From 1st September 2013, after your child’s second birthday, s/he may be eligible for 15 hour free childcare, over 38 weeks of the year, if you are in receipt of one of the following;
Income-based job seekers allowance
Income-related employment and support allowance
Support under part 6 of the immigration and Asylum act 1999
the guarantee element of State Pension Credit
Child Tax Credit – provided you are not receiving Working Tax Credit and your annual household income is less than £16,191 (as assessed by HM Revenue & Customs)
Or if you foster a child.
Will I qualify for 30 hours free childcare?
Parents of three and four year olds will need to meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for 30 hours free childcare:
• They earn or expect to earn the equivalent to 16 hours at National Minimum or Living Wage over the coming three months.
• This equates to £120 a week (or c.£6,000 a year) for each parent over 25 years old or £112.80 a week (or c.£5,800 a year) for each parent between 21 and 24 years old and £56 a week for apprentices in their first year.
• This applies whether you are in paid employment, self-employed or on zero hours contract.
• The parent (and their partner where applicable) should be seeking the free childcare to enable them to work.
• Where one or both parents are on maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave, or if they are on statutory sick leave.
• Where one parent meets the income criteria and the other is unable to work because they are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have been assessed as having limited capability to work.
• Where a parent is in a ‘start-up period’ (i.e. they are newly self-employed) they do not need to demonstrate that they meet the income criteria for 12 months.
• If one or both parents is a non-EEA national, the parent applying must have recourse to public funds.
A parent will not meet the criteria when:
• Either parent has an income of more than £100,000
• If one or both parents is a non-EEA national and the parent applying does not have recourse to public funds
What happens if a parent loses eligibility?
• They will receive a ‘grace period’ – this means they will be able to keep their childcare for a short period.
• Once the ‘grace period’ has lapsed, the parent should be entitled to the universal 15-hour entitlement.
Tax Free Childcare
This is for all working families, including self-employed, with children under 12. If your child will still be under four years old on August 31, you can now apply for this scheme. The online service will see you receive a government top up of £2 for every £8 you pay into your Tax-Free Childcare account – up to a cap of £2000 per child.
•If you and your partner each earn at least £120 a week
•If you, or your partner, are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or you’re unable to work because you are disabled or have caring responsibilities.
•If you or your partner earn £100,000 or more
•You cannot use your childcare vouchers at the same time. Working families are entitled to receive vouchers, depending on their earnings and when they join the scheme, from their employer. These won’t be available for new joiners April 18.
•You cannot claim if you are receiving working tax credit for childcare. People on tax credit can claim back up to 70 per cent of costs for childcare for youngsters under 16.
For more information please visit www.childcare-support.tax.service.gov.uk