Childcare Grant and Eligibility

(32 Posts)
CtotheB Wed 31-Aug-16 13:22:05

Hi All,
After a little bit of reassurance here. So after having my DD I've decided to head back to uni for higher education. I was under the impression that I would have funding for the nursery that she would need to attend whilst I was in lectures etc. Which works out at approx £100 a week. I've applied for the childcare grant but was told yesterday I'm not eligible (they said that my child is financially dependent on my partner, not me). Her child benefit is in my name, so I can't see what grounds they've made that claim on? I was in a bit of a fluster on the phone so should have asked that then.
Anyway, I've made a complaint and student finance are going to check it out for me, but it could be in the next 4 weeks. I have to start paying next week, which shouldn't be too much of an issue if I'm refunded.
However, if after 4 weeks they say I'm not eligible I'm totally screwed, as I've just handed my notice in. If I was aware that I would have to pay childcare our of my own money, it would have been a different situation! (Could have saved and poss started next year) but unfortunately I don't have the funds to pay 3 years childcare with very little income!
Sorry it's a bit of a rant, can anyone clarify what reasons they would use for not giving funding? Thanks in advance!!

Birdofathousandvoices Wed 31-Aug-16 13:41:24

If I remember correctly they use a number of 'disregards' and calculations to decide whether they consider that the child depends on the student or other parent. Have you also applied for adult dependant grant?

CtotheB Wed 31-Aug-16 13:45:28

What's the adult dependent grant?

CtotheB Wed 31-Aug-16 13:46:23

Ah I don't have an adult dependent on me..

Birdofathousandvoices Wed 31-Aug-16 13:47:54

It can help with a further grant if you have an adult dependant (ie a partner).
www.gov.uk/adult-dependants-grant/overview

FruitCider Wed 31-Aug-16 13:49:04

Hi Clothe, unless your partner earns less than about £12000 a year, your award will be reduced. If your partner earns more than about £17k a year altogether you will probably not be eligible for childcare allowance.

If that is the case, you may need to work 16 hours a week to make you eligible for childcare element of working tax credits. That should be very doable unless you are doing a healthcare course.

CtotheB Wed 31-Aug-16 13:51:07

Hi FruitCider, where is that information? My partner earns £22k but because I'm entitled to the total amount of maintenance loans etc I stupidly assumed we wouldn't be in the band for it. What would happen if my partner and I weren't officially together (just shared a house)..?

CtotheB Wed 31-Aug-16 13:51:23

*we don't share a mortgage

FruitCider Wed 31-Aug-16 14:01:00

You may well get the full loan, as the threshold for the maintenance loan is much higher. And in terms of deductions, they take your adult dependant grant first, then your parental learning allowance, then your childcare element, then your loan. So if you haven't been awarded any adult dependant allowance or parental learning allowance then it will definitely impact your childcare allowance. £22k is far to high to even be considered for anything but the maintenance loan.

I know this information as I've just finished a degree, mine was funded through nhs bursaries but the calculation is the same. They sent me a copy of how they calculate awards before I started my degree.

FruitCider Wed 31-Aug-16 14:01:24

And obviously if you live together and have a child together then you are a couple!

Sophiemaeprice Fri 02-Sep-16 10:09:51

Hi CtotheB,

The exact same thing has happened to me!! From their website about applying we are eligible! I sent of my forms and another when I'd comfirmed my daughters place at nursery weeks ago.

I had received my student loan late anyway as I'd have all sorts of problems with that because sfe would not accept I didn't live with my parents even though I have my own family and house to pay for. Long story short ended up having to do a hand written application and send birth certificate and child benefit letters to prove she exists.

So I've waited thinking the childcare forms with probably take ages. Rang yesterday and was told same as you that she is finacially dependant on my partner not me? Which I then said where has that come from because she has my partners name? As all child benefit letters are in my name and paid into my bank account so therefore according to your application terms she is finically dependant on me. They went back and forth for awhile until they agreed that I am indeed eligible and said they'd have the application looked at manually but couldn't tell me how long that would take. Which is not to great as when I start university on the 26th of September I'm supposed to pay her fees up until Christmas which I can pay out of my student loan but that will be pretty much all of it gone. Which is frustrating as my course is quiet expensive as I'm training to be a teacher they expect you to buy a lot of books all your own resources not to mention petrol and your own resources for placement too. You'd be suprised how much everything costs. Never mind household bills.

Will you let me know how you get on? As far as I'm concerned if there is a income bracket for it, it is absolutely appalling that it isn't explicit on their website as it gets our hopes up makes us comfirm places then be told that were not eligible and left worrying how we're going to pay. Going back to university with children is stress enough.

Hope it works out for you and let me know how you get on. x

justjuanmorebeer Fri 02-Sep-16 10:42:25

It sounds like you both have been working out the finances as if you are single parents and not in a couple. If you have a partner then you are a household so any money coming in is taken into account.

No, you cannot say that you are not a couple but live at the same address. That will not work and it is fraud.

I know they don't make it very user friendly but I think you both have misunderstood the information.

As a previous poster said, your best bet is to get work for 16 hours a week which would mean your household will qualify for working tax credits. In this you will get the childcare element where they will pay up to 70% of your weekly costs up to 200 and something pounds a week. I don't think there is any other way you will cover your childcare costs otherwise confused

Sophiemaeprice Fri 02-Sep-16 12:34:22

I haven't been working out the finance as if I was single. And it does not say you have to be a single parent though as you can still qualify as a couple. Obviously you're right about declaring this and I always have.
What I'm saying it they should make it clear what the household income must be to even be considered for any amount of money as a childcare grant. The way it is advertised seems to suggest and that anyone can be considered. My university also suggested I do this knowing about my family situation.

In my course I would not have a spare 16hrs to work. I'm in university 4 and half days a week and went I start placement it is 5 days a week. If I worked weekends I'd never see my family. So I'll have to find another solution if they turn round and say they will not pay it.

justjuanmorebeer Fri 02-Sep-16 13:28:11

You are right the PGCE year is very tough and 16 hrs would be hard.
What is your full household income? I really doubt you will qualify if your partner is working, I'm sorry.

In terms of paid work and tax credits as long as your work averages 16 hours a week over the whole year you should qualify. So if you say got a bar job working one long shift every Saturday night but then full time in the school holidays you may be able to average it out over the year. Alternatively your partner can buy childcare vouchers through his payroll that at least make your costs tax free.

Sophiemaeprice Fri 02-Sep-16 13:46:16

May I ask why you know I won't qualify?

As on the phone sfe has said I will for some of my childcare fees and that it's being reassessed.

It's just if it will be assessed in time and the fact that whole organisation is a shambles.
If they do decide I don't get anything I will have to pay it out of my student loan. I'm not going to work nights with a one year old baby. But so far they've said I'm entitled to something.

justjuanmorebeer Fri 02-Sep-16 14:23:52

Well I don't know that, but as stated above the cut off is 12k. So assuming you are living with someone who works full time hours they would automatically be above this threshold even if min wage.

I hope you do sort it but I do know how tight the eligibilty criteria is. Until 2015 they were more generous but not now I am afraid.

Sophiemaeprice Fri 02-Sep-16 14:37:59

Where does it say this on their website and why is it not clear if that's the case.

Maybe they say I am eligible because I started my course in 2013, I still receive grants, I do not need to pay back. Instead of a bigger mainentence loan. Either way hopefully it gets sorted. But I still think their whole system still needs to be reassessed because quite frankly it's confusing and not run at all well.

justjuanmorebeer Fri 02-Sep-16 15:05:04

It doesn't give a bracket, but it does say that the child needs to be financially dependent on you. Your baby isn't as you have a partner who is working therefore you and your baby are financially dependent on HIM.

Makes no difference about whose account the child benefit goes into etc, you are a household therefore it is assessed as one pot.

So unless his (sorry assumed a man, sorry if wrong) earnings are very low, you are unlikely to get any help with childcare.

Sophiemaeprice Fri 02-Sep-16 15:37:06

Okay well why are sfe advisors saying otherwise?
But thanks for your input.

CtotheB let me know how you get on. ☺️

justjuanmorebeer Fri 02-Sep-16 15:51:33

Because the sfe are notorious for fucking up and always have been. I took out my first loan with them in 2005 and have had a nightmare ever since.
From what you have said on this thread you won't qualify as your situation does not fulfil the criteria on the student finance gov website.

justjuanmorebeer Fri 02-Sep-16 15:53:26

Is your degree a 3 year one and you are starting a new PGCE in 2016/2017 or are you on a four year integrated SCITT?

Sophiemaeprice Fri 02-Sep-16 16:07:22

Yes but it does not say on the website you will only receive childcare grant if you receive 12k or less.
Either way as a mother/father yourself you must understand how much childcare costs and it's unfair for them to put false hope in people.

I'm studying BA Hons in primary education which is a 3 year course but I've had to intercollate as they would not allow me to have any time off to have my daughter as its a professional course.
If you're right in what your saying they need to make people more aware even my university didn't know that.

I take it you've been through this process and believe that you'll only receive the grant if you're a single parent because you are?

Sophiemaeprice Fri 02-Sep-16 16:08:06

Earn*

justjuanmorebeer Fri 02-Sep-16 16:16:45

I completely understand how much it costs and yes I have been through it as a parent. I did a degree, masters and PGCE all whilst a single parent. I was then a teacher for 8 years and now I work at a University where I deal with helping students with problems such as yours.

I think the problem here is the wording on the site and confusion about what financially dependent means. You don't fulfil the criteria as your baby is not financially dependent on just you as you have a partner who is earning more than 3.5 k per year. If you were single, then yes, you would qualify. If he wasn't working and he was therefore your dependent, you would qualify.

I'm sorry you are having a stress, in my experience student welfare are never up to date on these things as the amount of student parents and mature students is so low that they just don't get asked so therefore they don't keep up to date with the changes.

Birdofathousandvoices Fri 02-Sep-16 16:21:49

Some of the advise on this thread isn't exactly accurate...

OP and others... Have a look at this. Figures will be slightly different probably for 16/17 but gives an idea of how they do the calculations and could help inform any conversations you need to have with SFE

www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/media/2555/sfe_dependants_fs_1516_d.pdf

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