Childcare costs and universal credit
Many universal credit claimants find it hard to start work because they cannot afford to pay for childcare ‘up-front’ until they have been paid.
To help overcome this problem, the DWP has confirmed that the Job Centre’s ‘Flexible Support Fund’ can be used. This is paid directly to the childcare providers and can be used to cover a deposit, retainer, fees or taster/settling-in periods. It does not have to be repaid by the claimant.
Universal claimants have also found it difficult to meet the rule that childcare costs have to be reported every month. Since 16 October 2019, the time allowed has been extended. Childcare costs can now be reported in the monthly assessment period in which they were paid, or the following monthly assessment period. A report can still be accepted up thirteen months late in fact, but the claimant then needs good reasons for the late submission.
See this factsheet for more information.