Using Universal Credit to pay for Childcare


Universal credit contains an element to help pay for childcare costs if you are working or have accepted a job offer.

It does not matter how many hours you work as long as the childcare you are paying for is registered with the Care Inspectorate.

You can only receive 85% of your childcare costs and there is a limit on how much you can get of £646.35, (85% of £760) per month for one child and £1,108.04, (85% of £1,300) per month for 2 or more children.

How much you receive is also affected by your income

Once you have accepted a job offer you can claim for help with childcare costs in the assessment period before you start work. This will allow you to get your children settled before you begin your new job, but remember you will have to pay 15% of the costs if you do this.


Ashley’s assessment period runs from the 5th of one month to the 4th of the next. She is due to start a job next month, but can start using childcare and get help to pay for it this month as long as she reports the childcare costs before the 5th of this month.

The childcare costs £200 per month but she can only get help to pay 85% of this from the childcare element of universal credit. Ashley will have to pay the other 15%, £30, from the other elements of her universal credit.

Claim from your online UC account

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