Funding and Help with Childcare Costs

Help with Childcare Costs

We appreciate that childcare is expensive and takes up unnameda large part of the family budget. However there are various forms of help available depending on your circumstances:-

Free Places for 3 and 4 year olds

Every child is eligible for 570 hours of free childcare per year from the term after their third birthday until they go to school. This is usually taken as 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year (during school term time). However the funding can also be stretched across the year to allow around 10 hours per week for 51 weeks of the year.

From September 2017 working parents will be able to claim 1,140 hours of free childcare per year. We ask that parents use this funding for 22.5 hours per week over 51 weeks of the year. In order to claim the funding parents will need to complete an online eligibility checker.

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

Usually you must be attending the childcare provider at the beginning of the term to claim but exceptions can be made for example moving house to a new area.

Free Places for 2 year olds

Some 2 year old children will be eligible for 570 hours of free childcare per year. This is usually taken as 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year (during school term time). However the funding can also be stretched across the year to allow 10 hours per week for 51 weeks of the year.

There are criteria that have to be met before you can claim the funding. You must be claiming one of the following:-

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit and have a gross household income of £16,190 a year or less

Children are also entitled to a place if:-

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

If your child is eligible, you can start claiming after they turn 2 years old. The date you can claim from will depend on when their birthday is.

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

Unlike the 3 & 4 year old funding, you can start claiming at any time during the term after they become eligible.Outdoor Play at Acorn Nursery

For more information the following links are a good source of information.

Cheshire and Chester Government

Help with Childcare

Free Early Years Entitlement Places

 

 

Childcare Vouchers

Childcare Vouchers are a good way of paying for all or part of your childcare costs. The benefit is that payment is made before tax or NI deductions which mean that you could save nearly a £1000 per year if you use the full allowance of £243 per month – and each parent can do this.

Your employer must be registered in the scheme to do this but it doesn’t apply to only large employers, small companies can do it as well. It is very simple to set up. More information is available on the web sites below.

Money Saving Expert – Childcare Vouchers

Childcare Vouchers

Universal Credit

If you are eligible for Universal Credit you may be able to claim back up to 85% of your childcare costs. For more information please call the Universal Credit Helpline on 0345 600 0723.

Care to Learn

Care to Learn provides financial support for 16-19 year old parents who are the main carer for their child and want to continue their education. This can help you with up to £160 per week for childcare which is paid directly to the nursery on your behalf. For more information speak to your college.