Universal Credit benefits worth £3,286 parents could be missing out on

Parents are constantly juggling to balance their finances while ensuring their children's happiness and contentment.

However, those receiving various benefits, such as Universal Credit, Income Support, and Child Tax Credit, may be eligible for additional free perks and payments that could significantly ease their budgeting. Many parents might not realise that claiming benefits can unlock a range of extra support beyond their regular weekly or monthly payments.

This could encompass financial assistance to ensure your children have a healthy and nutritious diet, free childcare enabling you to continue working, and complimentary school meals for your child.

Here's an overview of all the additional support you could receive as a parent on benefits....

Free childcare

If you're a parent claiming Universal Credit, you qualify for extra help with your childcare costs. At present, you can claim 85 per cent of your childcare expenses per month up to £1,014 for one child and £1,739 for two or more children.

Thankfully, rule changes in June mean that the support for childcare costs is now paid upfront, rather than being reimbursed after you've already spent the money.

Up to £442 worth of free food per year

Parents who have just had a baby, or are about to, can claim up to £442 worth of free food each year through the Healthy Start Scheme. To qualify for the scheme, a claimant must be either more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four years old.

Parents must also be claiming one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit with less than £408 a month of total income

  • Pension Credit

  • Income Support

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Child Tax Credit alongside a family income of £16,190 or less a year

However, parents under the age of 18 can apply for the scheme even if they are not claiming any benefits.

Once you qualify for the scheme, you will receive a card that can be used at a variety of supermarkets and shops. However, the card can only be used to buy certain products, such as vegetables, fruit, and milk.

Grant worth £500

Parents can claim up to £500 as a one-off payment via the Sure Start Maternity Grant. In order to qualify, you must be expecting your first child (or children if it's twins or more).

The grant can be claimed in an 11-week window prior to the baby's due date. Otherwise, it can be claimed up to six months after the baby is born.

Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund is a government scheme that allocates money to councils to help locals with the cost of living. As part of the support, some councils may choose to provide vouchers to help parents pay for things such as food or energy bills.

However, it is up to each individual council to decide what they do with the fund and who qualifies for the support. As a result you should contact your local council and ask them about the Household Support Fund to see if you qualify for extra support as a parent on benefits.

Free school meals

Parents who are claiming benefits can ensure their children receive a free school meal. This is automatically provided in years one and two, but beyond that, a parent must be claiming one of the following:.

The level of support offered through the free school meals scheme may differ based on your council, school, or area. To find out what level of support you can get through this scheme, just input your postcode into the government website here.

Sign up to our main daily newsletter here and get all the latest news straight to your inbox for FREE