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child care element

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Welfare benefits adviser - Dudley MBC

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Joined: 18 June 2010

HI just looking for some clarification on childcare costs as Im not sure of UC’s calculation for this and am doubting myself. I guess that this issue is that APs and childcare costs dont match up neatly. I am waiting for my client to provide a bit more clarity too as there are bits of info missing.

Basically, client claims UC (new partner moved in) both working. new claim 23/07 so AP 23rd to 22 each month. Her bill for childcare covers 1/07 - 31/07 and I think this was paid 31 July (though the amounts on bill and what was paid dont quite match).  I am waiting for confirmation of when this was reported to UC (and it is possible that this was not till 6 september). There is a second invoice for covering 1 august - 30 august. I believe this was paid 6 september and reported to UC 6 september.

Initially, I thought that they would work out costs from 23/07 - 31/07 as costs before this were prior to the claim. (assuming they were reported before end of AP) but Im not certain on this point.

However, when it comes to the following month (bill 1-30 august) this fell into AP running 23/08 - 22/09 and was reported 6 september so expected 85% of full amount to be included and paid 29 september. I didnt expect that they would try to work out actual costs in each period (as dates dont tally). These costs are before the changes in October so looking at guidance, assuming that costs must be paid in AP for childcare received in that AP or paid in AP for childcare received in previous AP so expected whole amount included. Costs are attributable to period above 23/08 - 22/09.

What is recorded on the JNL is that clt reported £712 (which doesnt actually match invoices but thats another matter) is that you have reported costs for the period 1/07 - 31/08 (im guessing reported two months in one). We can only pay you for period 23/08 to 31/08 - this gives a daily rate of £11.49 x 9 days (days from 23/08-31/08) so we will pay you 85% of this amount £87.89 childcare element.  Is this possibly because she reported july costs late so she has lost this? what should happen on next payment? will she get full month or will they apportion again? ive looked at regs but my understanding of this and DWP guidance is that whole of amount at least for august should have been included (and then 85% of this)

apologies I know I should know this, but I have not had many cases with childcare costs and certainly have never seen one worked out like this.  how to make work pay eh? prior to this she was on WTC with no issues with childcare costs - she knew what she was getting and when. thank you in advance for your input.

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Accountant, Haffner Hoff Ltd, Manchester

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Joined: 27 February 2019

You are certainly correct, your client should at least have received the full amount for August.

I have had multiple cases with errors of this sort. My most recent one is, in some respects, remarkably similar to yours:

Client claimed UC 26/9, so AP1 was 26/9-25/10. They paid childcare for 1/9-30/9 on 28/9, and for 1/10-31/10 on 28/10.

For AP1, UC calculated 5/30 of Sep costs and 25/31 of Oct costs, which comes to slightly less than a full month’s payment.

They SHOULD have given the full Sep costs (as the regs allow costs from prior to the UC claim to be included), and none of the Oct costs (as they were only paid later).

We requested an MR, arguing that the full Sep costs should have been included, as allowed by the regs.

Before the MR was carried out, our client got their statement for AP2 which simply used the regular monthly amount paid by the client. (This is actually correct, but contradicts the logic used for AP1, as by that logic they should have given 6/31 of the Oct costs and 25/30 of the Nov costs, which is slightly more than a month’s costs.)

A couple of days later the MR was decided, and the DM agreed there was a mistake in that the costs for 1/9-25/9 should have been paid for. However, showing a remarkable knack for misunderstanding the regs, the DM said that what should have happened was that the pre-claim costs should have been paid for separately, as if an extra notional AP had occured pre-claim. This was done, and our client received the money that same day as an extra one-off payment in their bank.

So at the moment, our client is hundreds of pounds better off than they should be!