Guide

Help paying for childcare

Last updated: 3 January 2018

Other help with childcare costs

You may also be able to get help with childcare costs from other schemes. There are childcare parts of Tax Credits and Universal Credit. Tax-Free Childcare is a scheme for working parents.

If you work, you can also check if your employer offers childcare vouchers.

If you are a student, you may be able to get help through your college or university. Or, if you are a lone parent, through the Students Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). There is information on the Lone Parents Grant at the bottom of the page.

Universal Credit

You may be able to claim 85% of your childcare costs if you're eligible for Universal Credit.

You can't get Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as claiming Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers.

Tax Credits

You can only get tax credits to help with childcare costs if you:

  • use 'registered' childcare
  • are able to get Working Tax Credit
  • are a parent or the main person looking after a child
  • work at least 16 hours per week
  • have a child who's under 16, or under 17 if they're disabled

If you're not working and you're responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they're in approved education or training) you could get Child Tax Credit instead.

What you'll get

Use the GOV.UK tax credits calculator to find out how much you can get.

You can't get tax credits if you get universal credit.

How to make a claim

Get an application form by calling the tax credits helpline.

It'll take up to 2 weeks to arrive.

Evidence that will support your claim includes:

  • payslips
  • benefits
  • childcare costs

You must renew your claim every year. You can do this by calling the tax credits helpline.

Tax-Free Childcare

The Tax-Free Childcare scheme can help with the cost of childcare.

Visit the GOV.UK website for information about eligibility and how to apply.

Childcare vouchers

Your employer may be able to help with your childcare costs using childcare vouchers.

This calculator on the GOV.UK website can help you work out whether or not you would be better off using childcare vouchers.

Lone Parents Grant

If you're an undergraduate student and bringing up a child on your own, you may qualify for a Lone Parents' Grant.

Find out how to apply in the SAAS funding guide.

Help paying for childcare
Other help with childcare costs