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Student Finance/ Childcare Grant

(3 Posts)
justme12345 Wed 30-Nov-16 12:28:54

I've changed my name for privacy for this post. I don't wish to disclose my full financial information, but was hoping for advice based on the information I can give.
I'm a full time student at university in England. I'm married and live in a house with my husband and our 15 month old little boy (it's a student house technically, but we know and have a good relationship with the landlord).
My husband has had financial difficulty in the past (I don't want to go into that), and is currently working but is on a low income.
I get my student loan to live on at the beginning of every term, out of which I pay my rent (dh pays his rent himself). This is fine.
I also applied for the childcare grant for help with childcare costs (my lb is with a childminder). I had to estimate the costs earlier in the year when I first applied, then once he'd been going for a few weeks I had to fill in another form to confirm my costs. They wanted costs from September until the 23rd of October. I received some money from them, but the amount I received barely covered 3 weeks of childcare.
I phoned them up and they told me that I should receive a further payment once the second form had been processed. Obviously my childminder wants paying. It's now nearly December and I have not yet received any further payments.
So I contacted them again and was told this: I have to pay the childcare provider from my own pocket, and then they pay me the FOLLOWING term. They can not pay for childcare I have not yet had- even though my hours were confirmed and would not change.
My problem is this: I receive so much owe term from student finance. My rent is X amount a term, then my termly childcare costs are X amount as well. If I had to pay my rent, plus the childcare costs out of my student loan, I would be left with minus X amount. This is not even including living costs. Also the childcare grant money only covers 85% of costs, we have to pay the rest ourselves. The childminder wants to be paid upfront. There is no way I can afford to do that. And my husband can not afford to pay the costs upfront either. I was told that I would receive childcare grant payments at the start of every term. Therefore I would get the money, make up the difference myself which I could do, and pay it straight to the childminder every term.
Now, because we could not pay, he has lost his place with the childminder. She says she contacted the people who deal with her insurance, and they 'told her she had to' withdraw his place. I am extremely angry about this because: it's not our fault we were mislead and clearly given incorrect information, and because if we had the money to pay her we would have. I wouldn't not pay her, I'm not like that. Also, she actually made the final decision with regards his place, so now he has to miss out because of the student finance system.
She has said we can set up a payment plan to pay for the rest of this term (we've already paid her for a few weeks). But again that will come out our own pocket and we will struggle. Yes I will get the money back in January, but I need that money to pay her now, and getting it back in January won't help us now.

Is what SFE are saying right? Is that how the childcare grant works? Surely that system doesn't help people at all? If I could afford to pay his childcare myself I wouldn't have applied for the grant. They must know that any childcare provide wants to be paid in advance, not 3 months later.
Granted she's gone behind my back a few times making phone calls and stuff, which annoyed me. But I can understand why she's annoyed. She deserves to be paid. I wish I had it to give her but I just don't. And I'm annoyed at the system that clearly doesn't work at all.
Now I have no childcare provider for him, and no one else to look after him. And family simply don't have the money to even lend us to pay her for now to see if we could secure his place back.
If you've got to here, thank you, you deserve a medal. Any advise at all? (And please be nice)

OP’s posts: |
Stillunexpected Wed 30-Nov-16 18:06:42

This doesn't sound right. You should receive the childcare grant in three parts, one at the beginning of each term. You say that you have received some money from them already? Is it possible that you have actually received the amount you are getting for the term already? The grant covers up to 85% of your costs but it depends on your household income and the costs of the care. Have SF definitely said that you will be getting more per term then you have received so far?

Sofabitch Wed 30-Nov-16 22:37:07

Student finance only pays up to 80% of the costs anyway you would have received an amount at the beginning of term. Which they then confirm.

As you live with your partner his income is taken into consideration.

It's a complete mess. I had to pay back the whole 3000 childcare grant they gave me they took the whole lot in 2 payments the next year. I'd recommend getting some proper advice from your uni finance department and perhaps applying for hardship help to pay childcare costs.

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