HELP WITH CHILDCARE COSTS 2015-2016
HELP WITH CHILDCARE COSTS 2015-2016
Last updated 25/09/2015 1 HELP WITH CHILDCARE COSTS 2015-2016 A guide for Hackney parents and carers. Contents Introduction Page 2 Free Childcare Page 3-4 Free childcare for some two year olds Free Part-time Nursery Education Funding for 3 & 4 Year Olds Working Parents Page 5-6 Childcare Element of Working Tax Credit Employer Supported Childcare Childcare Vouchers Universal Credit Tax-Free Childcare Vouchers For student parents Page 6-7 Further education Discretionary Learner Support Care to Learn Page 7-9 Higher education Childcare Grant Parents’ Learning Allowance Access to Learning Fund Hardship fund/bursaries NHS-funded courses/NHS Childcare Allowance Other sources of funding for student parent During maternity leave Page 10-11 Childcare vouchers and other employer-supported childcare Can my employer deduct the amount of my childcare vouchers from my maternity pay?
Will I be better off staying in the childcare voucher scheme during my maternity leave? What if I have problems joining or continuing a voucher scheme before/during my maternity leave? Can I get the childcare element of Working Tax Credit during my maternity leave? What happens during the last 13 weeks of additional maternity leave?
Last updated 25/09/2015 2 Introduction This guide explains different types of financial help available in Hackney to support paying your childcare costs. What type of childcare can you receive help for? To be able to claim any support, you need to find a provider who is registered with Ofsted: day nurseries, children’s centres, nursery classes attached to schools, playgroups, childminders and home-based carers, after-school and breakfast clubs, holiday playschemes.
Please note that if your child/children are taken care of by relatives, even if they are registered with Ofsted, you may not be able to claim any financial support. International students and asylum seekers Please also note that international students and asylum seekers, who do not have “recourse to public funds”, will not be able to get help from most schemes in this guide. For information about finding childcare Contact the Family Information Service: 020 8820 7590 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm), www.learningtrust.co.uk/childcare, firstname.lastname@example.org www.facebook.com/hackneyfis 2nd Floor, Hackney Learning Trust, 1 Reading Lane, London E8 1GQ Accuracy of information The information in this guide is accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of print.
Some of the information may change over time, do use the contact details beside each scheme for the most up-to-date information.
Produced by Hackney Family Information Service
Last updated 25/09/2015 3 Free childcare Free childcare for some 2 year olds If you earn less than £16,190, or are on benefits, you may be able to get 15 hours free childcare for your two year old. Free part-time early education is childcare for up to 15 hours a week over no less than 38 weeks (570 hours a year) and takes place in children’s centres, nurseries, playgroups and with childminders. If your child is eligible, you can choose from a list of providers who have been accepted to the scheme.
Eligibility If you are on any of these benefits, your child should be able to get a place.
Income support; Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and have an annual income not over £16,190 Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit) Working Tax Credit and earn £16,190 a year or less You can also get a place if your child is: looked after by a local council; has a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education health and care plan; receives Disability Living Allowance; or has left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or residence order.
If you get Working Tax Credit you must tell the Tax Credit helpline as soon as you start getting the 15 hours free childcare as this may affect the amount that you get (you will always be better off by claiming the 15 hours free childcare). Phone them on 0345 300 3900 Monday – Friday 8am – 8pm or Saturday 8am – 4pm. When can my child start? If your child was born between 1 January – 31 March funding will start in April, following your child’s second birthday If your child was born between 1 April – 31 August funding will start in September, following your child’s second birthday If your child was born between 1 September – 31 December funding will start in January, following your child’s second birthday
Last updated 25/09/2015 4 Apply for a place Go to: www.learningtrust.co.uk/freechildcare Contact us on 020 8820 7590 You will need to tell us your national insurance number and date of birth. You will need to find a childminder, playgroup or nurser from our approved list of providers. Free part-time childcare for all 3 to 4 year olds All three and four year olds are entitled to a free part-time nursery education place regardless of how much their families earn. The places are term-time only (38 weeks a year) and up 15 hours a week, or can be stretched across the year if the setting offers this (subject to availability).
You can find these free nursery places at: Childminders, school nurseries, children’s centres and day nurseries and playgroups. You do not have to do anything to get funding. The nursery or playgroup will ask you to sign a document called a headcount form which they will then pass on to us to claim the funding. If your child goes to more than one nursery class with a school, playgroup or chlidminder, you cannot claim more than the 570 hours per year childcare/education. Please tell your childcare provider if your child is attending in another setting. Eligibility To qualify for the full 15 hours, your child must attend for at least two days a week.
When can my child start?
If your child was born between 1 January – 31 March funding will start in April, following your child’s third birthday If your child was born between 1 April – 31 August funding will start in September, following your child’s third birthday If your child was born between 1 September – 31 December funding will start in January, following your child’s third birthday
Last updated 25/09/2015 5 For working parents If you’re working and paying for registered childcare, you may be entitled to some help with your childcare costs. There are currently two main sources of financial help for working parents: the childcare element of Working Tax Credit and Employer Supported Childcare.
Childcare Element of Working Tax Credit The childcare element of Working Tax Credit is intended to help working parents on a low income with the costs of registered childcare. The amount of financial assistance you could receive will depend on your income, your childcare costs, the number of children you have and your family circumstances. To be eligible for the childcare element of Working Tax Credit, you: • Must be in paid work of 16 or more hours a week. If you have a partner, you must both be in work for 16 or more hours per week; or one of you must work 16 hours and the other is incapacitated, in hospital, in prison or entitled to carer’s allowance.
• You must have main caring responsibility for your child/children; and you can claim for them up to the first Saturday in September following their 15th birthday – or their 16th if they are disabled or registered blind.
• You must use registered childcare. The childcare element can cover up to 70 per cent of eligible childcare costs. Maximum costs are currently set at £175 per week for one child and £300 per week for two or more children. So, if you have one child in childcare and you pay £175 a week or more, you could receive a maximum of £122.50. With two or more children in childcare, you could receive up to £210 (70 per cent of £300). The childcare element of Working Tax Credit is paid to the main carer, alongside Child Tax Credit. You can check what you’re entitled to, and make a claim for the childcare element of Working Tax Credit, by calling the tax credit helpline on 0345 300 3900.
Employer Supported Childcare Your employer may offer you help with your childcare costs. This can be offered through a variety of schemes that help you, as a parent, save money by not paying tax and National Insurance contributions on some or all of your childcare costs. Not all employers offer this assistance but, if they do, the amount you save with an employer- supported childcare scheme depends on: the type of scheme your employer offers; whether this is offered instead of your salary (salary sacrifice) or in addition to your salary (salary plus); and the rate of tax and National Insurance contributions on your salary.
Childcare Vouchers You can use these to pay your childcare provider, who will claim the value of the voucher from the voucher company or from your employer, usually by direct payment into their bank account. Some employers administer the scheme themselves; others use a voucher company to run the scheme. Many people receive their vouchers as an e-voucher but you can receive it as a paper voucher.
You can find out more about childcare voucher companies by visiting www.cvpa.org.uk .
Last updated 25/09/2015 6 Universal Credit Throughout 2015 - 2017 Universal Credit is being introduced to replace certain benefits. You may be able to claim Universal Credit instead of certain benefits if you’re on a low income, including help with your childcare costs. Universal Credit is being introduced in stages. When you can claim depends on where you live and your personal circumstances. You don’t need to do anything if you’re already claiming any benefits – you’ll be told when Universal Credit will affect you.
To be able to claim Universal Credit you'll have to sign a ‘Claimant Commitment’. This is an agreement that you’ll undertake work related tasks; being a parent, with responsibilities at home, will be taken into account. From 2016, the government intends to increase the rate of childcare support in Universal Credit from 70% to 85%. For more details visit the gov.uk website or contact the Universal Credit helpline on 0345 600 0723. Tax-Free Childcare Vouchers A new scheme, called Tax-Free Childcare Vouchers, will replace the existing Employer voucher scheme from 2017 (the exact date has not yet been confirmed).
It will be open to ALL qualifying parents, unlike under the current system, outlined above, where childcare vouchers can only be used by people whose employer offers the scheme. The new scheme will be open to single parents/couples who work 8+ hours a week (including self-employed) and who pay for Ofsted-registered childcare for a child under the age of 12 (or 16 if the child is disabled).
Eligible families will get 20% of their annual childcare costs paid for by the government up to a maximum of £2000 per child. Maximum eligible costs are set at £10,000 per year per child. Annual income limits in the new scheme – are set at £2,420 up to £150,000 for a single parent, and from £4,840 up to £300,000 where both parents work. For more information go to gov.uk For student parents If you’re thinking about starting a course, first check with your training provider to see what childcare provision and financial assistance will be available while you are studying. Financial help for childcare costs while you are studying is generally restricted to childcare that is registered with Ofsted.
The type of funding available will depend on what level of qualification you are studying for, for example, further education or higher education. Further education This is the term used to describe Level 1, 2 and 3 courses. These could be A-levels, NVQs and BTECs, for example. Or they could be courses that help you to learn more basic skills, like numeracy, literacy or computing. Find out more about childcare while studying on a further education course.
Last updated 25/09/2015 7 Discretionary Learner Support If you’re 20 or over, and studying on a college course, you may be able to get help with your childcare costs, through Discretionary Learner Support. The amount you get varies from college to college, depending on their criteria. Find out more about applying from your student support services or welfare officer. Care to Learn This scheme supports teenage parents who are: aged under 20; or asylum seekers aged under 18; or asylum seekers aged over 18 who are leaving care. It provides financial support for the costs of your childcare so that you can continue your education or training.
Your training can be in a school or college, or with a work-based learning provider that receives public funding, and includes young parents continuing with compulsory education.
This funding can pay up to £175 per week per child to cover registered childcare costs, and travel between home and the childcare provider, if the cost of the childcare falls below the maximum amount. Funding is also available to cover childcare deposits and registration fees. Care to Learn is only available in England for use with registered childcare. Childcare costs are paid directly to your childcare provider and travel costs are paid directly to your learning or training provider. For further information about the support available, call the Learner Support Helpline on 0800 1218989 Support for Further Education students is mainly available through your training provider – college, university, training institution – or local education authority.
Higher education This is the term used to describe courses that lead to Level 4 qualifications, for example, BAs or BSCs, or postgraduate courses such as MAs, MBAs, PhDs or Mphils. They also include HNDs, HNCs and DipHEs. Find out more about childcare while studying on a higher education course.
Childcare Grant If you are a full-time, undergraduate or PGCE student, with dependent children aged under 15 (under 17 if your child has), a British or EU citizen – and you pay for registered childcare – you may be eligible for a Childcare Grant. The childcare grant is paid in three instalments through the Student Loans Company and does not have to be re-paid. If you’re eligible for the Childcare Grant you could get up to 85 per cent of your registered childcare costs for 52 weeks per year. The maximum grant award is £155.24 per week for one child and £266.15 per week for two or more children.
This grant is not taken into account if you need to calculate your income for benefit purposes. But you cannot get this grant if you or your partner claims the childcare element of Working Tax Credit or the childcare element of Universal Credit. If you receive the Childcare Grant,
Last updated 25/09/2015 8 you will not be able to claim help through the new tax-free childcare scheme being introduced in late 2015. You should seek advice on which financial scheme will benefit you the most. Contact Student Finance England on 0300 100 0607 for further information and an application form or apply online Parents’ Learning Allowance This allowance aims to support full-time, undergraduate or PGCE student parents, who are British or EU citizens, with course-related costs such as travel, books, equipment and childcare, and can be claimed in addition to the Childcare Grant.
You may receive up to £1,573 per year, depending on your circumstances. You’ll be paid in three instalments and you do not have to repay it.
Contact Student Finance England on 0300 100 0607 for further information and an application form or apply online. Access to Learning Fund This funding is available through your university or college – it may provide the extra financial support you need to stay on a course, if the Childcare Grant doesn’t cover all your childcare costs. You can be studying full or part time, and your college will assess you and award a grant based on your individual needs. You won’t have to pay it back later. Sometimes, short-term loans are also available.
Go to your college website to find out more, or contact your student services or welfare officer, who’ll advise you about applying.
Hardship fund/bursaries If you’re experiencing extreme financial difficulties, your college may be able to offer hardship funding or a bursary. These are usually one-off payments that you don’t have to repay. Speak to your student services or welfare officer to find out more. Support for higher education is mainly available through Student Finance. NHS-funded courses These are courses for student health professionals, for example, people studying nursing, medicine, dentistry or healthcare, funded by an NHS Bursary. If you’re receiving one, you can apply for help towards your childcare costs through the NHS Childcare Allowance.
NHS Childcare Allowance If you are a health professional student – and have received an NHS Bursary, you can apply for help with your childcare costs through the NHS Childcare Allowance. You could be eligible if you: are an existing or new NHS Bursary-funded student; have dependent children aged under 15 (17 if your child has a disability); and use registered childcare.
The NHS Childcare Allowance can provide up to 85 percent of the costs of registered childcare up to a maximum amount. This means you could receive up to £127.50 per week if you have one child, or up to
Last updated 25/09/2015 9 £189.55 if you’re paying childcare costs for two or more children. The exact amount you receive will depend on your personal circumstances. The Childcare Allowance is available for the full 52 weeks of the year and is usually paid in monthly instalments, along with the Bursary. Please note that you’ll be expected to forward all receipts for childcare costs.
Other sources of funding for student parents Professional and Career Development Loans You can apply for this if you’re 18 or over and are on a postgraduate or vocational course (learning skills that are specific to a particular job or career, for example, leisure and tourism, engineering or nursing).
The loan covers two years of study, while you’re in education or job-related training – plus up to one year’s practical ‘on the job’ experience, if this is part of the course. You can use the loan for any costs related to studying and training, including childcare costs. You will have to repay it, but not until one month after you’ve completed your course. You repay the bank, over an agreed period, at a fixed rate of interest. If your course is longer than two years, it is a good idea to apply for a Professional and Career Development Loan in the final two years of your course, otherwise you’ll have to start repayments while you are still studying.
The Skills Funding Agency pays the interest on the loan while you’re studying and for up to one month afterwards. Please note that a Professional and Career Development Loan could affect your benefit entitlement, so check with your benefits office before applying. For more information, contact the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900. Useful information is also available at Gov.uk on Career Development Loans. Other educational trusts/charities You may be eligible for a limited funding from specific educational or charitable trusts. You should be able to find out more from your local reference or college library.
Here are some useful publications: The Guide to Educational Grants published by the Directory of Social Change The Grants Register published by Palgrave Macmillan Ltd Charities Digest published by Waterlow Information Services The Directory of Grant Making Trusts published by the Directory of Social Change If you’re in post-16 education in England, it’s worth checking out: the Family Action’s Educational Grants Programme.
Last updated 25/09/2015 10 During maternity leave You may be entitled to help with your childcare costs during maternity leave. This section outlines the help you can get through childcare vouchers (See pages 5-6 for working parents) and the childcare element of Working Tax Credit. The same entitlements to receive childcare vouchers and other non-cash benefits also apply if you’re taking adoption leave. Childcare vouchers and other employer-supported childcare For details about claiming childcare vouchers or other employer-supported childcare, see the section on help with childcare costs for working parents (pages 5-6).
If your employer offers childcare vouchers, they are classed as ‘non-cash benefits’. If you are part of a childcare-voucher scheme prior to going on maternity leave, the vouchers must be paid throughout maternity leave (both ordinary maternity leave – weeks 1-26 – and additional maternity leave – weeks 27-52).
Can my employer deduct the amount of my childcare vouchers from my maternity pay? If you receive childcare vouchers as a salary sacrifice, your employer cannot deduct this amount from your Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP); they must pay SMP in full for 39 weeks. If you are entitled to extra (contractual) maternity pay, your employer can continue to apply the agreed salary sacrifice during maternity leave – check your contract or salary sacrifice agreement. Even if you don’t have any salary to sacrifice, your employer should still continue to give you childcare vouchers. If this is the case, your employer is responsible for the cost of the vouchers.
Will I be better off staying in the childcare voucher scheme during my maternity leave? The amount of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) you receive is based on your taxable salary. This means that, if you choose to receive childcare vouchers as a salary sacrifice, you are reducing your taxable pay, so the amount of SMP you receive could be lower. Check your employer’s terms and conditions to see whether you can opt in and out of the salary sacrifice scheme. If you choose to opt out of your employers voucher scheme, you may not be able to re-join immediately, so leaving your salary sacrifice scheme may mean that you have to wait until you return to work before you can get childcare vouchers again – check your company’s policy.
If your scheme does not allow you to opt in and out in this way, you will need to consider whether you will be better off: • staying in a salary sacrifice scheme and receiving lower Statutory Maternity Pay in addition to childcare vouchers for up to 52 weeks; or • leaving the salary sacrifice scheme prior to the qualifying period for Statutory Maternity Pay (approximately weeks 18-26 of your pregnancy) in order to receive more Statutory Maternity Pay. You may qualify for Working Tax Credit to help with your childcare costs during your maternity leave, but see below for restrictions.
What if I have problems joining or continuing a voucher scheme before/during my maternity leave? If you have problems joining a scheme, are told you must leave a scheme or your employer wants to withdraw an existing scheme at your workplace, you should seek specialist legal advice.
Last updated 25/09/2015 11 In 2017 (date to be confirmed), a new scheme, called Tax-Free Childcare, will gradually replace the existing employer voucher scheme. This will be open to all eligible parents, unlike under the current system, outlined above, where childcare vouchers can only be used by people whose employer offers the scheme.
However, if you are currently part of an employer childcare voucher scheme you can choose to remain in this until you change employers. To find legal advice you could contact: • your workplace union rep; • your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau ; or • Working families on 0300 012 0312 For further information on the new tax-free childcare scheme visit gov.uk advice page. Can I get the childcare element of Working Tax Credit during my maternity leave?
While you are on maternity leave, you may still be able to get Working Tax Credit even though you are not working. This is because you are still treated as if you are working, as long as you worked at least 16 hours per week immediately before your leave started and you are within one of the following periods: • The Statutory Maternity Pay period (39 weeks) • The Maternity Allowance pay period (39 weeks) • Ordinary maternity leave and the first 13 weeks of additional maternity leave. This means that, for the first 39 weeks of maternity leave, you can continue to claim Working Tax Credit. If you are a single parent or your partner works at least 16 hours a week, you could also qualify for the childcare element, if you are paying for registered childcare.
The Tax Credit Office will ignore the value of Maternity Allowance and the first £100 of your Statutory Maternity Pay when they look at your income, so you may be able to increase your tax credits award during maternity leave.
What happens during the last 13 weeks of additional maternity leave? If you take the full 52 weeks of maternity leave, you will not be treated as working for the last 13 weeks of your leave, so you will not be entitled to the childcare element of Working Tax Credit during this period. If your partner works at least 24 hours a week, you could still qualify for Working Tax Credit in this period, but you will not qualify for the childcare element. It is worth remembering though, that Working Tax Credit can continue to be paid for up to four weeks, if a period of unpaid leave is expected to last up to four weeks.
Make sure you report the change of circumstances to the Tax Credit Office so that you are not overpaid. For more information about Tax Credits, go to: www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits