Help to pay for childcare

Last updated: 07/04/2022

You may get help to pay for registered childcare included in the benefits you receive.

Working Tax Credit to help to pay for childcare

If you get Working Tax Credit you can get help with up to 70% of registered childcare costs.

How much will I get?

There is a cap on the maximum amount you can get.

For 1 child the maximum you can get is £122.50 per week (70% of £175).

For 2 or more children the maximum you can get is £210 per week (70% of £300).

How much you actually get depends on how much you pay for childcare and your income.

 

How to apply

No new claims can be made for tax credits. If you are not already getting them you can apply for Universal Credit to help with childcare costs.

If you are already getting Child Tax Credit, and start working 16 hours per week or more, you can choose to get Working Tax Credit or apply for Universal Credit instead. Get advice before you make this decision so ensure you will not be worse off.

If you are already getting Working Tax Credit report any changes in your childcare costs online or by phone.

Report changes online at: www.gov.uk/changes-affect-tax-credits

Tax Credit Helpline: 0345 300 3900

You can also use Relay UK if you cannot hear or speak on the phone: dial 18001 then 0345 300 3900.

 

For more information on tax credits see: Tax Credits

Related links

Use the Gov.UK calculator to find out how much help you could get with childcare costs

Universal Credit to help pay for childcare

You may be able to get Universal Credit to pay to up to 85% of registered childcare costs.

How much will I get?

There is a cap on the maximum amount you can get.

For one child the most you can get is £646.35 per month (85% of £760).

For 2 or more children the most you can get is £1108.04 per month (85% of £1,300).

How much you actually get depends on how much you pay for childcare and your income.

 

How to apply

You can apply for childcare costs up to the September after your child’s 15th birthday, or 16th if your child is disabled and gets Disability Living Allowance, Child Disability Payment, Personal Independence Payment, is registered blind or severely sight-impaired.

For more information on Universal Credit and how to apply see: Universal Credit 

Help to pay for childcare

For more information and to compare the different options on help to pay for childcare, take a look at www.gov.uk/browse/childcare-parenting/childcare

Tax-Free childcare

You may be able to get tax-free childcare if you meet certain conditions.

Who can get it?

  • You must be working 16 or more hours per week and
  • expect to earn at least the National Minimum or Living Wage for the next 3 months.
  • Your income must be less than £100,000 per year.
  • You can claim for children up to the 1 September after their 11th birthday or
  • up to age 17 if they have a disability and get Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Armed Forces Independence Payment, Child Disability Payment or are certified as blind or severely sight-impaired.
  • Your childcare provider needs to be signed up to the scheme.

If you are self employed your earnings can be averaged out over the year. You can still get help if you do not earn enough but started your business less than 12 months ago.

You cannot get tax-free childcare if you are already receiving tax credits or Universal Credit. If you are getting one of these, and you apply for tax-free childcare, it will stop, and you may be financially worse off. 

 

How much you will get

For every £8 you spend on childcare the government will refund £2 into an account you need to open online.

Up to £2,000 per year can be refunded for each child, or up to £4,000 if your child has a disability.

 

How to apply

Applications are made online.

For more information and to apply see: Tax-free Childcare

Jobcentre Plus: Flexible Support Fund

The Flexible Support Fund (FSF) from Jobcentre Plus is money that can be used to help pay for something you need to start or stay in work.

This is a discretionary fund so how much you get will depend on how it is used within each Jobcentre Plus.

Ask your work coach how to apply for help from this fund to pay for childcare that would enable you to take, or stay in, a job.

 

 

Help to pay for childcare if you are a student

If you are studying full time you can apply to SAAS for the Lone Parent Childcare Grant to help pay for registered childcare. If this is not enough, or you are not eligible for it, you can ask for help from the college or university discretionary funds.

Ask at the college or university for details.