Many families are entitled to some sort of cash help from the government but the problem for so many parents, is that they can find it quite a challenge to work out which benefits they qualify for and how to claim for them.
Raising a family is hard enough as it is, so here is a look at how you might be able to claim some help with the task and pay for things that you and your children need.
The most basic form of government help for families is child benefit and anyone who is responsible for a child is entitled to receive payment.
If either you, or your partner, earn an individual income that exceeds £50,000 per year, the person with the highest income in the household will almost certainly have to pay back some or all of the child benefit in extra tax.
Free prescriptions and help with treatments
Women still in their pregnancy and new mothers in the first 12 months after their child is born, qualify for free prescriptions and treatments for dental work or eye tests.
You can also potentially get help with funding for glasses or eye surgery, and in this article there is also information to help you work out what health costs are covered through the NHS health costs advice line.
Qualifying for laser eye surgery
There is a chance that if you need laser eye surgery, you might qualify to have the treatment on the NHS.
The qualifying criteria are based on the scenario that without treatment, you could suffer loss of vision. If however, you have a condition that could be treated successfully in another way, such as suffering from a refractive error, you will be unlikely to qualify.
All funding decisions are taken on a local basis by the relevant NHS body covering your area and they will look at factors such as the clinical effectiveness of the procedure and whether it represents value for money, when evaluating your claim for financial assistance to have laser eye surgery.
Another benefit that you might qualify for as a pregnant woman or a new mum is the Sure Start maternity grant.
If you meet the qualifying criteria of having a low income and already receiving certain benefits or tax credits, you may be entitle to receive a one-off payment of £500 to help you with the cost of raising your first baby, which you are not required to pay back.
If you are at least 10 weeks into your pregnancy or already have a child who is aged under 4 years, you could qualify for vouchers that will give you the chance to claim free milk, fresh fruit and vegetables.
The qualify criteria to receive Healthy Start vouchers varies according to your circumstances, but you usually qualify if you are already on benefits, pregnant and under 18 years of age.
It may sometimes be confusing and even daunting trying to claim what you are entitled to, but follow links to government sites that give you clear instructions on how to claim and terms of eligibility.
Your priority will always to take care of your child, so make sure you claim all of the help you are entitled to.
Carl Robinson has been a part of the eyecare world for a long time now. An avid writer, he likes to post about his experiences online whenever he has the time. Look for his articles on a variety of websites and blogs.