Help with paying for childcare

Financial support is available if you and your family meet certain criteria

Free Early Years Education (EYE) is also available to some two, and all three and four year olds in school nursery classes, state or private nursery schools, day nurseries, playgroups or pre-schools and with approved childminders.

There is also other support for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Childcare Choices

You can check what help you may get with childcare by looking at the Government’s Childcare Choices website.

The government is introducing new ways to help parents with childcare costs. Whether you have toddlers or teens, you could get support

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).

More information on Child Benefit for 16 to 19 year olds

Eligibility for Child Benefit and how to apply

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.

Eligibility for Child Tax Credit and how to apply

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.

Eligibility for Working Tax Credit and how to apply

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.

Eligibility for Universal Credit

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 new savings account scheme being phased in from early 2017. It 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
  • 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.

Eligibility for National Insurance credits and how to apply