the help available including for parents who are studying:
This useful government website has a funding checker https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/
For more details visit our advice and guidance pages on:
Who can receive free school meals?
Children attending government funded schools and in Reception, Yr1 or Yr2 classes receive free school meals. Older children may be eligible if their families are in receipt of certain benefits. For more information on eligibility https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals
If you think you are eligible, visit https://brighterfuturesforchildren.org/schools/school-meals/
Where to get free impartial money advice
For free and impartial money advice, set up by the government visit www.moneyhelper.org.uk
How to find help when you are in Debt
For information on debt advice and services local and national visit our Debt Support Services Advice & Guidance Page