Other help you might qualify for if you get tax credits

If you are claiming tax credits because you're on a low income, or have children, you may be entitled to other support from the government.

On this page:

Help with health costs

Most National Health Service (NHS) treatment is free - including Health Service (HS) treatment in Northern Ireland. But there can be charges for some things. This sometimes depends on where you live.

If there is a charge for your treatment, and you get tax credits because you're on a low income, you could get help. This help includes:

  • free NHS/HS prescriptions, wigs and fabric supports - if they are not already free
  • free dental treatment and eyesight tests
  • vouchers towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses
  • help with the cost of travel for some NHS/HS treatment

How to qualify

If you qualify, you will automatically get an NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate sent to you in the post. You can find out more about NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificates from the Tax Credit Exemption Office on Tel 0300 330 1347. If you use a textphone, dial 18001 before this number to use the Text Relay service.

Help with health costs in England on the NHS choices website (Opens new window)

Help with health costs in Wales on the NHS Wales website (Opens new window)

Help with health costs in Scotland on the Scottish Government website (Opens new window)

Help with health costs in Northern Ireland on nidirect (Opens new window)

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Healthy Start

With Healthy Start you can get:

  • coupons to exchange for free vitamins
  • weekly vouchers to buy milk, plain fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables, or infant formula milk

If you get Child Tax Credit and are on a low income you could qualify. You'll need to be at least 10 weeks pregnant, or have a child under four.

If you are pregnant and under the age of 18, you will automatically qualify whether or not you get Child Tax Credit or other benefits.

You won't qualify if you get Working Tax Credit, unless it's just the four week extension of your payments - often called a 'run-on'. You may get a run-on after you stopped qualifying for Working Tax Credit - for example if you've stopped work or reduced your hours.

To claim Healthy Start vouchers and vitamin coupons you have to fill in an application form. You can get one online from the Healthy Start website, or you can call their helpline on Tel 0845 607 6823.

Healthy Start website (Opens new window)

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Sure Start Maternity Grant

If you're on a low income and getting tax credits, you could get a Sure Start Maternity Grant. This is a one-off payment to help towards the cost of maternity and baby items. The grant is tax-free and you don't have to repay it.

The grant is £500 paid as a lump sum. If you've had twins or triplets for example, you can get £500 for each baby. You can't normally get the grant if you've already got other children under 16, but there are exceptions to this.

You'll qualify, if you're getting either of the following:

  • Child Tax Credit - at a rate higher than the family element
  • Working Tax Credit that includes the disability or severe disability element

To find out which tax credit elements or payments you get, check Part 2 of your award notice - How we work out your tax credits.

You may still qualify even if you're not the mother or expectant mother of the baby - for example if you're adopting a baby.

It's important to know that there are time limits for claiming the grant.

Sure Start Maternity Grant for England, Scotland and Wales on GOV.UK (Opens new window)

Sure Start Maternity Grant for Northern Ireland on nidirect (Opens new window)

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Child Benefit information

If you're responsible for a child, you can normally get Child Benefit for them - even if you're not their parent. If you qualify, you get £20.50 per week for the eldest child and £13.55 per week for each additional child.

You don't have to be receiving tax credits to get Child Benefit.

What is Child Benefit?

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Help with the cost of your children's schooling

Your children could get free school meals if you get Child Tax Credit only - sometimes if you get Working Tax Credit as well. But it depends on the income your tax credits have been worked out on, and where you live in the UK.

If you get tax credits, you might be able to get help towards the cost of school uniforms or activities such as school trips.

Your child could also get free school transport, for example if you're on a low income. But it's important to know that the rules are different depending on where you live in the UK.

It's worth checking the rules for your area with your local council, authority, or Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland.

Find your local council on GOV.UK (Opens new window)

Northern Ireland Education and Library Boards contact details on nidirect (Opens new window)

Help with school costs for Northern Ireland on nidirect (Opens new window)

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The Child Trust Fund

The Child Trust Fund is a long-term tax-free savings account, for children born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011.

If your child was born between these dates, they may be entitled to at least £50 to open a Child Trust Fund account. You'll need to get Child Benefit for them.

Children born on or after 3 January 2011 don't get any payments.

To qualify you don't have to be getting tax credits. But you usually need to have been paid Child Benefit for at least one day before 4 January 2011. There are exceptions to this, for example, if you get a European family benefit or if your child is looked after by a local authority.

Child Trust Fund information on GOV.UK (Opens new window)

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Help with funeral expenses

If you get tax credits, you may be able to get a Funeral Payment from the Social Fund. You might have to repay some or all of it from the estate of the person who died.

To qualify, you need to be getting either of the following:

  • Child Tax Credit at a rate higher than the family element
  • Working Tax Credit that includes the disability or severe disability element

To find out which tax credit elements or payments you get, check Part 2 of your award notice - How we work out your tax credits.

A Funeral Payment includes necessary burial or cremation fees, certain other specified expenses and up to £700 for any other funeral expenses. This could be for things such as the funeral director's fees, the coffin or flowers. If you have any other means of paying for the funeral, other than personal savings, you may not be entitled to the payment.

Funeral Payments for England, Scotland and Wales on GOV.UK (Opens new window)

Funeral Payments for Northern Ireland on nidirect (Opens new window)

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Other help

If you qualify for tax credits, you may be able to get help with other payments such as:

  • court fees
  • legal costs
  • prison visits
  • metered water charges in England and Wales
  • essential house repairs or improvements
  • home energy efficiency schemes

Download leaflet on other types of help you could get (PDF 382K)

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More useful links

Benefits information on GOV.UK (Opens new window)

Citizens Advice website (Opens new window)

Getting proof of tax credits payments if you claim other benefits

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