Universal Credit and childcare

This guide explains more about Universal Credit and childcare.



If you, or both you and your partner are working you may be able to get support with the childcare costs you pay to a registered or approved childcare provider.

Childcare costs can only be claimed for a dependent child up to the 31 August following the child’s 16th birthday.

Published 18 June 2018
Last updated 2 July 2020 + show all updates
  1. Guidance updated to provide more information on paying for childcare and claiming the costs back through Universal Credit.

  2. Added links to the latest guidance on accessing childcare in England, Scotland and Wales.

  3. Added guidance on what help people claiming Universal Credit can get with childcare costs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

  4. Updated guidance to say you will need to report the full cost of childcare before the end of the Universal Credit assessment period which immediately follows the assessment period you’ve paid the childcare charges in.

  5. Removed 'You are not eligible if the child is your foster child' from the 30 hours free childcare section. From September 2018, children in foster care are entitled to 30 hours free childcare giving foster families the same support as other families.

  6. Updated the section about 'Information you need to provide us with' to clarify that you need to provide the full cost of the childcare before the end of each Universal Credit assessment period it’s paid in.

  7. Added a link to the Universal Credit change of circumstances page.

  8. Section 7 added to Welsh version of HTML Guide

  9. When you will get paid your childcare costs, section 7 added.

  10. Added Scottish and Welsh inspectorate information, the Care Inspectorate for Scotland, and for Wales, Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW).

  11. First published.