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Thousands of parents could get free cash worth £500 – how to claim

FAMILIES feeling the squeeze from the cost of living crisis could be missing out on help worth up to £500.

Food, clothes, childcare, days out and sometimes even school costs all add up, so budgeting when you have a family to look after can often be a tall order.

Thousands of parents could get free cash worth £500


Thousands of parents could get free cash worth £500Credit: Getty

Particularly now that parents have a lot more on their plate, from soaring energy bills and more, to rocketing prices on the supermarket shelves.

But amid the rising costs that parents and households alike are being clobbered with, there is support on offer.

It could help see extra pay stay in parents’ pockets too.

Thousands of new parents on Universal Credit can get a £500 grant to help with childcare costs through the Sure Start grant.

The one-off payment doesn’t need to be paid back and it won’t reduce your monthly Universal Credit payment or tax credits.

The cash can be used to pay for anything that will ease the immediate financial strain on families when caring for a new baby.

New parents must have claimed the grant within 11 weeks in advance of their baby’s due date or within six months after their child is born.

You’ll need to print out and fill in a claim form, providing personal details such as your name, address and partner’s details if applicable.

You will also need to let them know what benefits you’re claiming and when you are expecting your baby.

A midwife or doctor will need to sign it too to confirm that you are expecting.

Only parents who are expecting their first child are eligible for the grant, so if you’re about to have your second or third infant then you won’t be able to claim the payout.

Who is eligible for the Sure Start Maternity Grant?

To get a Sure Start Maternity Grant you must have no other children under 16. 

You, or your partner, must also be claiming one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
  • Universal Credit

If you do have a child under the age of 16, you may still be able to get the cash if any of the following applies to you:

  • You’re expecting a multiple birth (e.g. twins)
  • the child you’re caring for is some else’s, but not your partners.
  • You’ve been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection and you have a child or children from before you arrived in the UK

You can also get a grant if you’re claiming for a family member who is having their first child and lives with you.

But they must be under 16, or between 16 and 19 and still in education or training.

This could be studying A Levels or for an NVQ.

How can I get the grant?

A Sure Start Maternity Grant is £500 and you do not have to pay it back.

They money will be paid into your bank, building society or credit union account.

You can claim from 11 weeks before the week your baby is due.

But be aware, the latest you can claim is six months after your baby is born.

You can claim by post by printing out and filling in a claim form from the website.

In the form, you will need to provide personal details such as your name, address and partner’s details if applicable.

You will also need to let them know what benefits you’re claiming and when you are expecting your baby.

A midwife or doctor will need to sign it too to confirm that you are expecting.

You will get a letter telling you if your claim has been successful.

If you get Universal Credit, you’ll have to wait until after your next payment for you get a a decision.

Is there any other help available?

Parents of three and four-year-olds can apply for up to 30 hours free childcare a week.

To qualify you must work 16 hours a week on average at the national living or minimum wage and earn less than £100,000 a year.

But keep in mind you’ll need to reconfirm your eligibility every three months.

This is in case your circumstances, such as your income or living situation, have changed.

You can register by creating a childcare account on the website.

You may also be eligible to get up to £500 every three months – or £2,000 a year – through the government tax-free childcare scheme.

The scheme sees parents get £2 for every £8 paid toward childcare for kids under 11 – and you can claim this on top of your 30 hours free childcare.

You can apply online via

Parents who work 16 hours a week on average on the national minimum wage or living wage, and with less than £100,000 each, should be eligible.

To claim, kids need to be 11 or under or 16 and under if they’re disabled.

Low income families with young children could be entitled to Healthy start vouchers to help you cover the cost of fresh food and drink for your kids – they’re worth £221 a year per child.

And use a benefits calculator to see you’re entitled to help – there’s an estimated £13billion in unclaimed benefits you may be missing out on.

If you don’t have children, don’t worry because you could be eligible for other forms of support.

Around eight million people will receive a £650 cost of living payment targeted at the most vulnerable households.

The payment has been split into two instalments of £326 and £324 and the vast majority of the eight million eligible should already have received their first portion.

You are entitled to the cost of living benefit if you receive benefits such as Universal Credit or Tax Credit.

The Household Support Fund programme aims to help those struggling with their finances and can’t cover the essentials.

It has recently been extended until September 30, 2022 as millions of people face the ongoing cost of living crisis.

The money is being dispersed between local councils to help those who need it locally.

Each council determines how to use its budget to help local residents, with many previously dishing out supermarket and fuel vouchers or one-off cash payments.

Not all residents can receive the support due to eligibility requirements, so it’s best to check your local council’s website.

Over 29 million households are eligible for a £400 energy bill discount.

The discount will be automatic and will be made up of six instalments, starting from October.

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But it’s up to energy firms how they give out the cash directly to their customers.

You can read our guide to find out what your supplier is doing.

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