Help with paying for childcare
Financial support is available if you and your family meet certain criteria
There is also other support for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
- Childcare Choices
Whether you have toddlers or teens, you could get support with childcare costs.
- Child Benefit
You can receive Child Benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training).
- Child Tax Credit (moving to Universal Credit)
You could get Child Tax Credit for each child you’re responsible for if they’re:
- under 16
- under 20 and in eligible education or training
You don’t need to be working to claim Child Tax Credit.
The amount you will receive will depend on your circumstances. Child Tax Credit won’t affect your Child Benefit.
- Working Tax Credit (moving to Universal Credit)
Working Tax Credit supports working households on low incomes by topping up earnings.
It is made up of a number of elements depending on your circumstances. For example, extra amounts are available to those who work at least 30 hours a week and to those who are working and have a disability. It also includes an element to help with the costs of Ofsted registered or approved childcare, known as the childcare element.
- Universal Credit
Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income or out of work. Whether you can claim Universal Credit depends on where you live and your circumstances. You can get help with your childcare costs for two children.
Universal Credit will replace the following benefits:
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Working Tax Credit
If you currently receive any of these benefits, you can’t claim Universal Credit at the same time.
How to apply
Universal Credit is being introduced in stages across the UK. You don’t need to do anything until you hear from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about moving to Universal Credit, unless you have a change in circumstances.
- Tax-Free Childcare
- Tax-Free Childcare is a savings account scheme that offers working families government support towards qualifying (approved) childcare costs.
- Support from your employer
Employees should seek advice from their employer about the following support:
- childcare voucher schemes (now closed for new applicants)
- employer subsidised childcare
- National Health Service employees childcare allowance
Further information about childcare support from your employer.
- Help if you are in education
Students should talk to their college, sixth form or university about the funding that is available:
- Care to Learn
- Discretionary Learner Support
- 16 - 19 Bursary Fund
- Advanced Learner Loan
- Higher Education Childcare Grant
- Parents' Learning Allowance
- Professional and Career Development Loans
Further information about childcare support if you are in education.
- National Insurance credits for adults who care for a child under 12
National Insurance credits may help to fill in any gaps in your National Insurance record. This can mean that you’ll still get the full State Pension and other benefits.