Students and Childcare.

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    We have a claimant who is a lone parent and a full time student. She pays about £1000 per month in respect of child care for her three children, and gets £8000 childcare grant as part of her student loan assessment (which we totally ignore, right?).

    The question we have is that the claimant has recently started working 16 hours per week, and we are in discussion as to whether the child care costs she incurs should be off-set against her earnings.

    One view is that the child care costs she incurs are not as a result of her employment, and because she gets a grant in respect of her child care costs (which is ignored), to also off-set the child care against her earnings, effectively means income is ignored twice which appears (for want of a better word) [i:b25050b7fe]unfair.[/i:b25050b7fe]

    The other view is, unfair or not, the regulations don’t state the childcare has to be incurred as a result of the employment, they simply that the claimant has to be in remunerative work (which she is) and she incurs child care costs (which she does). Hence she is entitled to the child care disregard.

    Any views…?


    I think she is entitled to the disregard because she meets the conditions laid down in the regs. I don’t suppose it was intended that this should happen but as you say the wording of the relevant reg does not explicitly link the childcare to the work but simply states that the claimant must be in remunerative work. The DWP notoriously doesn’t like what it sees as “double provision” so maybe it will amend the regs at some stage, but at the moment I do not think the regs give you any choice in the matter.


    I would agree with Andy.
    Whilst I can understand a reluctance to “double count” by ignoring this income and then giving a disregard against wages, I’m pretty sure that the regs don’t preclude it.
    Relevant part to me is Reg 28 (1) (a) saying that the provision apllies if the person “is a lone parent and is engaged in remunerative work”.

    Nothing about being a student, nothing about childcare grants etc, etc.

    It isn’t the only time that we do “double count” after all, and there are many anomilies where we (rightly) say things that imply “sorry, we think that we should pay you but we can’t”. 🙄 😉
    Give the woman the money! 8)

    Carol Meredith

    Advise her to claim working tax credit as well. She will almost certainly no longer get HB but will not need it. I had a lady in a very similar position to yours. No HB once Tax Credit awarded but neither of us could quite belive how much she received and she asked me to go through it. We decided that she had legitimately been awarded everything including the childcare element of tax credit. Her only problem was that for her it would have been financial suicide to reduce her hours while doing her exams as she would lose all the working benefits so she decided to struggle through. Her wages were not especially brilliant but the tax credits were amazing!

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