Help with childcare costs

There are several ways that financial help is available to pay for childcare. This help depends on family circumstances.  These circumstances include how much the family earns, whether they are in work or returning to work, as well as the age of the children.

Help is available for all children and young people, however the childcare used has to be Ofsted registered.

Options available:

Universal Credit (UC)

What is UC

Universal Credit is a new 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.

Universal Credit won't replace Child Benefit

It will be made up of a standard allowance plus other 'elements' - for children, childcare, housing and caring. So the amount you could get will depend on your circumstances.

If you qualify, your monthly payment will cover everyone in your family who qualifies for support.

If you get tax credits - what you need to do now 

If you are already getting tax credits you do not need to do anything yet.  In the meantime it's important to keep your tax credits claim up to date, so make sure you report any changes in your circumstances.

Most people getting tax credits aren't affected at present. Even if you live in one of the areas where Universal Credit is introduced, your tax credits payments will continue as normal.

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Childcare vouchers

Your employer may offer you childcare vouchers to help with your childcare costs. They could be in return for a reduction in your pay - known as a 'salary sacrifice'.  Childcare vouchers may affect the amount of UC you can get. This online calculator can help you decide whether you would be better off taking the vouchers or not. HMRC's website will give full details on how to use the calculator.

Leaflet IR115 explains more about childcare vouchers, and the other ways employers can help with childcare.

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Help and Advice for Families

The Citizens' Advice Bureau (CAB) provide free, confidential and independent advice. Advice is available face-to-face and by telephone.

Westminster CAB 21a Conduit Place Paddington W2 1HS 

Telephone: 08444 771611

Find out if you are eligible for help

Working or studying parents, find out if you are eligible for help with childcare costs.


Last updated: 5 October 2016
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