Parents on Universal Credit can get £1,108 a month to help with childcare costs

Thousands of parents are eligible for as much as £1,108  a month back in childcare support through Universal Credit.

That's because you can claim up to 85% of the money you spend on childcare back to cover the costs of looking after the little ones.

In fact, working parents can get up to £646.35 a month back for a single child and up to £1,108.04 a month back for two or more children.

Minister for Welfare Delivery Will Quince said: “Any working parent can appreciate the difficulties of having to balance a job with looking after the kids, and I want to make it easier for parents who want to go back to work after having children."

He added: "For lots of people childcare costs can be a barrier to going back to work, but I want parents to know that help and support is available."

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To find out if you are eligible and start your claim, you need to speak to your jobcentre work coach and give them some details about your childcare provider and the costs of your childcare.

You need to use registered or approved childcare providers to be eligible, which generally means they need to be registered with OFSTED, The Care Inspectorate for Scotland or the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW).

You can claim for childcare costs for the month before you start work if you have accepted a job offer and the get support with childcare for at least a month after your employment ends – to help as you move between jobs.

However, childcare support is paid in arrears, so you will have to pay the costs upfront before Universal Credit gives you the money back.

The DWP said if you’re struggling to afford the upfront costs you might be able to get help from the flexible support fund and should ask your work coach how to apply.

Childcare support is also available if you are claiming Universal Credit and receiving, statutory sick pay, statutory maternity, paternity or shared parental pay, statutory adoption pay or maternity allowance.

If you're claiming with your partner, normally both of you need to be in work – but you might be able to get support if your non-working partner is unable to provide childcare because they have limited capability for work, caring responsibilities for a severely disabled person or are temporarily absent from the household.

You can't, however, get help towards payments made using childcare vouchers – but if your childcare costs are higher than the value of your vouchers, you can apply for help towards that additional amount.

On the plus side, earnings converted into childcare vouchers are not included when working out reductions to your Universal Credit payment either.

You can see more information on the Childcare Choices website and the Government's Understanding Universal Credit pages. 

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