Childcare costs affecting your benefit claim

If you pay for childcare, we may be able to disregard these costs from your earnings when we calculate your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.

This could mean that the amount of benefit you will receive will increase.

To qualify, your child must be under 15 (or 16 if they are disabled). You will need to provide proof of any childcare payments you make and the childminder’s registration number.

How much we can disregard?

If you pay for childcare for one child, we can disregard up to £175 of your weekly earnings. This may increase to £300 a week if you pay for childcare for two or more children.

This does not mean that you would get £175 or £300 a week extra benefit. We would simply ignore this amount from your weekly income when we work out your benefit.

Qualifying childcare costs

The care must be provided by:

  • a registered childminder;
  • a registered nursery or play scheme;
  • a local authority or school out of school hours on school premises (for children aged 8 or over);
  • a child care scheme on Crown property where registration is not needed;
  • child care approved for Tax Credit purposes;
  • a foster parent/kinship carer (so long as they are not the foster parent/kinship carer of the child in question) under the Fostering Services Regulations 2002;
  • a domiciliary care worker under the Domiciliary Care Agencies Regulations 2002;
  • anyone else who is not a relative of the child, where the care is provided mainly in the child’s home.

Who can claim childcare costs

We may be able to disregard your childcare costs if you are:

  • a single parent in paid work for 16 hours a week or more;
  • a member of a couple, both of whom are in paid work for 16 hours a week or more each, or treated as being in ‘paid work’. Paid work can also apply to people receiving statutory maternity, paternity or adoption pay and maternity allowance, and people absent from work through illness for up to 28 weeks and receiving benefits; or
  • a member of a couple where one is in paid work for 16 hours or more and the other is ‘incapacitated’, in hospital or in prison. Incapacitated means being ill, registered blind or getting certain benefits.

How to claim

If you haven’t already told us about your childcare costs on your claim form, and you think that you may qualify, please complete our Childcare Costs form.