Information videos from our Family Benefits Advice Service

The trained advisors from our Family Benefits Advice Service share their expertise in this series of videos on a wide range of issues including support with childcare costs and other benefits that parents and families may be entitled to. Our team has been very busy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic responding to queries through our Freephone helpline and online advice service, and these are some of the most common issues we have been asked about.

Childcare Vouchers and Tax-Free Childcare

Some advice for parents who use Childcare Vouchers or Tax-Free Childcare to pay for childcare and how COVID-19 may have impacted parents using these forms of financial support.

 

Brenda McShane from our Family Benefits Advice Service shares some useful information on opening a Tax-Free Childcare account. Parents can open a Tax-Free Childcare 30 days before the end of maternity leave (this doesn't include any paid annual leave that may be taken prior to actually returning to work). Tax-Free Childcare pays 20% of childcare costs for eligible working families.

 
 

Chris Briggs from Employers For Childcare's Family Benefits Advice Service explains the eligibility rules for Childcare Vouchers, since the scheme closed to new entrants in October 2018. No new parents can now join the Childcare Voucher scheme, but those using it can continue to do so, while they remain eligible.

 
 

Chris Briggs, Senior Family Benefits Advisor with our Family Benefits Advice Service provides an overview of Tax-Free Childcare, including who is eligible, and signposts to the updated 'Comprehensive Guide to Tax-Free Childcare' which is available to download from our website.

 
 

Chris Briggs from our Family Benefits Advice Service provides advice to those who may be living in the Republic of Ireland, but working and accessing childcare in Northern Ireland on how to save money on their childcare costs through the Tax-Free Childcare scheme.

 
 

Chris Briggs from our Family Benefits Advice Service sets out some useful information in relation to Tax-Free Childcare for childcare providers. This includes advice for childcare providers on how to sign up to receive Tax-Free Childcare payments, from the parents who use their service.

 
 

Chris Briggs from the Family Benefits Advice Service offers a summary of how Tax-Free Childcare can help working parents save money on their childcare costs and advises parents on how to access the Tax-Free Childcare system for those unable to use the Government Gateway portal.

 
 

Parents who haven't salary sacrificed the maximum amount (according to what tax band they fall into) during the 2020-21 tax year, can, with their employer's permission, request to ''backdate' their Childcare Vouchers to salary sacrifice up to their full annual allowance in the remaining months of the tax year (up to the end of March 2021). Chris Briggs from the Family Benefits Advice Service explains.

 
 

Tax-Free Childcare and COVID-19. James Gallagher from the Family Benefits Advice Service answers some of the most frequently asked questions which have been coming in to the team, around Tax-Free Childcare and the impact of COVID-19 on parents claiming this form of financial support with their childcare costs.

 
 

Many parents stopped paying into their Childcare Voucher accounts during COVID-19 but parents must make at least one payment into their account every 52 weeks to stay eligible for the scheme. James Gallagher from the Family Benefits Advice Service explains more about how to do this, and why it's necessary.

 

Advice for those impacted by COVID-19

Some advice on the financial support available to those impacted by COVID-19, whether in terms of reduced hours, or an inability to work, perhaps due to contracting the virus or having to self-isolate due to close contact with someone who has tested positive.

 

Are you returning to work soon following a relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions? Other parents will be planning a return to the workplace, having perhaps been working from home for a period due to Covid-19. Find out what financial support you are entitled to with your childcare costs by contacting the Family Benefits Advice Service. Our team can carry out a personalised 'better off' calculation, based on your family's unique circumstances, and work out what is best for you.

 
 

Secure your childcare place now! As many parents prepare to return to the workplace over the coming weeks and months, Chris Briggs, Senior Family Benefits Advisor with the Family Benefits Advice Service offers advice on securing a registered childcare place. With increasing demand for childcare, it's important not to leave it too late - parents should speak to their childcare provider now. Financial support is available with childcare costs - speak to the Family Benefits Advice Service to find out what's best for your family.

 
 

Have you been made redundant as a result of COVID-19? Many people have contacted us concerned that this will mean an automatic move to Universal Credit, but this may not be the case. James Gallagher from Employers For Childcare's Family Benefits Advice Service explains the options available in terms of financial support.

 
 

Not able to work due to COVID-19? Perhaps you have had a positive test, or you or a family member is shielding? Or a school or childcare facility has had to close? Chris Briggs from our Family Benefits Advice Service advises on the financial support available for those unable to work due to COVID-19, including Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

 
 

Have you been made redundant or are you being faced with possible redundancy? James Gallagher from our Family Benefits Advice Services outlines the various forms of support that may be available, including Jobseekers Allowance, Tax Credits, Universal Credit or, for some, Carers Allowance, depending on their circumstances.

 

How we can help you

Some information on the services provided by our charity’s Family Benefits Advice Service.

 

Brenda McShane from Employers For Childcare's Family Benefits Advice Service outlines how the team can support employers in helping their employees achieve a positive work-life balance, while still ensuring they can meet organisational and business objectives.

 
 

The Family Benefits Advice Service is now providing online information and advice sessions for employers, parents groups, elected representatives and others - covering issues including the financial advice available to parents with childcare costs. Brenda McShane, one of our Family Benefits Advisors talks about this new service.

 
 

James Gallagher from our Family Benefits Advice Service outlines how we are here to help parents and families. While the team specialises in childcare support, we can look at all types of financial support parents are entitled to, including disability benefits, housing benefit, free school meals, school uniform allowance, Healthy Start vouchers and much more.

 
 

Chris Briggs from our Family Benefits Advice Service sets out some of the challenges facing families this autumn. With furlough and the Self Employed Income Support Scheme both coming to an end, a planned cut to Universal Credit, rising prices and disruption to work and school due to Covid-19 which may be affecting parents' ability to work.

 
 
 

Benefit entitlements explained

Some useful information for parents on some of the benefits they may be entitled to.

 

James Gallagher from our Family Benefits Advice Service reminds Universal Claimants that their Universal Credit payments will be cut by £20 per week from October. He advises those in receipt of Universal Credit to plan for this reduction in income now and to contact the Family Benefits Advice Service to make sure they are claiming all the financial support they are entitled to.

 
 

Chris Briggs from our Family Benefits Advice Service sets out some useful information on Child Benefit - who is eligible and how to claim. He reminds parents that it is important to apply for Child Benefit even if they are not eligible to receive the payment as it will ensure they receive National Insurance credits and that their child receives their National Insurance number when they turn 16.

 
 

James Gallagher from our Family Benefits Advice Service addresses a common myth - that those who are in work are not entitled to any support with childcare. Most working parents are eligible for some form of support with childcare costs - contact us on Freephone 0800 028 3008 for a free, personalised 'better off' calculation and we can help you work out what's best for your family.

 
 

Brenda McShane from our Family Benefits Advice Service explains the financial support available to families with back to school costs including school uniforms, transport to and from school and childcare (including wraparound childcare such as breakfast and after school clubs). Our Family Benefits Advice Service can help parents work out what financial support they are entitled to.

 
 

James Gallagher from our Family Benefits Advice Service outlines the support that is available to families with home to school transport costs and signposts to where most information is available. For anyone who would like to find out if they are eligible for support with school transport costs or other back to school costs such as school meals or uniforms, contact the Family Benefits Advice Service on Freephone 0800 028 3008.

 
 

James Gallagher from our Family Benefits Advice Service reminds parents to find out what financial support is available with back to school childcare costs - such as wraparound childcare through breakfast or after school clubs. Most families are entitled to some form of support with their childcare costs and we can help identify what is available, based on your unique circumstances.

 
 

To celebrate International Twins Day, Chris Briggs from our Family Benefits Advice Service reminds parents (or expectant parents) of twins and multiples to make sure they are receiving all the financial support they are entitled to, to help with the added costs associated with a multiple birth.

 
 

Brenda McShane from the Family Benefits Advice Service explains what happens to parents in receipt of Income Support when their youngest child turns five. Brenda offers advice to those in this situation, which will mean making a new claim for Universal Credit. **Please note, this information is for those in Northern Ireland only, for those in other parts of the UK, information may be different.

 
 

Brenda McShane from the Family Benefits Advice Service explains how the two child cap for Universal Credit and Tax Credits is applied, including some important exceptions.

 
 

What is Marriage Allowance and who is eligible? Brenda McShane from our Family Benefits Advice Service provides some information on Marriage Allowance, including who is eligible for this benefit and how to claim it. Marriage Allowance is available to eligible couples who are married or in a civil partnership, both born on or after 6 April 1935.

 
 

What is the Sure Start Maternity Grant and who is eligible? Brenda McShane from our Family Benefits Advice Service provides some information on the Sure Start Maternity Grant, which is available to eligible expectant or new parents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (not Scotland). Includes information on how to claim this support with the costs associated with a new baby.

 
 

Having a baby can be an expensive time, particularly for first time parents. Chris Briggs from our Family Benefits Advice Service outlines the financial support available to expectant or new parents, including with childcare. Chris also outlines rights and entitlements around maternity and paternity leave and pay, and provides details on how to claim Child Benefit.

 
 

Do you have a child with special or additional needs? Did you know you may be entitled to financial support, including with the cost of childcare. Brenda McShane from our Family Benefits Advice Service outlines some of the support which may be available, including what to do when children who are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance turn 16.

 
 

Find out more about Healthy Start Vouchers which are available to expectant parents and those with children under the age of 4, who are in receipt of certain benefits. James Gallagher from our Family Benefits Advice Service explains more about who is eligible for the vouchers, and how to claim this support.

 
 

Our Family Benefits Advice Service gets asked a lot if there is any financial support available to grandparents or other family members who help with childcare. Chris Briggs from the team outlines how some who are below state pension age may be entitled to claim National Insurance credits – known as “specified adult childcare credits” – towards their state pension, to cover any gaps in contributions.

 

Personalised advice and guidance available

These videos are intended to provide general advice and guidance around some of the most common questions our Family Benefits Advice Service responds to. The team is also available to provide personalised advice to individuals and families on issues affecting them, particularly at this challenging time. To speak to a member of the team, Freephone 0800 028 3008 or you can drop us an email to hello@employersforchildcare.org.

Last year, where we completed a personalised ‘better off’ calculation, we identified an average of almost £3,500 in financial support for families, so it could be a call that is well worth making.