CORONAVIRUS: You will only receive help with your Childcare Costs during the Coronavirus outbreak if you meet the rules (as outlined below) and your child is actually receiving the childcare to enable you to work. This means that if you are paying a retainer to keep a childcare place open, you will not receive help with paying it through Universal Credit. If this would make it difficult for you to return to work then speak to your Work Coach about the Flexible Support Fund, as they may be able to offer you some help through this although the money available is limited. See our Coronavirus pages for more information.
Help with Childcare costs
If you are a working parent, Universal Credit can help you with the costs of childcare no matter how many hours you work.
It helps with formal childcare costs for a child up to 1st September after their 16th birthday.
You can claim childcare costs if you:
- Are in paid work
- Are starting paid work in the next month
- Left a job less than a month ago
- Are on sick leave
- Are on any kind of parental leave.
If you’re living with your partner you’ll both need to be working to get childcare costs – unless your partner can’t provide childcare because they:
- Have a limited capability for work
- Are caring for a severely disabled person – they’ll need to be getting or eligible for Carer’s Allowance
- Are temporarily away from home.
The Childcare Costs Element acts as a refund, so to have it included, you must have paid for the childcare, meet the above rules, and report it to the DWP
Reporting childcare costs
Each month you’ll need to tell the DWP what you’ve paid in childcare. A Childcare Costs Element of 85% of this (up to the maximum – see below) will then be included in your maximim UC award next time it is assessed.
Report your costs as soon as you can to make sure you get paid back.
You have until a month after your next Universal Credit payment to report each childcare payment.
If you report your childcare costs late, tell the Jobcentre why you couldn’t report them on time – for example if you were ill or away from home. You’ll still be paid if they agree you couldn’t tell them earlier.
|Number of children||Maximum monthly amount|
|For one child||£646.35|
|For 2 or more children||£1108.04|
Jed and Esra have two children age 3 and 7. Esra works 20 hours a week and Jed gets New-Style Employment and Support Allowance. Due to Jed’s illness he is not able to look after Ruby, their 3 year old, when Esra is at work so she goes to a nursery. Jed and Esra are entitled to have a Childcare Costs Element included in their award of Universal Credit.
NOTE: Unlike in the legacy benefit system you don’t need to work a certain number of hours to be entitled to help with your childcare costs within Universal Credit.