Children and Families Information Service - financial help

When you have had a baby, you may be entitled to receive some financial assistance to help with the cost of bringing up your child.

There are many forms of financial assistance available depending on your personal circumstances.  The more common payments that parents receive are Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits.

Childcare Costs leaflet (PDF 132KB)

Child Benefit is paid at £20.30 a week for your first child and £13.40 a week for each additional child.  Find out who qualifies and how to claim Child Benefit.

Depending on your circumstances you may be able to claim Child Tax Credit if you are responsible for a child under 16 or young person up to 19 who is in full time education.  The amount you get depends on how many children you have, your total household income and whether any of your children are disabled.  Find out who qualifies and how to claim Child Tax Credit.

Other financial assistance available:

  • Income Support - Can provide extra money to help people on low income, who work less than 16 hours a week or don't have to sign on as unemployed. Qualifying will depend on your circumstances, applying is available through Job Centre Plus on 0845 604 3719 or

  • Council Tax Credits - Council Tax Benefit helps people on low income to pay their Council Tax bill.  It is assessed by comparing your household, any other adults living with you and your personal circumstances with your income.  To find out if you are entitled visit the following depending on where you live

Carlisle City Council: council tax credit

Eden District Council: council tax credit

Copeland Borough Council: council tax credit

Allerdale Borough Council: council tax credit

South Lakeland District Council: council tax credit

  • Housing Benefit - You could get Housing Benefit if you are on a low income, whether you are working or not, and need financial help to pay all or part of your rent.  If you think you qualify contact Job Centre Plus on 0845 604 3719.
  • Free School Meals / School Clothing Grant - Your child (ren) could get Free School Meals if you receive an income based benefit. For more information call 01946 506200 or apply online for free school meals.

If you are expecting a baby or thinking about planning a family, you can find out more about balancing family and work in the Balancing Family and Work leaflet (PDF, 761kB).

Maternity Leave - entitles employees to 52 weeks Statutory Maternity leave, regardless of length of services or the number of hours you work.  The first 26 weeks is called Ordinary Maternity Leave and the next 26 weeks is called Additional Maternity Leave. 
Statutory maternity leave and pay information

Statutory Maternity Pay - will be paid for 39 weeks.  This is made up of 90% of your average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks followed by 33 weeks of £136.78 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower)

Maternity Allowance - is usually paid if you don't qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay.  It is paid for 39 weeks at £136.78 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) 
Statutory maternity allowance information

To qualify you must have worked for at least 26 weeks during the 66 weeks before your baby is due and be earning at least £30.00 a week over any 13 week period.

Other allowances available:

  • Paternity Leave - If a father has worked for an employer for 26 weeks by the 15th week before the baby is due and earned at least £109.00 a week, he will be entitled to take two weeks off work following the birth of his child. 
    Information on how to claim paternity leave

  • Adoption Leave - To qualify for Adoption Leave you must have worked continuously for your employer for at least 26 weeks by the beginning of the week you're matched with a child.  Your salary and number of hours worked is not taken into account when qualifying.  
    Information on adoption leave

As a parent you have additional rights, such as flexible working, parental leave and time off for dependants.

Parental Leave - entitles you to take 18 weeks unpaid leave up until you child's 5th birthday.  If your child has a disability you are entitled to 18 weeks unpaid leave up until the child's 18th birthday. 
Parental leave information

Parental leave should be taken in week/s blocks, and you cannot take off more than four weeks during a year.  Your employer much be given at least 21 days notice in writing stating when you wish to take the leave.

Flexible Working - is a term used to describe a range of working patterns which can help with work-life balance.  Flexible working requests can relate to hours, place and patterns of work. 
Flexible working information

To qualify you have to have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks, and have not made another application during the previous 12 months.

Further advice on making a flexible working application is available from working families website.