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Qualifying for the childcare costs element

Can I get the Childcare Costs element of Universal Credit

You can only get the Childcare Costs element if you, or you and your partner:

  • receive the Universal Credit Child element for this child
  • are in paid work, or
  • have accepted an offer of paid work, and
  • you pay for childcare because of this work.

What happens if you have a partner?

If you are part of a couple you must both be in paid work, or have accepted an offer of paid work.

The Childcare Costs element may be paid if one partner is working and the other can't look after the dependent children because one of the following applies, they:

  • have limited capability for work or limited capability for work related activity
  • care for a severely disabled adult or severely disabled child and satisfy the Carer Test
  • are temporarily absent from the household (for example, in custody, hospital or residential care)

Childcare providers

To get the Childcare Costs element, the childcare you pay for must be with an Ofsted registered childcare provider. You can use more than one childcare provider and you must be able to report all their details.

Which children are eligible for the Childcare Costs element?

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

What happens if you are absent from work?

If you or your partner are absent from work you can still get the Childcare Costs element for existing childcare if either of you are receiving:

  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Statutory Maternity Pay
  • Statutory Adoption Pay
  • Statutory Paternity Pay (including both Ordinary and Additional Statutory Paternity Pay)
  • Maternity Allowance

When the Childcare element can't be paid

If part of your childcare costs are paid for by someone else (for example by an employer or a through a work programme scheme) you can only claim for the remaining balance.