Money (or lack of it) can be really stressful to deal with, but there is help available. There are a wide range of benefits and services and to make things little easier, we’ve pulled together some of those we think might be of use to you.
Depending on your situation, you may be able to apply for a grant from a charity, which you won’t need to pay back. For example, some charities give grants to people who have a particular disability or illness, some give grants to people because of their job or a job they’ve had in the past, and others give grants depending on your age or gender. Our friends at Turn2Us have a GRANT FINDER which you can use to see if there’s anything you can apply for in your area.
You can get Child Benefit for any of your children who are under 16 and live in the UK. If they stay in most types of school, college or training after that age you can get Child Benefit until they’re 20. Only one person can claim Child Benefit for a child. You should claim Child Benefit as soon as your child is born or, if they’re adopted, as soon as they come to live with you. Child Benefit can only be backdated for up to 3 months so if you claim it any time after this you’ll miss some payments. Visit www.gov.uk for more information on how to claim Child Benefit.
Child Tax Credit is another payment made by the Government to help with the cost of bringing up a child. It’s different from Child Benefit, which every child in the UK is eligible for, as not every household is eligible for Child Tax Credit. It depends on your circumstances, including your income, how many children are living with you and whether your child has a disability. The Government is currently introducing Universal Credit, a new type of benefit which will eventually replace tax credits, including Child Tax Credit. Visit www.gov.uk for more information on Child Tax Credit, and whether Universal Credit has replaced it in your area yet. If you’re thinking of claiming Universal Credit for the first time, you can get help and guidance through the process from Citizens Advice Scotland.
Children and young people in Scotland can receive Child Winter Heating Assistance if they’re under 19 years old and get one of the following ‘qualifying benefits’:
- the highest rate of the care component of Child Disability Payment
- the highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance for children
- the enhanced daily living component of Personal Independence Payment
- the enhanced rate of the daily living component of Adult Disability Payment.
They must be getting this on at least one day in the third full week of September. Eligible children and young people living in Scotland do not need to apply. They’ll get their payment automatically from Social Security Scotland.
It’s upsetting enough if your child needs to go into hospital without worrying about how you’ll pay the travel and extra food costs of visiting them every day. So if you are the parent or primary carer of a child (under 18) who is an inpatient in hospital, you can claim for financial help towards food, travel and, where appropriate, accommodation when you go to see them. Claims can be made through the Young Patients Family Fund. You can also claim for financial help towards food, travel and accommodation for any of your child’s brothers or sisters under 18 years old who are coming to the hospital to see their sibling. You must claim from the Young Patients Family Fund within 3 months of the young inpatient being discharged from hospital. You can find out more about the Young Patients Family Fund and make a claim on the mygov.scot website.
If you have a disabled child you may be eligible for additional financial support to help meet their care and mobility needs:
- There’s Child Disability Payment (which replaces Disability Living Allowance for Children) to help with their care and mobility needs.
- You may also be entitled to Carer’s Allowance.
- If your child is aged 16 or over they may be entitled to Adult Disability Payment.
- You may also be able to get a grant from the Family Fund.
Applying for benefits if your child is disabled can feel overwhelming at times, so for help and advice call the Money Talk Team or visit the Contact website for families with disabled children – they also have a helpline you can call.
All children get free school meals during term-time if they go to a local authority school and are in primary 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. Children in P6 and above can also get free lunches if you receive certain benefits. Older pupils aged above 16 can also receive free school meals if they receive the same qualifying benefits in their own right. Visit the mygov.scot website to find out if your child is eligible to receive free school meals. More information on help with school costs can also be found here.
If your child is 3 or 4 years old, you can access up to 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare a year (around 30 hours a week in term time). About a quarter of 2 year olds are also eligible. You can find out more about funded ELC here. In addition to the 1140 hours, you may be able to get help with childcare costs through tax credits for childcare, tax-free childcare or universal credit for childcare. Visit the Childcare Choices website to find out more.
Scottish Child Payment helps towards the costs of supporting your family. It’s a weekly payment of £25 that you can get for every child you look after who’s under 16 years of age. You’ll get the payment every 4 weeks if your application is successful. Scottish Child Payment is one of the 5 family payments you may be able to get from Social Security Scotland, along with Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods. It’s up to you what you choose to spend the money on.
You may be entitled to apply for a school clothing grant, which provides financial help towards the cost of buying a school uniform. School clothing grants are normally a cash grant paid directly into your bank account from your local council. Eligibility criteria for school clothing grants (i.e. who can apply) is set by local councils. Further information, and a direct link to local council websites, is available on the mygov.scot website.
Benefits, grants and loans if you’re disabled
If you’re child is disabled, there are a range of benefits you may be able to apply for.
- Some of these are provided by the UK Government – you can find out more about UK benefits here.
- Some are provided by the Scottish Government – you can find out more about Scottish Government payments here.
To work out what you’re entitled to it may be good idea to talk to our friends at Disability Information Scotland. Disability Information Scotland also offer helpful guides to benefits, grants and support.