Who is it for?
You will qualify for the scheme if you:
- earn at least £142 per week (equivalent to working 16 hours per week at National Living Wage), but under £100,000 per year. If you live with a partner they will need to earn this much too.
- are not receiving Tax Credits, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers
- have a child or children aged 0-11 (or 0-16 if disabled) who usually live with you.
What do I get?
You will set up an online childcare account, into which you will pay money for childcare. For every £8 you pay in, the Government will add £2, up to a maximum of £500 per quarter (£2,000 per year). If your child is disabled, the Government will pay up to £1,000 per quarter (£4,000 per year).
This means that, if your childcare costs are less than £2,500 per quarter (£10,000 per year), you only need to pay in 80% of the cost to your childcare account, and the Government will top up the remaining 20%. A quick and easy way to work out how much you should pay in is to multiply your childcare bill by 0.8, which will give you 80% of the bill.
For example: If your childcare costs are £500 per month, you multiply £500 x 0.8 to get £400. You pay £400 into your childcare account and the remaining £100 (20%) will be paid in by the Government. This would cut your annual costs from £6,000 to £4,800.
N.B You can only receive a maximum Government top-up of £500 every three months. If you have variable or seasonal childcare costs, it is worth paying money into your account regularly throughout the year in order to build up your balance.
How do I claim?
Visit the Childcare Choices website to check eligibility and to apply.