Parents claiming Universal Credit are due a £522 monthly income boost.
From Wednesday, June 28, 120,000 families on Universal Credit who are eligible for childcare payments will get the pay rise.
The amount of cash parents can claim will go up from £646 to £951 for one child, and from £1,108 to £1,630 for two. That’s an increase of £522. This raise will make a big difference to many people’s lives. The new rates will help cover rising nursery and childminder fees and even better that Childcare costs for some of those on Universal Credit will be paid upfront. Which can be really helpful for family finances and also reassuring for childcare providers.
Parents who are already working and claiming childcare costs won’t get their payments upfront unless they change jobs or there is a “significant change” to their hours. But those starting new jobs or increasing hours should be able to claim upfront costs. We hope this measure will help to elevate some of the stresses of preparing for work.
At the moment, parents on Universal Credit can claim back 85% of their childcare costs – but they have to pay first before claiming the money back later on.
There isn’t a minimum amount of working hours to qualify for this change, according to the DWP. Instead, Universal Credit work coaches have been told that parents need to increase their hours by “at least a few hours more every week” to qualify for upfront cash.
Any increase in work hours would need to alter their childcare pattern by at least a few hours per week over the course of a month. This means that parents will be expected to require more childcare hours to qualify.
This isn’t the only boost parents could be eligible for to help with childcare costs, there are a range of tax breaks and grants to help make things much more affordable. Parents can usually use the extra cash for care like registered childminders, nannies, playschemes, nurseries, and holiday clubs.
3SC has been delivering a Parental Employment Programme funded by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and from European Social Funds. This programme enables 3SC to work with parents of children aged between 6 months and 11 years in South and West London to support them with finding and sustaining employment. Support is also provided to parents who are low paid workers to help them progress in work through promotion, taking on more hours or finding better paid employment.
Employers wishing to become more family friendly are also able to access the service to obtain free advice, tools and practical skills. The programme started in November 2020 and will continue through to August 2023. As part of the programme 3SC and Delivery Partners are committed to provide useful childcare advice and guidance to support parents find and sustain employment. You can find out more details here: Parental Employment – 3SC.
Kasia Westwood, Contract Performance Manager, 3SC