Information about childcare support costs

Find out how to access support with your childcare costs including tax credit, tax free childcare and government funding.

Further information is available on the government website Childcare Choices.

You may also find the following useful.

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.

You must:

  • 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.

In the government scheme called tax-free childcare, working families can get up to £500 every three months (£2000 a year) for each of your children, to help with the costs of childcare. You can find out more about eligibility and how to claim here.

Find out about tax-free childcare

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:

  • schools;
  • 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 (DLA) for children may help with the extra costs of looking after a child who is:

  • Under 16; and
  • Has difficulties walking or needs much more looking after than a child of the same age who does not have a disability.

See the GOV.UK disability living allowance page for more information about eligibility and applying for Disability Living Allowance for children.