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Having children and raising a family can be expensive. There are a number of schemes to support families.

The government provides information on a number of different Benefits for families. This section provides links to information, advice and support so you can check to see what you may be entitled to and how to apply for them.

What benefits are you entitled to?

Help paying for childcare costs

There are schemes out there to help you with the costs of accessing childcare. As long as the childcare is Ofsted-registered, you may want to consider the following:

Free childcare for 2year old's  – Up to 15 hours of free childcare a week if you meet the qualifying criteria

Free childcare for 3 and 4 year old's – All 3 & 4 year olds are entitled to up to 15 hours of free early education a week from the term after their third birthday.

Additional 15 hours’ free childcare for 3 & 4 year olds – Effective from September 2017 for working parents. More details and further guidance to follow soon from Central Government.

Tax Free Childcare  Due to be introduced in early 2017, you’ll get 20% of your yearly childcare bill paid for by government.

Childcare Vouchers – An employee benefit offered either on top of your ordinary pay or through a ‘salary sacrifice’ scheme where you permanently give up some of your pay in return for childcare vouchers.

Childcare Choices -Brings together all the government childcare offers in one place. The new Childcare Choices website makes it easy to find out what's on offer for families.

Tax Credits – You could get help with up to 70% of your childcare costs.

Universal Credit – You may be able to claim back up to 85% of your childcare costs if you’re eligible this credit.

Please Note: You cannot claim Tax Credits and Universal Credit at the same time.


If you are studying, you may also be entitled to one or more of the following:

Parents Learning Allowance – Help with your learning costs if you’re a full-time student with children.

Care to Learn  Help with childcare costs while you study. You must be aged under 20 at the start of your course.

Discretionary Learner Support – Support if you’re aged 19 or over, on a further education course and facing financial hardship.

Childcare Grant – A grant for full time higher education students that doesn’t have to be paid back if you qualify.

Childcare and parenting support

Working and time off when you're having a baby, and financial support if you're claiming benefits

Help with health costs

If you have a low income, you may be able to get help with NHS costs through the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS). The scheme covers:

 For further information please visit the NHS website

The Citizens Advice wesbite also display a wealth of information and advice on benefits for people who are sick or disabled


Sources of advice and support

Below are organisations that can help provide further information and support on financial advice around debt, entitlements, benefits and grants.

GOV.UK – Information on Childcare and parenting

Gingerbread – Charity for single parents

Contact a Family - Charity for families with disabled children. Provide information, advice and support, helping to bring families together so they can support each other.

Turn2us – Helps people in financial hardship gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants, and support services.

Buttle UK – Grant programme helping children and young people in need

H&F Citizens Advice – Provides free, independent, and confidential advice to people who live, work or study in Hammersmith and Fulham

Crosslight Debt Advice – Independent charity dedicated to helping local people manage and avoid money and debt problems.

StepChange – Free advice to help deal with your debts

Money Advice Service – Free and impartial money advice

National Debt Line – Debt advice charity, who offer free help and advice on dealing with your debt in England and Wales

Age UK H&F – Gives practical help, advice, support and provides essential services for older people in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

H&F Credit Union Limited – H&F Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial co-operative providing low-cost loans and an ethical place to save for everyone who lives or works in the borough

Discretionary help

Local Support Payments

If you need help because of an emergency or a crisis you may be entitled to a Local Support Payment (LSP).

You may also qualify if you need help to remain or settle in the community.

The payments we award are usually furniture, white goods, or store vouchers.

Before you can claim a Local Support Payment you have to: 

  • be claiming a qualifying benefit, or about to claim one because you are leaving care or an institution such as hospital or prison
  • live in one of the boroughs listed above, or have been housed elsewhere by one of those boroughs
  • not have more than £1,000 savings, and not have had more than two LSPs in the last 12 months

If you think that you may be entitled to a payment you can apply here. You can apply online:

Local Support Payment Form

or call 020 7745 6464


Financial assessment for discretionary housing payment

After receiving housing benefit, if you are still in financial difficulty due to a shortfall between your benefit entitlement and the rent you are charged, you can apply for a discretionary housing payment (DHP).

We will look closely at your personal circumstances and your finances, and may make an additional award of benefit if you are suffering hardship. This benefit is paid from a fixed annual fund and is a discretionary payment and is not awarded to everyone who claims it.

Discretionary Housing Benefit Payment application (pdf)

A discretionary housing benefit payment form is different to the form that you will have filled in when you first claimed housing or council tax benefit. 

For more information please read our appeals and discretionary housing payment FAQs

Additional help

Child Benefit - if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training).

Apply for free school meals - Check if your child can get free school meals in England or Wales and find out how to apply on your local authority’s website.

Free travel to school - Your child may be eligible for free school travel, up to and including year 11 in Hammersmith & Fulham

Child Maintenance Options - Provides financial support to seperated parents. It can help towards a child's every day living costs.

Child Support Agency - Deals with applications for child maintenance, to support a child’s everyday living costs when separated from the other parent 

Claim if you were injured while serving in the armed forces - Claim compensation for any injury or illness that happened as a result of your service, including physical and mental conditions.

Carer’s Credit - Helps with gaps in your National Insurance record, if you’re caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week.

Guardian’s Allowance - if you’re bringing up a child whose parents have died.

National Asylum Support Service - Information on money available to asylum applicants who qualify for help with living costs.

Financial support during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Universal Credit

This easy read guide explains what Universal Credit is and how you can apply for it.

This easy read guide helps people with learning disabilities to understand:

  • what Universal Credit (UC) is
  • who can get UC
  • how to apply for UC

Easy read: Universal Credit - GOV.UK (

Find out more about Universal Credit.

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