If you are eligible for Universal Credit, you may be able to get your childcare costs covered. Indeed, this benefit could cover a majority of your costs. Your Benefits will tell you everything that you need to know about Universal Credit childcare in 2022, and extra payments you could receive.
Universal Credit childcare costs eligibility
Universal Credit childcare could help you to cover childcare costs. More specifically, you could get help for up to 85% of your costs. Additionally, the childcare has to be ‘approved‘. This article will outline what this means.
You and your partner must be under certain circumstances in order to apply for help with covering childcare costs. First, to count your partner in your eligibility, you must live together. Second, you and them must be one of the following:
- Working: you or they can be working any number of hours a week, the quantity will not affect your eligibility;
- Currently have a job offer.
How much does Universal Credit pay for childcare?
You can get up to 85% of your childcare costs covered by Universal Credit childcare. However, there is a maximum amount of money that you can be paid back. They are as follows:
- £1108: if you want to cover the costs for 2 children or more;
- £646: if you want to cover the costs for one child.
These amounts are on top of how much you receive with Universal Credit. Moreover, Universal Credit is composed of a standard allowance rate, followed by additional amounts depending on your circumstance. The standard allowance rates are the following:
|Universal Credit standard allowance rates in 2022
|Your personal circumstance
|Standard allowance rate (per month)
|You have a partner, and at least one of you is 25 years or older
|£509.91 (for the couple)
|You have a partner, and you are both younger than 25 years old
|£403.93 (for the couple)
|You are younger than 25 years old and single
|You are 25 years or older and single
Then, extra rates depend on your situation. In fact, if you have children, you are likely to be able to earn an extra payment. More specifically, you could get the following for your number of children or circumstances.
For your second child, and any additional eligible children, you would get £282.50 monthly for each child. If your child is disabled, you would get £237.08 monthly. Finally, if you have a child that is severely disabled, you would get £402.41 monthly.
Claim Universal Credit childcare
In order to claim Universal Credit childcare, you first need to claim Universal Credit. Then, sign in to your childcare online account. This is true if you receive 30 hours free childcare or Tax-Free Childcare. Furthermore, you may access your account on the Gov.UK website.
Your account can be used to manage your childcare needs. For example, when it comes Tax-Free Childcare, you may do the following using your account:
- Make a claim for a new child;
- Pay your childcare provider directly;
- Insert money into your account.
What counts as ‘approved’ childcare for Universal Credit childcare?
You may only receive Universal Credit childcare benefit to cover costs incurred by ‘approved’ childcare. Indeed, it must be provided by the following, a:
- Registered school;
- Home care worker (they must be working for a registered home care agency);
- Nanny or childminder (they must be registered with a childcare or childminder agency);
- Club, nursery, nanny or childminder (they must be registered).
Universal Credit childcare can cover costs for these types of childcare. In fact, they are considered as ‘approved childcare‘. There are also different types of rules for what is considered ‘approved’ childcare, as it depends on where you live.
You may check what counts as ‘approved’ childcare by where you live. First, if you live in England, this is determined by Ofsted. More specifically, they have a list of approved childminder agencies. Second, if you live in Wales, the Care Inspectorate Wales takes care of this.
Those living in England may want to claim their 30 hours free childcare. Then, your childcare provider would have to be registered with Ofsted. More specifically, they must be on the ‘Early Years Register‘. Otherwise, they can work with a registered early years childminder agency.
Is childcare at school ‘approved’?
Childcare done at school must happen outside of school hours, it cannot be during school time. For example, approved childcare might include different types of clubs. Additionally, you may not get help for the following:
- Private lessons, but this only concerns lessons that take place during school time;
- The compulsory education of your child.
Is childcare provided by relatives ‘approved’?
You may live in England or Scotland. If this is the case, you may not be covered by Universal Credit childcare provided by a relative. Indeed, this is the case even if they are a registered childminder.
Furthermore, you may not receive help for costs for childcare provided by your partner. Additionally, you may live in Northern Ireland. Then, you may get help with costs for childcare provided by a relative. However, all of the following conditions must apply, they:
- Care for one or more children not related to you;
- Also care for your child outside of your home;
- Are registered in Northern Ireland in a childcare approval scheme.
There are also foster carers. If you live in England, you may only be covered if they correctly registered as a childcare provider. However, if you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you may be able to receive help.