Universal Credit and Childcare Support

20/11/2023

Introduction to Universal Credit

At Little Lionhearts Nursery School, we aim to provide parents with information about financial assistance options that could be beneficial. Universal Credit, a UK-wide benefit, is a great option for families meeting certain conditions. This guide will help you understand how Universal Credit can support your family’s childcare and living costs.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit combines several benefits, including working tax credit and child tax credit, into a single payment to aid with your living costs. Notably, you cannot claim Universal Credit if you’re already receiving these benefits.

Recent Updates

In the 2023 Budget, it was announced that families on Universal Credit can now receive childcare cost funding upfront, a significant change from the previous reimbursement model.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Residency: Must live in the UK.
  • Age and Income: Over 18, under state pension age, and either low on income or out of work.
  • Savings: Must have less than £16,000 in savings between you and your partner.
  • Exceptions for Younger Individuals: Some 16 and 17-year-olds may be eligible under specific circumstances.

Childcare Support under Universal Credit

  • Increases in Support Caps: From July 2023, the cap on childcare support will rise significantly, up to £951 per month for one child and £1,630 for two children.
  • Eligibility for Childcare Costs: You must be in paid work or have a job offer. For couples, both partners must work, with certain exceptions.

Types of Support

  1. Help with a Child: Provides financial support for raising children, with different amounts for first and subsequent children.
  2. Help with a Disabled Child: Offers additional support for children with disabilities, with amounts varying based on the child’s needs.
  3. Help with Childcare Costs: Covers childcare from registered providers, including nurseries, childminders, and various clubs.

How to Apply

  • Online Application: Apply for Universal Credit online, including childcare cost details.
  • Payment: Usually paid monthly, with some variations in Scotland.
  • Support Services: Free assistance is available through Citizens Advice and other helplines.

Helpful Links for Application

  • To apply for Universal Credit  click here 
  • To use the Help to Claim service in England and Wales, provided by Citizens Advice click here 
  • To use the Help to Claim service in Scotland click here 
  • You can also contact the UK Government’s free Universal Credit helpline 0800 328 5644.

Conclusion

At Little Lionhearts Nursery School, we recognize the importance of financial support for our families. Universal Credit can be a valuable resource, especially with its increased childcare support caps. We encourage eligible families to explore this option and are here to assist with any queries or concerns you might have.

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