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Help paying for your childcare

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Childcare Choices

You can get help with paying for childcare if it's provided by an Ofsted Registered provider.

To find out what options are available to you the best place to start is Childcare Choices 

Use the Childcare Calculator to work out what help you can get with childcare costs including 

  • free childcare for children aged between 2 and 4
  • help with childcare costs if your child is under 16 (or under 17 and disabled)

You may qualify for 15 hours free childcare for eligible 2 year olds

All 3 and 4 year olds get 15 hours free childcare the term after their 3rd birthday

Working parents may qualify for 30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

Tax Credits

You can make a claim for Child Tax Credit if you already get Working Tax Credit. The amount you get will depend on when your child was born and you can only claim for children you're responsible for.

Child Tax Credit will not affect your Child Benefit.

If you have a baby, you might be able to get more money if you’re already getting Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit.

If you cannot make a new claim for Child tax credit, you might be able to apply for Universal Credit

Use the tax credits calculator to find out how much you could get

Universal Credit

You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or you cannot work.

Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs.

You may be able to get Universal Credit if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
  • you live in the UK

The number of children you have does not affect your eligibility for Universal Credit, but it may affect how much you get.

Use a benefits calculator to check what benefits you could get if you’re not eligible for Universal Credit.

If you’re 16 or 17

You can make a new claim for Universal Credit if any of the following apply:

  • you have medical evidence and are waiting for a Work Capability Assessment
  • you’re caring for a severely disabled person
  • you’re responsible for a child
  • you’re in a couple with responsibility for at least one child and your partner is eligible for Universal Credit
  • you’re pregnant and it’s 11 weeks or less before your expected week of childbirth
  • you’ve had a child in the last 15 weeks
  • you do not have parental support, for example you’re estranged from your parents and you’re not under local authority care

If you’re studying full-time

You can also make a claim if you’re in full-time further education and any of the following apply:

  • you do not have parental support and you’re not under local authority care
  • you have limited capability for work and you’re entitled to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • you’re responsible for a child
  • you’re in a couple with responsibility for a child and your partner is eligible for Universal Credit

Tax-free childcare

You may be eligible for Tax Free Childcare where for every £8 you pay into an online account, the government will add an extra £2, up to £2,000 per child per year. If you are not eligible for Tax Free Childcare you may qualify for Universal Credit

Help with childcare costs if you are studying

If you are studying you may qualify for 

Care to Learn

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
  • sixth-form colleges

Learner Support 

If you’re aged 19 or over, on a further education course and facing financial hardship, you could get Learner Support.

You apply to your learning provider (for example your college) for Learner Support. How much you get depends on your circumstances.

The money can help pay for things like:

  • accommodation and travel
  • course materials and equipment
  • childcare - if you qualify

Childcare Grant

You may be eligible for help with your childcare costs if you:

  • are a full-time higher education student
  • have children under 15, or under 17 if they have special educational needs

The grant:

  • does not have to be paid back
  • is paid on top of your other student finance

You must be eligible for student finance to apply for a Childcare Grant.