Benefits and grants

Financial help for you and your family


Have a discussion with a benefits expert to make sure you’re getting all of the help to which you’re entitled. These advisers may be able to find grants that help you manage a financial emergency.

Checking that you’re receiving all eligible benefits

The benefits system is complicated and often hard to navigate. That might be why some people aren’t getting everything they should be.

Make the Call is a government service that checks if you’re getting the right benefits. Their advisers can work out if you’d be better off applying for different benefits and can link you in with other services designed to support you with certain issues.

Advice NI and local advice agencies across Northern Ireland can also check if your benefits are correct.

Help with housing costs

You can get some help with your housing costs if you’re on a low income. You may be able to get housing benefits to help you pay your rent or a loan to help you with your mortgage interest payments. Housing Rights can explain your options.

If you’re already getting help to pay your rent but it’s not covering the full amount, apply to the Housing Executive for extra money

You can get help to pay your rates bill if

  • you’re on Universal Credit  or
  • you’re pension age

Grants for financial emergencies

Finance Support is a government service that manages different grants and loans for people on low incomes. They can give you:

  • A grant to cover certain types of financial emergencies
  • An interest-free loan to help with other financial pressures
  • A living expenses grant if you’re waiting for your first payment of Universal Credit

If you’ve been turned down by Finance Support, a charity like the Glasspool Trust may be able to help with grants for essential white goods. Speak to your local advice agency, who can apply on your behalf.


Healthy Start – a Government Scheme

Healthy Start is a Government Scheme that helps you to buy healthy food and milk and get free vitamin supplements. If eligible you will be sent an NHS Healthy Start Card with money on it that you can use in some shops. The Card will be automatically topped up every 4 weeks.

  • You are eligible if you on a means-tested benefit like Universal Credit or Income Support and your take home pay is less than £408 per week from work.
  • If you are 10 or more weeks pregnant or have a child under 4.
  • If you are Under 18 and pregnant and not entitled to benefits.

How much will you get?

  • Your card will be topped up £4.25 per week from 10 weeks of Pregnancy.
  • When your baby is born you will receive £8.50 per week until they turn one.
  • You will get £4.25 per week when your child is between 1 and 4. Your money will stop when your youngest child turns 4 or when you stop receiving benefits.

What do you need to apply?

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of Birth
  • National Insurance Number
  • Baby’s due date (if you are pregnant)
  • Benefit award letter if you are over 19 – make sure to enter the exact details shown on your benefit award letter

Where do you apply?

For more information and to apply visit www.healthystart.nhs/how-to-apply OR you can call: 0300 330 7010 between 8am and 6pm.

You can also watch a video here.

Funds and benevolent societies

Some organisations provide grants to people who fit a particular profile or have a particular need. These can be charities, benevolent societies or funds tied to certain professions or unions.

 More resources