This section provides general guidance on the help you can get with childcare costs. We also offer help with childcare costs through our Family Information Service.

Housing and Council Tax Benefit

If you pay childcare costs we may be able to ignore up to £175 (for one child) and £300 (for two or more children) of your earnings when we work out your entitlement to housing benefit and council tax benefit.

In order to qualify for help with your child care costs you must be one of the following:

  • a couple where both of you work 16 hours or more a week
  • a lone parent working for 16 hours or more a week
  • a couple where one of you is working 16 hours or more a week and the other is ‘incapacitated’ or is in hospital or prison

You may also qualify for help with your childcare costs if you are temporarily absent from work through illness, or on maternity, paternity or adoption leave.

What childcare costs qualify?

The child must be under 15 years old, or under 16 if they are disabled.

Their care must be provided by one of the following:

  • registered child-minder
  • a registered day nursery or play scheme
  • an out-of-hours scheme run by an approved provider. The out-of-hours scheme will be able to tell you whether or not they are approved
  • an out-of-hours club or scheme provided by a school on school premises or by a local authority
  • a childcare scheme on Crown property (property owned by Her Majesty or a government department) where registration is not required
  • an organisation accredited by the Secretary of State under the tax credit regulations

Further information is available in the help with childcare costs leaflet.