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Coronavirus

Due to the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation, some of the organisations listed on here are still in the process of posting service updates. Many phone lines and websites are still available, but some contact details have changed. Try the organisation's own website if you're having difficulty getting through.

If you have any queries, please email us at dos@reading.gov.uk or fis@reading.gov.uk

Family Finance

This page has information on where to find out more about the benefits /funding available for families, also organisations that can help advise families on the benefits that may be available to them.

Last reviewed May 2020.

Benefits for families on a low income or out of work

Universal Credit, has replaced income-based jobseeker's allowance (JSA), income-related employment and support allowance (ESA), income support, child tax credit, working tax credit and housing benefit. This is a single universal credit payment made once a month. To find out more about Universal Credit please visit.  https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

To find out if you may be eligible to housing benefit (if you receive universal credit, this will be included in your monthly payment) or a council tax reduction visit Reading Borough Council ~ Council Tax Support .

Maternity payments / allowances

To find out about statutory maternity pay please visit. https://www.gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave

If you are not entitled to statutory maternity pay, then visit. https://www.gov.uk/maternity-allowance

You may be entitled to a maternity grant of £500 if this is your first child or in receipt of certain benefits.  https://www.gov.uk/sure-start-maternity-grant

If you are pregnant or have a child of under 4 years of age and in receipt of certain benefits, you may be eligible to Healthy Start vouchers. Vouchers can be spent on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins. https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/

Who can claim child benefit?

Many families are entitled to child benefit for their children. 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. To find out more and how to apply visit. https://www.gov.uk/child-benefit

Advice on maternity payments

Maternity Action is a national charity “committed to ending inequality and improving the health and wellbeing of pregnant women, partners and young children – from conception through to the child’s early years”. https://maternityaction.org.uk/

ACAS gives employees and employers free, impartial advice on workplace rights, rules and best practice (which includes maternity pay and leave). They also offer training and help to resolve disputes. https://www.acas.org.uk/your-maternity-leave-pay-and-other-rights

Help with childcare costs / funding

Our Childcare Costs advice and guidance page, has information on the help available including for parents who are studying: 

This useful government website has a funding checker https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/

For more details visit our advice and guidance pages on:

2 Year Old Education & Childcare Funding

3 & 4 Year Old Free Early Years Funding (including 30 Hours Childcare)

Tax-Free Childcare: Helping Working Parents Pay for Childcare

Who can receive free school meals?

Children attending government funded schools and in Reception, Yr1 or Yr2 classes receive free school meals. Older children may be eligible if their families are in receipt of certain benefits. For more information on eligibility https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals

If you think you are eligible, visit https://brighterfuturesforchildren.org/schools/school-meals/

Where to get free impartial money advice

For free and impartial money advice, set up by the government visit https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk

How to find help when you are in Debt

For information on debt advice and services visit our Debt Support Services Advice & Guidance Page

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