New parents could be missing out on up to £7,000 in help – how to claim | The Sun

NEW parents feeling the squeeze from the cost of living crisis could be missing out on up to £7,000 in help – we explain how to claim it.

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

As rocketing inflation is driving prices of essentials and services up, these costs are becoming even more unaffordable.

But there is a range of support on offer – you could even see extra pay stay in your pocket too.

Here's everything you can claim as a new mum or dad:

Sure Start Grant – £500

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

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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.

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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.

Tax free childcare – up to £2,000

Even more parents could be missing out on up to £2,000 in childcare help.

The government's Tax-Free Childcare scheme means they could get up to £500 help every three months.

You could get even more if your child is disabled – totalling £4,000 a year in this case.

Your child must be aged under 11, or 17 if they have a disability, to use the scheme.

You are also expected to earn over a certain amount at your work over the next three months too.

You'll need to earn at least £1,976, which is the National Living Wage for those over 23. Your partner must earn this too.

But it's important to note you cannot get tax-free childcare at the same time as claiming Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers.

Child Tax credits – up to £2,935

You can only make a claim for Child Tax Credit if you already get Working Tax Credit and if that isn't the case you can get Universal Credit instead.

And the amount you could get depends on when your children were born.

If you have two children born after April 6, 2017, you'd get a child element for each child worth up to £2,935.

If you qualified for the maximum, you'd get £5,690 a year.

If one child was born before then you could also get a basic amount called the family element worth up to £545 a year.

If all your children were born before April 6, 2017, you can claim for all of them, but after that, there is a two-child limit.

To claim Child Tax Credit, update your existing tax credit claim by reporting a change in your circumstances online or by phone.

Child benefit – £1,133

You can get Child Benefit worth up to £1,133 a year if you’re responsible for bringing up a child who is under 16 or under 20 if they stay in education.

Child benefit is usually paid every four weeks, but you can have the money paid weekly if you’re a single parent or getting certain other benefits like Income Support.

If that's the case you can get

  • £21.80 a week for the first or only child
  • Or £14.45 a week for each subsequent child

You can get the money paid into any account, apart from a Nationwide cash builder account in someone else’s name.

You need to apply for child benefit, which you can do online through

But only one person can get the benefit for the child or children, so you'll have to decide which parent will get it.

Just beware of the High Income Child Benefit charge that may start to apply once you start earning a certain amount.

If either parent is earning over £50,000 they have to pay the high income child benefit tax charge.

This means you pay back 1% of your child benefit for every £100 of income over this amount.

Once you reach £60,000 of income you have to repay the full amount.

Healthy Start Vouchers – £442

Parents can even claim free cash specifically tailored to covering food costs too.

Families are issued vouchers worth £4.25 a week though the Healthy Start Vouchers scheme.

And they get double if they have a child under 12 months old.

It means parents get £442 in the first year of their baby's life, while pregnant women and families with children between the age of 1 and 4 are given £221 annually.

To qualify for the voucher scheme you also need to receive one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit with a family income of £16,190 or less per year
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit with no earned income or total earned income of £408 or less per month for the family.

But if you are under 18 and pregnant you can get the vouchers, even if you don’t get any of those benefits.

Is there more help I can get?

New parents can get a range of help including freebies and refunds, on top of the cash benefits they may be able to receive.

These include:

Childcare help

If you claim Universal Credit, you might be able to get a refund on most of your child care costs.

You can claim back 85% of childcare costs up to £646.35 for one child or £1108.04 for two or more up to August 31 following the child’s 16th birthday.

You will have to pay your childcare costs yourself up front and then claim the money back through Universal Credit.

Free prescriptions and dental care

Prescriptions can cost £8.60 a pop in England, while NHS dental costs vary by location.

You can get both for free while you're pregnant and for 12 months after your baby's due date.

Ask your doctor or midwife for a maternity exemption certificate (MATEX) to claim the free care.

Store freebies

It's not only benefit freebies that you can claim as a new parent.

Aldi shoppers can pick up FREE nappies in-store with an easy-to-claim voucher, for example.

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