Only critical workers can access universal credit childcare while government’s response to coronavirus is in place, says DWP


 

April 2020

Updated information set out in 'understanding universal credit' pages on gov.uk

Only critical workers can access universal credit childcare while government's response to coronavirus is in place, the DWP has said.

The DWP has updated information on its 'understanding universal credit' pages - New to Universal Credit and Employment and benefits support to advise that, in respect of childcare costs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak - 

'If you’re already claiming universal credit, any childcare costs that you have paid for and reported, for childcare that has been provided, will be reimbursed as part of your universal credit claim as normal. Any childcare costs that you have paid for and intend to report, for childcare that has been provided, will also be reimbursed as part of your claim as normal.

Whilst the government’s response to coronavirus is in place, unless you are a critical worker you will not be able to access universal credit childcare.

NB - further information about who qualifies as a critical worker is set out in Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision.

In respect of childcare that is paid for in advance during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the DWP advises -

'If you pay (and report) advance childcare costs for a future assessment period, but no childcare actually takes place during that time, you will not be able to reclaim those costs as part of your universal credit claim.

Your childcare provider might ask to keep an advance payment, saying that it will cover your costs whenever your childcare resumes. Please note that you will only be able to reclaim these costs if the childcare resumes during the assessment period in which you made the payment, or within the next 2 assessment periods after that.

Your childcare provider might ask for a sum of money to keep a place for your child – this is sometimes known as a retainer. This is not eligible for reimbursement unless it is actually an advance payment for childcare costs.'

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