Today the Universal Credit (Childcare Costs and Minimum Income Floor) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 will be laid, as well as the equivalent Northern Ireland regulations.
Universal credit is the biggest change of the welfare system since it was created. It is a modern, flexible, personalised benefit reflecting the rapidly changing world of work.
Up to 85% of childcare costs can be reimbursed through universal credit. However, previously those reporting costs generally had to do so in the same month-long universal credit assessment period in which they were incurred for these costs to be reimbursed.
In order to ensure that busy parents have the maximum opportunity to recover childcare costs, we are laying legislation today to give extra time for working parents to claim back childcare costs. We are doubling the period during which those who claim support for childcare costs in universal credit can report their costs—they will now have an additional month to do so.
This extension for reporting costs provides parents with more flexibility and could help claimants with two or more children avoid losing out on more than £1,100 per month. Costs can be submitted online, and those in work while in receipt of universal credit can apply for up to £646.35 per month if they have one child and up to £1,108.40 for two or more children.
In addition to the childcare support provided in universal credit, the Government also provide a wide range of childcare support for families, including 30 free hours for three and four-year-olds of working parents, 15 free hours for disadvantaged two-year-olds and for all three and four-year-olds, and tax-free childcare.