Family Benefits Advice Service

Maximise income, know your rights

As a parent, do you know where to start in finding out what benefits and entitlements are available to you? This is where our Family Benefits Advisors can help. They can provide free, impartial and confidential advice to parents to help maximise income and inform you of your rights and entitlements.

We can help if you are a parent with dependent children and you are: 

  • Struggling to manage work and family responsibilities.
  • Unsure of which benefits you may be entitled to receive if you start or go back to work.
  • Unable to work due to childcare costs.
  • Thinking about changing your hours of work.
  • Trying to find the best childcare option for your family.

Better Off Calculations

Our Advisors have a wealth of knowledge and experience on issues relating to childcare, employment, entitlements and workplace legislation. They can also carry out “better off” calculations to help you make informed decisions about your current or potential circumstances and to ensure it actually pays to work.

These calculations can be based on a number of different scenarios to enable you to assess how your decision will impact on your household income. Please have the following information ready when you call:

  1. P60 income for previous tax year
  2. Estimated earnings and weekly working hours for this tax year
  3. Childcare costs
  4. Any disability or sickness benefits in payment
  5. Housing costs including rates
  6. Details of Maternity Leave and Pay
  7. Immigration status if applicable

Childcare Vouchers & Working Tax Credits

Working parents may also have access to financial help with their registered childcare costs either through the Childcare Voucher scheme or the childcare element of Working Tax Credit.  A key aspect of the Family Benefits Advice Service is guiding parents through HMRC’s Childcare Indicator Calculator. This online calculator ensures that you make an informed choice regarding whether Childcare Vouchers or the childcare element of Working Tax Credit would be best for your circumstances.

Explaining Childcare Vouchers & Tax-Free Childcare

Childcare Vouchers vs Tax-Free Childcare Scheme

In March 2014 the Government announced its plans to introduce Tax-Free Childcare, a new scheme which will enable parents to claim 20% of their childcare costs (up to a maximum of £2,000 per child). The new Tax-Free Childcare scheme will be introduced in early 2017.

It is important that working parents give themselves time to make sure that they make the right decision. Our Family Benefits Advice team offers one-to-one advice that can help you make the best decision for your family’s needs.

If you are already using Childcare Vouchers when Tax-Free Childcare is introduced you will have the choice between joining the new scheme and remaining in the Childcare Voucher scheme. However, you will need to make sure that Tax-Free Childcare is the most beneficial scheme for your family before choosing it; once you leave the Childcare Voucher scheme you cannot join it again.

If you are not already using Childcare Vouchers when Tax-Free Childcare is introduced, you will not be able to join the Childcare Voucher scheme as it will be closed to new entrants. Only existing members can continue to benefit from Childcare Vouchers.

It is important that you join the Childcare Voucher scheme before 2017 if it will be a more financially beneficial option for you than Tax-Free Childcare, as you will otherwise lose out on making savings on childcare costs!

Try our new calculator to find out if you will save more on your childcare costs using Childcare Vouchers or the Tax-free Childcare Scheme.