Child benefits and grants

Baby lying on his back reaching up for a toy

Information for families of babies born premature or sick about child benefits and grants.

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Child Benefit

Child Benefit is a regular payment made to anyone raising a child.

You may have to pay back some of your Child Benefit in tax if your (or your partner’s) individual income is over £50,000. Once you earn £60,000, you lose all of your benefit through tax.

Your Child Benefit payments are likely to be affected if your child is in hospital for more than 12 weeks. For more guidance about child benefits, visit the government website.

Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit

You can only make a new claim for tax credits if you get the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it.

Child Tax Credit is being replaced by Universal Credit, which is currently being rolled out. You might be able to apply for Universal Credit if you are unable to make a new claim for tax credits.

Visit the government website for more information on Child Tax Credit, and whether Universal Credit has replaced it in your area.

Sure Start Maternity Grant

A Sure Start Maternity Grant is a one-off payment to help you meet the costs of having a new baby if you are on a low income.

It is paid straight into your bank account and you do not have to pay it back. It is important to apply straight away to make sure you don’t miss out on any money.

Who can claim

If you get benefits or tax credits because you are on a low income, you might be able to get a Sure Start Maternity Grant. If you have money in savings, it won’t affect your claim. You can find out more information from your midwife, health visitor or GP or your local Jobcentre Plus. You can also visit the government website for more information.

Healthy Start scheme

The Healthy Start scheme in the UK can help you buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vegetables, and formula. You can also get coupons to swap for pregnancy vitamins, breastfeeding vitamins and vitamins for children aged 6 months to 5 years old. You can claim if you are over 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, and you are on other means-tested benefits.

Best Start Grant

If you live in Scotland, you cannot apply for a Sure Start Maternity grant (see above). But if you are eligible for other benefits, you can apply for a Best Start Grant. It comes in three cash payments: the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, the Early Learning Payment and the School Age Payment.

For more information, visit the Scottish Government’s website.

Best Start Foods

If you live in Scotland, you may be able to apply for a Best Start Foods card. This is a prepaid card that you can use to buy healthy foods for children under 3.

You can claim if you are not eligible for Healthy Start coupons but you receive certain other means-tested benefits.

For more information, visit the Scottish Government’s website.

Where you can find out more about these benefits

If you live in Scotland, the Scottish Government are currently working to identify families who may be eligible for Best Start Foods and the Best Start Grant, in response to COVID-19. See our COVID-19 page for more information.