We’re aware from the number of parents getting in touch with us, and from comments on one of our recent Facebook posts, that the process for applying - and reconfirming your eligibility – for the government’s 30 hours free childcare scheme is not clear.
The root of the problem seems to be that 30 hours free childcare shares the same application process as the government’s Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) initiative. One of the rules for using TFC is that you can’t use childcare vouchers at the same time. Whilst that rule doesn’t apply for 15/30 hours, the application process doesn’t appear to take that fact into account.
Thankfully, parents have been sharing the advice they’ve been given by the HMRC helpline to work around this system glitch.
And to confirm:
You CAN apply for the 15/30 hours of free childcare and continue to receive your childcare vouchers.
You DO NOT have to apply for Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) to get the 15/30 hours of free childcare.
We’ve reported these issues to HMRC via the Childcare Voucher Providers Association (CVPA). They’ve said they will issue a fix to the system shortly.
More useful reading
We’ve also written a couple of other blogs on 15/30 hours free childcare:
Top Tip 1
Don’t forget – you can use your childcare vouchers to pay for any childminder/nursery costs over-and-above your 15/30 hours of free childcare.
Top Tip 2
If you don’t need childcare vouchers whilst in receipt of 15/30 hours free childcare, don’t forget, you may want to use them again when your child starts school (for before and after school clubs in term time, and holiday clubs and activity camps in the school holidays). So you need to make sure you receive at least one childcare voucher in every rolling 12-month period to remain on your employer’s scheme.