Here’s how to apply for childcare help if you’ve lost income due to the pandemic

Working parents who are on Covid support schemes will remain eligible to receive help with childcare, even if their incomes drop below the threshold.

The Department for Education (DfE) confirmed that parents who are using the Chancellor’s new Job Support Scheme (which will replace the furlough scheme in November) will continue to be given their childcare entitlements.

What childcare support will parents get?

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) will start on 1 November 2020 and replaces the Job Retention Scheme, which was introduced to support workers who had been placed on furlough.

From 1 November, working parents who are on the new JSS and extended Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will still receive help for childcare as they return to work, even if their income levels temporarily fall below the threshold while they are on the schemes.

Under government legislation, the DfE gives 30 hours of free childcare to eligible parents of three and four year olds in England.

The minimum income threshold for 30 hours of free childcare and tax-free childcare is typically equal to 16 hours per week at the national minimum wage, which is £8.72 for workers aged 25 and over. This means you need to earn just under £140 a week to be eligible for childcare support.

The government said, “Employees whose hours reduce due to the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to have access to Working Tax Credit and its childcare element for the duration of the JSS scheme.”

The JSS scheme will run for a period of six months, until 30 April 2021.

How do I apply for childcare support?

You can apply for 30 hours of free childcare via the government website if you live in England, and your child is aged three to four years old.

The childcare must be with an approved childcare provider, and support will stop when your child starts in reception class (or reaches compulsory school age). You may have to pay for extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.

You can apply online for a childcare account to get a code for 30 hours to give to your provider.

Parents will get 30 hours of free childcare per week for 38 weeks of the year (during school term time).

To apply you will need to submit your details (along with your partner’s, if you have one), including your:

National Insurance numberUnique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), if you’re self-employed

It usually takes around 20 minutes to apply and you may find out if you are eligible straight away, but it can take up to seven days.

A version of this article originally appeared on our sister site, Sunderland Echo.