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15 hours free chilcare, does it affect benefits?

(24 Posts)
MoonshineWashingLine Tue 29-Apr-14 22:34:16

Can't seem to find a straight forward answer to this question!
We have recently become eligible for the government 15 free child care hours thing and all I want to know is does it affect housing benefit and does it affect tax credits?
No one seems to know for definite!
Thanks in advance smile

Meglet Tue 29-Apr-14 22:35:36

I'm pretty sure it doesn't.

wooldonor Tue 29-Apr-14 22:37:31

Is your child 3? I'm not an expert but I've never heard of it affecting any benefits. It's not means tested and you don't have to take it up, has someone suggested that it will affect benefits - you don't actually get any money, your local authority pays the child care provider for you

MoonshineWashingLine Tue 29-Apr-14 22:42:30

My dd is two. Its the new free two year old early education thing. My childminder sorts it all out but I was wondering if I have to tell the benefits office that my child care costs have gone down or not. If I do obviously my benefits would also go down so I'm wondering if its worth it of not.

Rockchick1984 Tue 29-Apr-14 22:44:33

Do you currently pay for childcare and claim tax credits towards it? If not, then no it doesn't affect any benefits. If you're claiming tax credits towards childcare costs then you will need to update your claim as your childcare costs will obviously come down.

Rockchick1984 Tue 29-Apr-14 22:45:32

X posts. So are you already working and claiming tax credits towards childcare costs?

MoonshineWashingLine Tue 29-Apr-14 22:48:26

The thing is it says in big letters on the leaflet "you benefits will not be affected by free childcare" so I'm guessing that means all benefits?!

MoonshineWashingLine Tue 29-Apr-14 22:51:08

Yeah I work pt and get tax credits with the child care element but the leaflet says it doesn't affect it so I'm guessing that I don't have to mention it?!

Brittapieandchips Tue 29-Apr-14 22:53:01

You need to declare that your childcare costs have gone down (unless you just use the hours on top of what you were already paying for) but there is no way this will affect your benefits in a way that will leave you worse off overall.

Use entitledto.co.uk to check if you need to, but tax credits for childcare only cover a percentage of the cost so getting the full cost for those hours (and the percentage for the rest if there are any) will leave you better off.

Meglet Tue 29-Apr-14 22:53:05

ah, I'm trying to think back and maybe it did affect the childcare element of my tax credits. I think it my nursery fee's went down, but it all balanced out so I wasn't worse off IYSWIM.

Sorry, it's late and it was years ago blush.

Rockchick1984 Tue 29-Apr-14 22:54:33

If you use the 15 hours in addition to your existing childcare then you wouldn't need to declare it, but if your childcare costs are going to reduce then you will need to ring tax credits to notify them. They are currently only paying a max of 70% of your childcare costs anyway so obviously it's better to save yourself the 30% you have to pay yourself. You would be commiting benefit fraud to keep claiming based on child care costs you aren't paying any more!

Brittapieandchips Tue 29-Apr-14 22:58:32

You need to tell them if what you pay the childcare place changes, for whatever reason.

Imagine it costs £100 for 15 hours childcare, and tax credits cover 80% of that by giving you £80. You add in £20 of your own money and pay that to the childminder.

If the 15 hours are free, you don't get the £80 but don't have to pay the £100, so you are £20 better off.

Your other option would be to increase your child's nursery hours, so if you doubled them, 15 would be free and the other 15 would cost £100 for which you would get £80, costing you the extra £20 still, but for double the hours.

MoonshineWashingLine Tue 29-Apr-14 22:58:49

Its the housing benefit I'm more concerned about to be honest. They can be reet buggers if you get stuff wrong! Tax credit people seem to be more understanding for some reason... I think I will just have to ring up tomorrow and spend aaaages on hold listening to the awful music...

Brittapieandchips Tue 29-Apr-14 22:59:11

Sorry, £70, not £80

Brittapieandchips Tue 29-Apr-14 22:59:44

Check entitledto.co.uk

MoonshineWashingLine Tue 29-Apr-14 23:02:01

It does make sense that I need to inform them. Its just when says in big great flippin letters "this won't affect your benefits" you kinda question it...

Rockchick1984 Tue 29-Apr-14 23:16:16

Housing benefit will either stay the same or increase, as your income will technically be going down slightly as you don't get the money yourself to pay the 15 hours.

Brittapieandchips Tue 29-Apr-14 23:42:21

It won't affect your benefits if it is on top of what you currently have. It's not the 15 hours affecting your benefits, it's not having to pay costs that you used to have, iyswim.

So if you were in income support, not working and not using childcare, and started using the 15 hours, some people might worry that would count as 'income' and affect benefits, because it is something they would normally have to pay for.

MoonshineWashingLine Wed 30-Apr-14 13:15:59

Ah I see, thanks for all your help smile if you can't get a straight answer from the government, try MN! smile

chocgalore Wed 30-Apr-14 17:17:51

if you get tax credits towards your childcare and your childcare bill goes down due to the 15h of free childcare then you need to tell them. your TC award will go down (but so does your childcare bill)..My Dd turned 3 recently and we had this issue.

Sophieandarthur30 Thu 27-Apr-17 09:43:55

Hi, sorry I am coming in to this late. I only work 2 day a week (15 hours) and am a single parents so get all the benefits. I don't understand how someone that doesn't work gets the 15 hours for free. Yet it's going to deduct money from my tax credits so it wont benefit me. Would a child that does 30 hours in the nursery get the 15 for free? It seems like it's not going to help the parents that are on benefits.
Sorry, I just don't understand.

Rockchick1984 Thu 27-Apr-17 21:48:57

If you are only working 15 hours then currently you aren't getting any help paying childcare. So it won't affect any of the benefits you receive, and it'll mean you no longer pay for childcare for these 15 hours, so you are better off!

GreenGoblin0 Fri 28-Apr-17 02:45:08

the only way it will effect the benefits you receive is that if you currently get your childcare paid for by tax credits you will no longer get this as you are no longer having to pay for the childcare. you won't be worse off. if you aren't paying for the childcare because the hours are included in the 15 free hours entitlement then you won't need to claim that money from tax credits.

Lagirafe Fri 28-Apr-17 19:31:54

I will qualify for this in Sept and according to my calculations, my housing benefit will be slightly affected - £6/week less - due to reduced childcare costs.
I will save overall as I will be paying out less in childcare but you do need to tell them.

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