Yes, it is possible to claim childcare costs as part of your Universal Credit claim. However, there are some specific rules and requirements that you need to meet to be eligible for this.
To be able to claim childcare costs as part of your Universal Credit, you must meet the following conditions:
- You must be responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they are in full-time education or training).
- You must be working or have been offered work, for which you need to pay for childcare.
- A registered childcare provider, such as a nursery, childminder, or after-school club, must provide the childcare.
- Your local authority must approve the childcare provider or register with a recognized childcare scheme.
- You must pay the childcare provider directly, and the payments must be made from your bank account.
How Much Can You Claim?
If you meet these conditions, you can claim up to 85% of your childcare costs through Universal Credit, up to a maximum of £646.35 per month for one child or £1,108.04 per month for two or more children.
To claim childcare costs, you will need to provide evidence of your childcare payments, such as receipts or invoices. You may also need to give details of your childcare provider and their registration or approval status.
What Happens if I Get a Job?
You can claim childcare the month before you start work and should get in touch if the job does end, as you can claim in-between jobs.
The amount of universal credit will change when you earn more which will also affect your childcare allowance. Childcare vouchers are not included when working out your childcare allowance.
What About My Partner?
You can claim together for childcare while on universal credit, but both need to be working unless you cannot work for reasons such as caring for another or have limited capability.
Employment needs to be paid work where you receive money unless you are on statutory sick pay or maternity leave, for example.
Does It have To Be a Specific Form of Childcare?
You need to receive childcare through a verified provider, whether this is a nursery, a childminder, or a playgroup.
What about 15 or 30 hours of free childcare?
All children in the United Kingdom are allowed 15 hours of free childcare the term after their child has turned 3.
If you are on Universal Credit, you can claim 30 hours of free childcare once your child has turned three years old.
You can use our universal credit calculator to determine how much you may be entitled to.