Full list of help parents can apply for NOW for school holidays

PARENTS worried about covering the cost of the school holidays could get extra help worth hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

From food vouchers and uniform grants to free cash for childcare – here’s what YOU could get NOW and how to apply.

Parents worrying about extra costs in school holidays could get extra cash

Parents worrying about extra costs in school holidays could get extra cashCredit: Getty

Food vouchers – up to £442

Anyone who gets free school meals for their kids in the term time will be eager to cover the extra food bills over the break.

Many councils offer vouchers to use at supermarkets over the six-week holiday – but this depends on where you live.

Some councils are providing school meal vouchers through the Household Support Fund (HSF).

But this fund is also offering broader help and if you don’t get free school meals you might still be able to get help with food costs and other essentials.

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Check out the government’s website for a full list of eligibility criteria for free school meals if you’re not claiming already.

You can check directly with your local council what they are offering over the school holidays.

And you can see what help there is via the household support fund regardless in your area – find your local council using the government’s online checker tool.

For instance, in North Yorkshire you can get £150 of e-vouchers to spend at supermarkets like Asda and Aldi among others.

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And don’t forget if you’re pregnant or responsible for children under four-years old, you can apply for Healthy Start food vouchers.

You’ll need to be on certain benefits and the vouchers are to be used for fruit, veg and milk or formula.

This help could be worth as much as £442 a year depending on your circumstances.

Check out who’s eligible and how to apply in our full guide.

School uniform grant – up to £200

If you’re already prepping for the return to school a grant to help with uniform costs could make all the difference to your budget.

The amount you can get depends on where you live, but could be as much as £200.

But some areas offer nothing at all, so check with your local council what help is available.

You’ll generally be eligible for the help if you are on a low income and claiming benefits like Universal Credit, but your child’s age and school can also be a part of the criteria.

Check out The Sun’s full guide to school uniform grants and how to get the help.

Cost of living payment – £326

Meanwhile millions of households will get a cost of living payment in just a few weeks if they are on a low income.

The first half of the £650 cost of living payment will go out to those getting the following means-tested benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income support
  • Pension Credit

Payments will start from July 14 and arrive in bank accounts before the end of the month, separate to the usual amount you get.

To get the cash, you will need to be on eligible benefits or have begun a successful claim which is later, as of May 25 this year.

If you miss that date and claim Universal Credit after this then you could still be eligible for the second half of the payment later in the Autumn.

The payments are designed to help in the cost of living crisis which has seen the price of essentials like food and bills rocket.

Childcare – FREE or up to £4k a year

There are a range of tax breaks and grant to help make childcare more affordable. 

You can usually use them for care like registered childminders, nannies, playschemes, nurseries and holiday clubs.

It’s worth checking the government’s handy childcare costs calculator to find out which scheme will save you the most money, as not all of them can be used at the same time.

Tax-free childcare

You can get up to £500 every three months – up to a maximum of £2,000 a year – for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare. 

If your child is disabled, it’s even more – £1,000 every three months, up to £4,000 per year.

To receive the tax-free benefit you need to create an online childcare account.

For every £8 you pay into this account, the government will add £2 which you can use to pay your approved provider. 

You should bear in mind that you can’t claim tax-free childcare if you receive working tax credit, child tax credit, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers.

Your tax credits will stop immediately if you successfully apply for tax-free childcare. You will also have to cancel your Universal Credit and childcare vouchers.

Use the government’s calculator tool to work out which option will work best for you.

Universal Credit childcare costs

If you claim Universal Credit, you might be able to get a refund on most of your child care costs.

You can claim back 85% of childcare costs up to £646 for one child or £1108 for two or more up to August 31 following the child’s 16th birthday.

You will have to pay your childcare costs yourself up front and then claim the money back through Universal Credit – here’s the government’s guide on how to do that.

15 or 30 hours free childcare

All three to four year old children in England are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare – amounting to 570 hours per year – from the term after their 3rd birthday.

The free allowance is usually taken as 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year, but it is possible to take it at a time that suits you.

For example, you could take fewer hours over more weeks.

The free early education and childcare must be with an approved childcare provider and stops when your child starts school.

Parents are expected to cover extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.

Working parents may be eligible to get up to 30 hours free childcare if they are working at least 16 hours a week on average and earning the National Minimum Wage or more.

Check out what you could get and apply online at gov.uk.

Free childcare for 2 year olds

Parents living in England and claiming certain benefits can access free childcare for their two-year-olds, including:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
  • tax credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

However, you may still have to cover extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.

More help with rising costs

Low-income families may be eligible for charitable grants to cover housing costs.

As grants are typically different to loans, most do not have to be paid back.

Turn2Us has a tool that can help you check out grants available near you on its website.

Council tax bill reductions are available for those on low-incomes, people claiming certain benefits, those caring for others as well as other circumstances.

The amount your bill is reduced by can range from 25% off to 100% which would mean you pay nothing at all for this bill.

You can check out when you might get a council tax discount in our guide or contact your local council to check what support you can claim and apply.

Around 80% of households will get a £150 council tax rebate to help with the rising cost of living.

You’ll get it if you’re in council tax bands A-D, and a discretionary fund is also available for households not eligible or that need help on top and will give out payments of up to £150 too.

Here’s everything you need to know about the scheme.

Millions of Brits are missing out on benefits they’re entitled to adding up to billions of pounds in total unclaimed each year.

Benefit calculators can help you check what you could be entitled to.

For instance you might get extra cash if you’re looking after someone else or for housing costs.

There are several benefit checker tools you can use – here’s our guide.

There’s cash help for anyone struggling that’s available from your local council through the discretionary housing payment.

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Some councils also offer support through the welfare support fund, to help cover the costs of essentials, from buying new furniture to food vouchers.

An investigation by The Sun found that hard-up Brits can apply for help worth up to £1,000.

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