PEOPLE have only just realized a major change to Universal Credit that it is too late.
Parents eagerly awaiting the increase in childcare payments were left baffled after the increase appeared late.
Since last week, 120,000 families with Universal Credit who are eligible for childcare payments have increased.
The amount of cash parents can claim has increased from £646 to £951 for one child and from £1,108 to £1,630 for two children – an increase of £522.
The new rates will help cover rising nursery and provider fees.
But most people won’t get an immediate payout making them question when they will get the bonus.
Taking to social media, one person shared the news and wrote: “I’m sorry to be one of those people.
“But would this reflect in my next statement if I had this month’s statement?
“Tomorrow’s paycheck and it’s no different than months ago. I didn’t even know about the raise!”
Another said: “Does anyone know anything about the rising cost of childcare?
“I want a part-time job because I can’t afford the nursery fees but the Government website says they will increase to £951 per month from June 28th but when I asked UC they said they only paid up to £646 and no date it was upgraded?”
It’s important to note that while the new rates take effect June 28, most of their payments won’t increase until August.
This depends on when their Universal Credit assessment periods begin as benefits are paid later.
If your review period started before June 28, you may see an increase in mid or late August.
But if your review period begins after June 28, you may see an increase as early as August.
You can check your assessment time by logging into your Universal Credit account.
Even so, all eligible parents will benefit from the payment increase on the first payday after June 28.
If you’re not sure when you’ll get it, talk to your work coach and they’ll be able to clear that up.
It comes about because some parents can now also claim their payments up front.
What other childcare help is available?
There are a range of tax breaks and subsidies to help make childcare more affordable.
You can often use them for care such as registered babysitters, nannies, plays, daycares, and vacation clubs.
It’s always worth checking government convenience child care cost calculator to find out which program will save you the most money, as not all of them can be used at the same time.
Free babysitting for two-year-olds
Parents who live in the UK and claim any of the following benefits can use some of the free childcare services for their two-year-old:
- income support
- Income-Based Job Seeker Subsidy (JSA)
- Employment Allowance and Income-Related Assistance (ESA)
- Universal Credit (where household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, excluding benefit payments)
- Tax credit (where household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax)
- Retirement credit (guarantee factor)
Two-year-olds can also get free childcare if they:
- Taken by the local government
- Have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
- Receive disability living allowance
- Discontinued care under an adoption order, special guardianship order, or child placement order
You may have to pay extra costs like meals, diapers or trips.
Contact your child care provider or your local council to find out more.
15 or 30 hours of free childcare
All children aged three to four in the UK are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare – the equivalent of 570 hours a year – from the period after their third birthday.
The free allowance is usually calculated as 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year, but you can use it at a time that works for you.
Free child care and early education must be provided by an approved child care provider and will stop when your child starts school.
Working parents may be eligible for up to 30 hours of free childcare if they work an average of at least 16 hours a week and earn the National Minimum Wage or more.
Check out what you can get and apply online at Gov.UK.
Tax-free childcare service
If you don’t qualify for Universal Credit, you may be eligible for tax-free childcare.
You can receive up to £500 every three months – up to £2,000 a year – for each of your children to help cover childcare costs.
If your child has a disability, it’s even more – £1,000 every three months, up to £4,000 per year.
To receive tax-free benefits, you need to create an online childcare account.
For every £8 you pay into this account, the government adds £2 which you can use to pay your approved supplier.
You can get child support if you are responsible for raising children under the age of 16 or if they are under 20 years of age and are in an approved education or training process.
Child allowance is currently worth £24 a week for an eldest or only child, adding up to £1,248 a year.
For each subsequent child, parents receive £15.90 a week – or £826.80 a year.
The free amount is paid every four weeks, and there’s no limit to the number of children you can sign up for – although only one can claim per child.
But be aware that people earning more than £50,000 a year may need to pay back a portion of their child tax.
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