Universal Credit and childcare

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

You (and your partner if you live with them) will usually need to either:

  • be working - it does not matter how many hours you or your partner work
  • have a job offer

How much you’ll get

The most you can get back each month is:

  • £646 for one child
  • £1108 for 2 or more children

You can claim Universal Credit online.

If you stop working

Tell the Universal Credit helpline if you stop working. You can continue to claim childcare costs for at least one month after your job ends.

Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 9344
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm

Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Find out about call charges

  1. Step 1 Find out if you can get help with childcare costs

  2. and Find where you can get childcare

  3. Step 2 Get help paying for childcare

    You can get help with childcare costs for children under 18. You might be able to apply for:

    You could also get free hours childcare when your child is aged 2 to 4. You might be able to apply for:

    You can only get childcare vouchers if you have already joined a scheme.

    1. Check the rules for childcare vouchers
  4. Step 3 Check what to do if your circumstances change

    Tell government straight away if your circumstances change and you're getting:

    If you're getting 30 hours free childcare or Tax-Free Childcare you have to confirm if your details are up to date every 3 months.

    1. Sign into your childcare account to find out when you next have to check your details

    Your eligibility for support with childcare costs might also change.

    1. Check if your eligibility for help with childcare costs has changed
  5. Step 4 Check what to do when your child reaches school age

    Your child starts primary school the September after they turn 4.

    1. Apply for a primary school place
    2. Find before and after school and holiday clubs

    You might be able to use help like tax credits or Tax-Free Childcare to pay for childcare like wraparound care, after school clubs or other activities.