As I write this, Half term is full swing and mums and dads across the country are struggling with the associated costs, and logistics, of their child not being at school or nursery.
Many parents are unaware, or not taking advantage of the, up-to £2,000 worth, of free childcare, per child, that they could be receiving from the UK government, if you pay for childcare.
So how does this work? Parents with kids aged 11 and under, or 17 and under if they have children with disabilities, which is some 1.3 eligible families in the UK, can pay into the government's free childcare scheme. For every 80p paid into the scheme, the government will then top up the amount paid, by 20p. So if your childcare costs are £500, the government will have paid £100 towards it.
Who can claim this? To qualify, you need to be working and earning a minimum of £131 a week from April 2019– this is the equivalent of 16 hours per week at the national minimum wage for 25-year-olds or over. Each parent also needs to earn less than £100,000 a year.
If either guardian is a non-EEA national and subject to immigration control, they are unable to claim for this, as they they are unable to gain access to public funds.
How do I pay my childcare company? You pay for the childcare by signing into the service, via the governments Tax-Free Childcare Service. If you're eligible for the childcare you'll get a childcare account. You can use this to pay your childcare provider.
How do I apply? You can apply via the government's Tax-Free Childcare website. You will need your National Insurance number, or OTR, of you are self employed, and the application takes around 20 minutes to complete. As part of your application, you’ll find out if you’re eligible for both Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare. You may find out straight away, but it can take up to 7 days. You must confirm your details are up to date every 3 months.
With thousands of people not claiming this cash, it's a real waste of an excellent way to ensure you are getting help with your childcare costs, and for the sake of a 20 minute application, you could be as much as £2,000, per child, better off... It's a no brainer!
This information is correct as of 20th October 2019, but is always subject to change.
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