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Other help with childcare costs

As well as funded childcare places, there may be other support with childcare costs you might be eligible for.

What are funded childcare places?

If eligible, 2 years olds can receive up to 15 hours of funded childcare per week. Read more about 15 hours funding for 2 year olds.

All 3 and 4 year olds can receive 15 hours of funded childcare per week. Read more about 15 hours funding for 3 and 4 year olds.

Some 3 and 4 year olds may also be eligible to receive up to 30 hours funded childcare per week. Read more about 30 hours funding for 3 and 4 year olds.

What is tax free childcare?

Tax free childcare ia available to eligible parents with children under 12 (or under 17 for disabled children).

Tax Free Childcare is an online account that you can use to pay for registered childcare. The government will top up the money that you pay in. For every £8 you pay in, an extra £2 will be added. 

In order to be eligible you, and any partner, must each expect to earn (on average) at least £125 per week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage). If you, or your partner, are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or you're unable to work because you are disabled or have caring responsibilities, you could still be eligible. 

Read more about tax free childcare on the Childcare Choices website

What are childcare vouchers?

The Childcare Voucher Scheme will be closed to new entrants from October 2018. 

Childcare Vouchers are offered through your employer. If your employer offers Childcare vouchers you can get up to £933 a year in tax and national Insurance savings. 

Childcare Vouchers allow you to pay for your childcare before any tax or national insurance deductions are made on what you earn. 

You will need to speak with your employer about whether they offer Childcare Vouchers. 

Read more about childcare vouchers on the Childcare Choices website

What are tax credits for childcare?

Universal Credit is being phased in over the next few years. It will replace a number of existing benefits, including tax credits.

If you are entitled to Working Tax Credit, and you and any partner are working at least 16 hours a week each, you can claim back up to 70% of your eligible childcare costs for children under 16 (or under 17 for disabled children). Depending on your income, you could get up to £122.50 a week for one child or £210 for two or more.

  • You can use tax credits for childcare to help pay:
  • Registered childminders, nurseries and nannies
  • Registered after-school clubs and playschemes
  • Registered schools
  • Home careworkers working for a registered home care agency

You may also be eligible for child tax credit, even if you’re not working.

Read more about child tax credit on the Childcare Choices website

What is Universal Credit for childcare?

Working families claiming Universal credit, with a child under 16, can claim back up to 85% of eligible childcare costs. 

You could get up to £646 a month for one child, or £1,108 for two or more. 

You can use it to help pay for registered childcare. You can search for an Ofsted registered childcare provider on our FISH directory.

Read more about Universal Credit on the Childcare Choices website

Can I get any support with childcare costs while I study?

Care to learn

If you are/were under 20 years old at the start of a publicly-funded course, such as at school or sixth form, you could get up to £160 per child per week towards childcare costs, childcare deposits, childcare taster sessions, keeping childcare places over summer holidays and transporting your child to their childcare provider. 

Read more about support while you study on the Childcare Choices website

Discretionary Learner Support

If you are 20 years old or over, and in further education such as studying for an NVQ, BTEC or PGCE, you can apply for Discretionary Learner Support.

How much you can receive will depend on your individual circumstances. 

You can apply directly to your learning provider (eg college) - they each have their own application process.

Read more about support while you study on the Childcare Choices website

Childcare Grant

If you are in full-time higher education you can apply for a Childcare Grant to help pay for up to 85% childcare costs for children under 15 (or under 17 if they have a Special Educational Need)

You must be eligible for Student Finance to apply for the Childcare Grant. 

Read more about support while you study on the Childcare Choices website

Which type of funding or financial support is best for me?

The government's new Childcare Choices website is a great place to see what financial help and support is available, and which one is right for you and your family:

Childcare Choices website

Can you give me an idea of how much financial help might I receive?

Take a look at GOV.UK's childcare cost calculator.

It's easy to use and can quickly give you an idea of what you might be entitled to:

Calculate your entitlement online now 

Are there any other benefits or financial support which could help me and my family?

There are other benefits available to those eligible such as council tax support, help paying your rent or free school meals that can help you and your family. Take a look at other benefits you may be entitled to.