Benefits and Allowances
To help understand the benefits and allowances you may be entitled to we have compiled together some information and resources.
If you have a disabled child please see The Local Offer for SEND information.
What is Universal Credit (UC)?
Universal Credit (UC) is a new, simpler, single monthly payment for people in or out of work which merges together some of the benefits and tax credits that you might be getting now such as:
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
When was Universal Credit (UC) be introduced?
September 2018 for new claims to these benefits only. Current claimants on these benefits will not have to claim Universal Credit until sometime between 2019 to 2023.
How to claim
- If you are already in receipt of any of the benefits mentioned above your local Jobcentre Plus or Tax Credits office will tell you when you have to move to Universal Credit (UC) and this should happen automatically.
- New Universal Credit (UC) can be made online via GOV.UK see link below. You may be required to attend a Job Centre Plus (JCP) appointment after submitting your claim. If Universal Credit is not yet available in your area then the online checker will tell you when it is due to be rolled out.
Who can help you with your claim?
Citizens Advice can help you with your benefit claims including Universal Credit.
They have launched a service called Universal Support: Help to claim. The Universal Support service is available face-to-face, over the phone and online through webchat and online content. UC helpline, claimants should contact the full-service number 0800 328 5644 for any residual live service queries.
Information for employers, landlords and professionals
Other Useful Information
A guide by the Contact Charity. Covers questions such as will you be worse off if a child claims Universal Credit in their own right? And How to claim for Universal Credit?
What is the Bedroom Tax?
The bedroom tax is payable based on the number of people in the household and the size of the accommodation. This applies to all working-age tenants renting from a local authority, housing association or other registered social landlord.
The rules allow one bedroom for:
- every adult couple (married or unmarried)
- any other adult aged 16 or over
- any 2 children of the same sex aged under 16
- any 2 children aged under 10
- any other child (other than a foster child or child whose main home is elsewhere)
- children who can’t share because of a disability or medical condition
- a carer (or team of carers) providing overnight care
For more information:
What is Child Benefit?
Child Benefit is a payment made to you if you’re responsible for a child under 16 years of age (or under 20 years of age if they stay in approved education or training. Only one person can receive Child Benefit for a child.
You are eligible for child benefit if:
- You are responsible for a child under 16 years of age (or under 20 years of age if they stay in approved education or training such as school, college or traineeships AND
- You live in the UK
However, If your or your partner’s individual income is over £50,000 you may have to pay a tax charge.
How much could I receive?
- For the eldest or only child: £20.70 per week
- For each additional child: £13.70 per week
How to claim
To claim Child Benefit click the link below to view and download an application form and for further guidance.
What is Child Maintenance?
Child maintenance is financial support towards your child’s everyday living costs when you’ve separated from the other parent.
Coming to an agreement
You and your ex-partner can arrange child maintenance yourself if you can agree. This is called a ‘family-based arrangement’. A family-based arrangement is a private way to sort out child maintenance. Parents arrange everything themselves and you could both agree that the paying parent pays:
- a proportion of their income
- for things like school clothes instead of giving money
- a regular set amount directly to the parent with care
You can download a form from Child Maintenance Options to help you write down your agreement.
Making a family-based agreement legally binding
Child Maintenance Options has information about asking a court to formalise your agreement to make it legally binding.
If you can’t agree
- Contact Child Maintenance Options
- After speaking to Child Maintenance Options you may then be able to use the Child Maintenance Service to make a new formal arrangement instead. This is called a ‘statutory arrangement’.
The Child Support Agency (CSA) is closing down and gradually being replaced by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). The process will take until 2018. It is no longer possible to claim child maintenance through the CSA – parents must apply to the CMS instead. Most parents are charged a fee for using the CMS.
If you currently use the CSA to receive child maintenance your case will be closed between now and 2018. CSA cases are not automatically transferred to the CMS, so when your case is closed you will need to apply to the CMS to receive payments through the new system.
You may be able to get Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) if you’re having a baby or adopting a child. If you’re eligible for SPL you can use it to take leave in blocks separated by periods of work, instead of taking it all in one go.
Unpaid leave: Eligible employees can take unpaid parental leave to look after their child’s welfare for example to:
- spend more time with their children
- look at new schools
- settle children into new childcare arrangements
- spend more time with family, such as visiting grandparents
Infant free school meals
Your child will be able to receive free school meals if they’re in:
If you also receive any of the benefits below, let your school know as they could get extra money to help pupils.
Year 3 and above
Free school meals are meals provided to pupils whose parents are in receipt of any of the following:
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Universal Credit (with annual earned income of no more than £7,400 after tax and not including any benefits you get)
The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
Support under Part 6 (VI) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
Child Tax Credit provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income (before tax) of no more than £16,190 per year
Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also receive free school meals.
How to apply
You should contact your child's school to arrange free school meals.
What is the Healthy Start scheme?
The Healthy Start scheme can help you buy basic foods like milk, fruit or vegetables if you’re pregnant or have a child under 4. If you qualify for the scheme you’ll be sent vouchers you can use in over 30,000 shops in the UK.
You can also get coupons to swap for free vitamins suitable for:
- pregnant women
- breastfeeding women
- children aged 6 months to 5 years old
You will qualify for the Healthy Start scheme if either:
- you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant
- you have at least 1 child under 4 years old
In addition, you must be receiving any of the following:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Child Tax Credit (but only if your family’s annual income is £16,190 or less)
- Universal Credit (but only if your family earns £408 or less from employment)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Working Tax Credit (but only if your family is receiving the 4 week ‘run-on’ payment)
You’ll also be eligible for the Healthy Start scheme if you’re pregnant and under 18, even if you don’t receive any benefits.
How to claim
Application form for Healthy Start vouchers (to fill in and print off)
You’ll need to get your midwife, health visitor or registered doctor or nurse to sign it before returning it.
What is the Sure Start Maternity Grant?
The Sure Start Maternity Grant is a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child.
You usually qualify for the grant if both of the following apply:
- you’re expecting your first child, or you’re expecting a multiple birth (such as twins) and have children already
- you or your partner already get certain benefits
If you already have children you may still be able to get a grant if you’re expecting a multiple birth (such as twins or triplets).
How to claim
You can claim from:
- 11 weeks before the week your baby is due. The latest you can claim is 3 months after your baby is born.
- if you’re becoming responsible for a child, you must claim within 3 months of this happening.
Carer’s Allowance (CA)
You could get £62.70 a week if you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week and they (the person you care for) receive one of the following benefits:
Personal Independence Payment - daily living component
Disability Living Allowance - the middle or highest care rate
Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
Armed Forces Independence Payment
You don’t have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for however you won’t be paid extra if you care for more than one person.
For more information:
Carer’s Allowance (GOV.UK)
Carer's Credit is a National Insurance (NI) contribution to help make sure you don't lose out on some social security benefits, such as the State Pension, because of gaps in your NI record. You can get it if you look after someone for more than 20 hours a week and you don't get Carer's Allowance.
For more information
Carer's Credit (GOV.UK)
Carer Premium is an allowance you get on top of some benefits. You can get it if you already get a benefit, such as Income Support or Housing Benefit.
How to claim Carer Premium
Ask about it at your local Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office.
Disability Living Allowance for children
You could receive between £22.65 and £145.35 a week. You can get it if you're the parent carer of a disabled child.
For more information
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) (GOV.UK)
Check what benefits you can get
Check if you're entitled to Carer's Allowance and other benefits with the entitled to benefits calculator.
Get a carer's assessment
As a carer, you may be eligible for support from your local council. Before you receive any help from your local council, you need to have a carer's assessment.
Get help and advice
Get expert benefits advice, plus help to fill in claim forms, from:
Carers UK helpline on 0808 808 777
Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053
Age UK on Freephone 0800 169 6565
Citizens Advice on 03444 111 444
Gingerbread (for single parents) on 0808 802 0925
- Family Rights Group on Freephone 0808 801 0366
How to challenge a benefit decision
You can challenge a benefit decision if:
your benefit payment is stopped
your claim for a benefit is refused
Find out how to challenge a benefit decision (Carers UK)
What is Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability if you’re aged 16 to 64. You could get between £22.00 and £141.10 a week. The rate depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself. You’ll need an assessment to work out the level of help you get. Your rate will be regularly reassessed to make sure you’re getting the right support.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults (but not for children under 16 years of age). You’ll continue to get DLA until the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) writes to you to:
- tell you when it will end
- invite you to apply for PIP
For more information:
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) (GOV.UK)
What is Disability Living Allowance (DLA)?
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children may help with the extra costs of looking after a child who:
- is under 16
- has difficulties walking or needs more looking after than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability
Usually, to qualify for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children the child must:
- be under 16
- need extra looking after or have walking difﬁculties
- be in Great Britain, another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland when you claim - there are some exceptions, such as family members of the Armed Forces
- have lived in Great Britain for 2 of the last 3 years, if over 3 years old
- be habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands
- not be subject to immigration control
There are some exceptions to these conditions if the child is living or coming from another EEA country or Switzerland.
How to claim
Groups, organisations and charities in Buckinghamshire that can help you in times of need. From Food Banks, finding housing and trusted money advice.
Information on: claiming benefits you may be entitled to, saving money on your household bills and where to get advice and local support.