How parents can claim £2,000 a year free childcare for kids under 11

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CHILDCARE is a huge financial burden for parents – but mums and dads could be entitled to £2,000 a year to help with those costs.

The government’s tax-free scheme could come in handy if you’re struggling financially due to coronavirus as lockdown is eased.

The scheme, which launched last year year, is aimed at parents with kids aged 11 and under or 17 and under if they have children with disabilities.

Millions of families are eligible, but over 1.1million of them are losing out by not claiming.

Last year, MoneySavingExpert’s Martin Lewis also estimated that “hundreds of thousands are missing out”.

Tax-free childcare replaced the government’s childcare vouchers scheme, which closed to new applicants on October 5, 2018.

Under the scheme, for every 80p you pay in, the government adds an extra 20p up to £2,000 per child – £500 every three months – which can be used to pay your childcare provider.

All you need to do is sign up and open an online account via the government’s tax-free childcare site.

To qualify, you need to be working and earning at least minimum wage or living wage for 16 hours a week on average.

The rate for 25-year-olds or over is currently £8.72 per hour, meaning you need to earn just under £140 a week.

Each parent also needs to earn less than £100,000 a year.

If either guardian is a non-EEA national and subject to immigration control, they are also unable to gain access to public funds.

It’s worth checking if you’re eligible as parents say they’re being pushed into thousands of pounds of debt due to childcare costs.

Last year, ministers started looking at fresh ways to help struggling families juggling their busy lives while bringing up young children.

If you’re struggling to pay for childcare, we’ve explained a number of ways to cut the costs.

The childcare sector is facing collapse after ministers backtracked on promises to allow nurseries to furlough staff.

We explain your rights to a nursery fee refund following coronavirus closures.

From tax-free childcare to free nursery hours – here’s the childcare help worth £5,000-plus parents may be missing out on.

Pregnant mums could also get £500 grant to help with cost of a new baby– here’s how to apply.

Plus, new mums can get up to £145 a week in maternity pay – even if they don’t have a job or boss.

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