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Rutland Information Service

Help With Childcare Costs

You can get help paying for childcare if it’s provided by a:

  • registered childminder, playscheme, nursery or club
  • childminder with an Ofsted-registered childminding agency
  • registered school
  • home careworker working for a registered home care agency

This is known as ‘approved childcare’.

Check what help you could get with childcare costs.

Find an approved childminder

Find an approved nursery or pre-school

Find approved holiday childcare

Childcare at school

You can get help paying for early years childcare provided by any school if your child is under 5.

You can also get help paying for childcare for a child of 5 or over from:

  • a registered independent school
  • any other school, if it’s outside school hours and on the premises

Childcare provided by relatives

You can only get help paying for childcare by a relative (for example a grandparent) if they’re both:

  • a registered childminder
  • caring for your child outside your home

You can’t claim for childcare provided by your partner.

Childcare for 2-4 Year Olds Criteria

Eligibility for 2-year-olds

Your 2-year-old can get free early education and childcare if you get one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit
  • tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

A child can also get free early education and childcare if any of the following apply:

  • they’re looked after by a local council
  • they have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • they get Disability Living Allowance
  • they’ve left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order

15 Hour Funding

When you can start claiming

The date you can start claiming depends on your child’s birthday.

Child’s birthday When you can claim
1 January to 31 March The beginning of term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August The beginning of term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December The beginning of term on or after 1 January

ExampleYour child was born on 15 February 2014. You can get free childcare when the next term starts after 1 April 2017.

Eligibility

The free early education and childcare must be with an approved childcare provider.

It stops once your child starts reception class in a state school.

30 Hours Funding Criteria

All 3 to 4-year-olds in England already get 15 hours a week, or 570 hours a year of free early education. If their parents are living and working in England, 3 and 4-year-olds may be entitled to 30 hours free childcare. An extra 570 hours of free childcare a year, so 1140 hours in total. 30 hours free childcare will be available from September 2017.

When can you apply?

The date you can apply depends on your child's birthday. Your child is eligible:

  • from the term following their 3rd birthday until they reach compulsory school age
  • if they usually live with you – you do not have to be their parent however foster carers are exempt

The date you can start claiming depends on your child’s birthday.

Child’s birthday When you can claim
1 January to 31 March The beginning of term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August The beginning of term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December The beginning of term on or after 1 January

Example

Your child was born on 15 February 2013 and will turn 3 on 15 February 2016. You can get free childcare from 1 April 2016. The free early education and childcare entitlements for 3 and 4-year-olds can only be acquired from an approved childcare provider who is on the early years register.

To be eligible, you (and your partner if you have one), must either:

  • each expect to earn at least £115 a week or work more than 16 hours at the National Living Wage (unless you became self-employed less than 12 months ago), or each expect to earn at least £111 a week or work more than 16 hours at the National Minimum Wage (unless you became self-employed less than 12 months ago)
  • each expect to earn at least £61.92 a week if you're under 18, £84.80 a week if you're aged 18-20 or £52.80 a week if you're an apprentice (either under 19 or in the first year of your apprenticeship)

You, and your partner, must also both:

  • live in England
  • expect to have income of less than £100,000 each a year

If you and your partner are unemployed, you and your partner must become employed within 14 days of applying. You may get different eligibility outcomes for each of your children if you apply for 30 hours free childcare for more than one child.

Important - if your child is in reception, you can't use your code to get free childcare. Once your child is of compulsory school age, they're no longer eligible.

You're not eligible if:

  • you're in receipt of a childcare grant
  • you're a full-time student/an intern
  • you're not entitled to receive public funds

Tax-Free Childcare

Parents will be able to open a new childcare account. For every £8 a parent pays into their childcare account, the government will pay in an extra £2. Parents can get up to £2,000 government support per child per year towards their childcare costs. They can then use this money to pay their childcare provider.

Parents will be able to apply for Tax-Free Childcare from early 2017, when the government will begin inviting parents to apply, starting with parents of the youngest children first. Check whether Tax-Free Childcare is the best offer for you using the childcare calculator.

https://www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator


Who can apply?

Child's birthday                       When you can claim
1 January to 31 March The beginning of the summer term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August The beginning of the autumn term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December The beginning of the spring term on or after 1 January

You can apply for Tax-Free Childcare if:

  • your child is less than 12 years old, or
  • your child is disabled and less than 17 years old and they're either:
    • receiving Disability Living Allowance, a Personal Independence Payment or an Armed Forces Independence Payment
    • severely sight-impaired or blind, confirmed by a consultant ophthalmologist
  • the child you're applying for usually lives with you (you don't have to be their parent)
  • you live and work in the UK, unless you're a Crown servant or member of the HM Armed Forces posted overseas
  • you're working and expect:
    • to earn, on average, at least £115 per week (but see below if you're under 25)
    • your total taxable income to be less than £100,000 per year

If you have a partner, when you apply for Tax-Free Childcare they need to be working and expect to earn, on average, £115 per week and less than £100,000 per year.

A person is your partner if you're:

  • married or in a civil partnership, and live together in the same household, or
  • a couple who live together as if you're married or in a civil partnership

If you're under 25, you should expect to earn at least £111 (not £115) a week.

If you're under 24 or an apprentice, you should expect to earn the equivalent of 16 hours, at the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage rate which applies to you.

Every 3 months, you'll need to reconfirm you're still eligible for Tax-Free Childcare using your childcare service account. It's easy to do; you just tick a box to confirm that your details haven't changed. You'll be reminded to do this, 4 weeks before the reconfirmation deadline.

You can't apply for Tax-Free Childcare for a child who is:

  • your foster child
  • living away from your home for 6 months or more
  • in a young offenders' institution or secure children's home or training centre
  • being looked after by a local authority, unless its short term respite care

If you're adopting a child, you can apply for Tax-Free Childcare when a court has made an adoption order.

Tax Credits

You may be able to claim:

  • Child Tax Credit - you don’t need to be working
  • Working Tax Credit - you may be able to claim extra amount to help cover the costs of approved childcare

You can apply for Working Tax Credit even if you’re on leave or about to start a new job.

Overview

You could get Child Tax Credit for each child you’re responsible for if they’re:

You don’t need to be working to claim Child Tax Credit.

You can’t claim tax credits and Universal Credit at the same time.

You get money for each child that qualifies and Child Tax Credit won’t affect your Child Benefit.

How much you get depends on your circumstances - you can use the tax credit calculator to work this out.

Only one household can get Child Tax Credit for a child.

What you'll get

You could get a basic amount of up to £545 a year. This is known as the ‘family element’.

From 6 April 2017, you will only get the family element of Child Tax Credit if you’re responsible for a child or children born before that date.

You could get extra elements on top of the family element.

How much you get depends on things like your income and circumstances, for example if your child is disabled.

This table shows the Child Tax Credit rates for the 2016 to 2017 tax year.

ElementsYearly amount
For each child (this is known as ‘the child element’) Up to £2,780
For each disabled child Up to £3,140 (on top of the child element)
For each severely disabled child Up to £1,275 (on top of the child element and the disabled child element)

Further Details can be found on https://www.gov.uk/child-tax-credit/overview 

Universal Credit and Childcare Costs

You may be able to claim back up to 85% of your childcare costs if you’re eligible for Universal Credit

You (and your partner if you live with them) will usually need to either:

  • be working - it doesn’t matter how many hours you or your partner work
  • have a job offer

How much you’ll get

The most you can get back each month is:

  • £646 for one child
  • £1108 for 2 or more children

You can claim Universal Credit online.

If you stop working

Tell the Universal Credit helpline if you stop working. You can continue to claim childcare costs for at least one month after your job ends.

Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Childcare Vouchers

Your employer may be able to help you with childcare costs using childcare vouchers or other schemes, for example a staff nursery.

You must pay Income Tax and National Insurance on some kinds of support.

Childcare schemes you don’t pay tax and National Insurance on

You don’t have to pay tax and National Insurance on:

  • childcare vouchers
  • childcare your employer arranges with a provider (sometimes known as ‘directly contracted childcare’)
  • workplace nurseries

You can get up to £55 a week from childcare vouchers, depending on how much you earn and when you joined the scheme.

Childcare vouchers may affect the amount of tax credits you get. Work out if you’d be better off taking childcare vouchers.

Childcare schemes you pay tax and National Insurance on

You must pay tax and National Insurance on:

  • cash your employer gives you to pay for childcare
  • childcare provider’s fees your employer pays
  • school fees your employer pays
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