Find out how to access support including tax credit, childcare vouchers, tax-free childcare, help from your employer, and funded places.
The government website Childcare Choices provides lots of information about eligibility for different types of childcare funding.
You may also find the following useful.
- Find information on the 15 hours funded childcare for 2 year olds here.
- Find information on the 15 or 30 hours funded childcare for 3 and 4 year olds here.
- Choose a childcare provider.
Types of help with childcare costs
Child tax credit is a benefit to help with the cost of raising a child. You may be able to receive it if you are over 16 and responsible for a child who is either:
- under 16; or
- under 20 and in full-time education or training.
You can't claim child tax credit if you are claiming universal credit.
You don't need to be working to claim child tax credit.
See the GOV.UK child tax credit page for an overview of this benefit. Guidance on child tax credit is also available from Money Advice Service.
Working tax credit is designed to top up your earnings if you work and you are on a low income.
You can't claim working tax credit if you already get universal credit.
Tax credits are tax-free and you don't have to be paying national insurance or tax to qualify.
You could get working tax credit if either of the following apply:
- you are 16 to 24 and have a child or a qualifying disability; or
- you are 25 or over, with or without children.
- work a certain number of hours a week;
- get paid for the work you do (or expect to); and
- have an income below a certain level.
The basic amount of working tax credit is up to £1,960 a year. You could get more (or less) depending on your circumstances and income.
See the GOV.UK working tax credit page for an overview of this benefit. Guidance on working tax credit is also available from the Money Advice Service.
Universal credit is a new type of benefit designed to support people who are on a low income or out of work. It will replace six existing benefits and is currently being rolled out across the UK. The new system is based on a single monthly payment, transferred directly into a bank account. At present universal credit only affects newly unemployed people in certain areas of the country.
Universal credit is a single monthly payment for people in or out of work, which merges together some of the benefits and tax credits that you might be getting now.
Universal credit will replace:
- income-based jobseeker's allowance;
- income-related employment and support allowance;
- income support;
- child tax credit;
- working tax credit; and
- housing benefit.
See the GOV.UK universal credit page for an overview of this benefit. Guidance on universal credit is also available from the Money Advice Service.
Payments from your employer to your registered or approved childcare provider are known as directly contracted childcare.
Many employers offer their workers help to pay for childcare. This can include:
- paying you cash to pay for childcare;
- paying the childcare fees directly; or
- paying the child's school fees.
You will be liable for tax and national insurance contributions if your employer offers any of these. There are also other types of childcare support your employer could provide without you having to pay tax or national insurance contributions, including:
- childcare vouchers;
- directly contracted childcare; and
- workplace nurseries.
This GOV.UK leaflet has more information on getting help from your employer. Guidance on help with childcare costs is also available from the Money Advice Service.
You can use these to pay your childcare provider, who will claim the value of the voucher from the voucher company or from your employer, usually by direct payment into their bank account. Some employers administer the scheme themselves; others use a voucher company to run the scheme. Many people receive their vouchers as an e-voucher but you can receive it as a paper voucher.
See the Childcare Voucher Providers Association childcare vouchers page for more details.
A new scheme, called tax free childcare is available for parents to replace the existing employer voucher scheme. It will be rolled out in stages starting with the youngest children first. You can find out more information through the Childcare Choices and GOV.UK - Access childcare support through the childcare service websites.
The new scheme will be open to single parents / couples who work eight or more hours a week (including self-employed) and who pay for Ofsted-registered childcare for a child under the age of 12 (or 16 if the child is disabled).
Eligible families will get 20 per cent of their annual childcare costs paid for by the government up to a maximum of £2,000 per child. Maximum eligible costs are set at £10,000 per year per child.
Annual income limits in the new scheme are set at £2,420 up to £150,000 for a single parent, and from £4,840 up to £300,000 where both parents work.
You can read this GOV.UK tax-free childcare news story for more details.
The care to learn scheme can help with childcare costs while you study.
You must be aged under 20 at the start of your course.
The scheme is available for publicly-funded courses in England. This includes courses in:
- sixth forms in schools; and
- sixth form colleges.
See the GOV.UK care to learn page for an overview of this benefit. Guidance on care to learn is also available from the Money Advice Service website.
Disability living allowance is a tax-free benefit for disabled children and adults to help with extra costs you may have because of your disability. If you claim for a disabled child, your child must need significantly more help or supervision than other children of the same age.
See the GOV.UK disability living allowance page for more details.
If you need more information or help, contact the families information service helpline:
Telephone: 01609 533483
Mobile: Text “info” to 07624 802425