Parenting tip

You could qualify for a Sure Start Maternity Grant of £500, no matter what savings you may have.

Financial support for parents on a low income

If you are pregnant and worried about finances, this article will help you find out what grants and benefits you might be entitled to.

This article covers:
Sure Start Maternity Grant
Healthy Start Vouchers
Further information

Sure Start Maternity Grant

You could qualify for a Sure Start Maternity Grant of £500, no matter what savings you may have. This is a one-off payment to help towards the cost of essential maternity and baby items. The grant is tax free and you don’t have to repay it.

Who qualifies for a grant?

Babies born or adopted after 11 April 2011 will only receive the grant if they are the only child less than 16 years old in the house. You can get a Sure Start Maternity Grant if you or your partner, receive any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit at a rate higher than the family element
  • Working Tax Credit where a disability or severe disability element is included in the award

And if one of the following applies to you on the date you claim:

  • You or your partner are pregnant and expecting a baby within 11 weeks or have given birth within the last three months.
  • A dependent child you receive benefit for, who has no other children, is expecting a baby within 11 weeks or has given birth within the last three months.
  • You are not the mother and have become the responsible single parent of a baby no more than one year old.
  • You or your partner have been granted an adoption or a residence order for a baby no more than one year old.
  • You and your partner have been granted a parental order for a surrogate birth and the baby is no more than one year old.
  • You or your partner have been appointed the guardian of a baby no more than one year old.
  • You or your partner have had a baby placed with you for adoption by an agency and the baby is no more one year old.
  • You or your partner have adopted a baby abroad and the baby is no more than one year old.

You can claim from 11 weeks before the birth until the baby is three months old. To apply, you should complete claim pack SF100 (Sure Start).
Contact your local Jobcentre Plus or download a claim pack from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website. 

Healthy Start Vouchers

You might also be eligible to claim free vouchers every week that you can use to buy milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables. You can also get free vitamins. (In this instance ‘plain’ means any fruit or vegetables which do not have added ingredients such as: fat (oil), salt, sugar or flavourings – including oven chips and battered onion rings. You also can’t spend them on dried, canned, juiced or pre-cooked fruit and vegetables or on smoothies.)

Do I qualify for Healthy Start?

You qualify for Healthy Start if you're pregnant or have a child under four years old,and you receive:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit unless your family is receiving Working Tax Credit run-on only*) and have an annual family income of below £16,190 or less (2013/14)

OR:

  • you're pregnant and under 18 years of age.

*Working Tax Credit run-on is the Working Tax Credit you receive in the four weeks immediately after you have stopped working for 16 hours or more per week.

How much are the vouchers worth?

The vouchers are worth £3.10 per week if you're pregnant, £6.20 per week for each baby under one or £3.10 per child over one and under four.

How do I claim the vouchers?

Visit the Healthy Start website for details on the various ways that you can claim for vouchers.

Further information

Directgov has information on its Sure Start Maternity Grants.

Information on Healthy Start and the voucher scheme is given by the NHS.

See also the Money Advice Service and read their Parent’s guide to money.