Both payments are based on the income of the family or individual. As a rough measure, a couple with one child could claim tax credits if they earn less than £26,000 per year.Child tax credit is paid to the main carer of the children.You may be able to get help with paying some or all of your rent.

If you don’t live in an area where universal credit is being piloted, you can still apply for tax credits and some benefits separately.

It’s expected that most families who receive tax credits and benefits will move on to universal credit by 2017. Child benefit is £20.30 a week for your first child and £13.40 a week for subsequent children.

You may also qualify for a £500 Sure Start maternity grant.

This is designed to help you buy items you will need for your first baby or twins.

For the following 33 weeks, you will be paid the standard rate of £139.58, or 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings, whichever rate is lower.

If you’re not eligible for SMP, you may qualify for maternity allowance.

You don’t have to pay the money back, and it won’t affect your other benefits.

The latest you can claim the Sure Start maternity grant is three months after your baby is born.

If you’re pregnant and an employee, you may be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). You can claim maternity pay if: SMP is paid for a continuous period of up to 39 weeks.

For the first six weeks you will be paid 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings with no upper limit.

Universal credit will absorb some benefits and tax credits, which will be rolled up into a single monthly payment.