Paying for Childcare
If you claim Universal Credit, you may be able to get up to 85% of your childcare costs back. This will be paid as part of your Universal Credit award.
You, or your partner, will normally need to be working or have a job offer. It does not matter how many hours of work you do.
If you are employed but are receiving:
- Statutory Sick Pay
- Statutory Maternity Pay
- Statutory Paternity Pay
- Statutory Adoption Pay
- Maternity Allowance
You are still eligible for your childcare costs to be paid back through Universal Credit.
The maximum amount you can reclaim for your childcare costs is:
£950.92 per month for one child
£1630.15 for two, or more, children
Deena has 1 child, and her childcare costs are £750 per month. Universal Credit will pay her £637.50 for her childcare costs – this is 85% of her total cost.
Marcus has 2 children, and his childcare costs are £1700 per month. Universal Credit will pay him £1445.04 for his childcare costs – 85% of his total cost.
Mukhtar and Razia have 3 children and their childcare costs are £2,100 per month. Universal Credit will only pay them £1630.15 per month for their childcare costs. This is the maximum amount that Universal Credit will pay, even though it is less than 85% of their actual cost.
How Does it Work?
Unfortunately, Universal Credit only pays back what you have already paid on your childcare costs. This means that your Universal Credit award in April will include your eligible childcare expenses for March.
Each month you will need to ensure that you report how much you have paid in the previous month for your childcare costs. In your Universal Credit journal there will be a section called ‘Report Childcare Costs’. Fill in the details requested and submit the information. You may be asked to provide additional evidence, such as receipts or other proof of payment. If this is required, a message will appear on your journal with a link where you can upload attachments.
If you do not have the evidence yet, you can still report your childcare costs and provide the evidence later. Whilst this may delay your payment being received, it will still count as notifying the DWP on time because you have reported your costs.
Universal Credit will pay you for the childcare you have paid for in the current monthly assessment period and the previous monthly assessment period.
Example, your monthly assessment period is the 8th of the month to the 7th of the month, and you pay for your childcare costs on the 1st of the month. You UC award will include the childcare costs paid between the 1st-7th of this month and the 8th-31st of the previous month.
If you pay for your childcare in a lump sum, for example each term this will still be paid back via Universal Credit monthly.
There are time limits for when you need to report your childcare costs within. To qualify one of the following must apply:
1. The payment/s they are reporting must have been paid in that Monthly Assessment Period (MAP) and the payment is for childcare received within that MAP
2. The payment/s they are reporting have been paid in that Monthly Assessment Period (MAP) and are in respect of childcare received in any previous MAP
3. The childcare received within a Monthly Assessment Period (MAP) is reported by the end of that MAP and has been paid for in either of the previous two MAPs.
Changes of circumstance
It is very important that you report any changes of circumstances to Universal Credit via your journal as soon as they happen.
If you are employed and off sick from work, receiving Statutory or enhanced Sick Pay you remain entitled to the childcare costs, but you still need to meet the payment and notification requirements.
If you are self-employed, you are not entitled to any sick pay. The DWP will then need to decide whether you are gainfully self-employed. If the DWP determine that you are no longer gainfully self-employed, your entitlement to childcare costs will continue for the current Monthly Assessment Period and the next one, before ending.