Sign up for childcare savings in time for February half term
In Shropshire the spring half term break is just over a week away, and many parents and carers will be considering their options for childcare.
The Government’s Tax-Free Childcare scheme allows eligible families to save up to £2,000 a year on registered and approved childcare such as childminders, nurseries, holiday and after school clubs. Eligible children must be under 11 years old, or 16 in some cases where they have a disability.
In order to benefit for the savings, families need to set up a Tax-Free Childcare account. Opening an account takes around 20 minutes. Money can be deposited at any time and can be used straight away, or whenever it is needed. Unused money in the account can be withdrawn at any time.
If you are working
You can usually get Tax-Free Childcare if you (and your partner, if you have one) are:
- in work
- on sick leave or annual leave
- on shared parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave.
If you’re on adoption leave, you cannot apply for the child you’re on leave for unless you’re going back to work within 31 days of the date you first applied.
If you’re not currently working
You may still be eligible if your partner is working, and you get Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance.
You can apply if you’re starting or restarting work within the next 31 days.
You can find out more about eligibility criteria, including minimum income thresholds, and set up a Tax-Free Childcare account here: Tax-Free Childcare – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Remember to make sure that your chosen childcare provider is registered with the scheme.
If you are not eligible for this scheme, there are a number of free, anonymous and independent benefits calculators you can use to make sure you are receiving everything that you are entitled to: Benefits calculators – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)