Tax-Free Childcare: Qualifying children
To be entitled to a TFC payment, the child must be a qualifying child. In this section we explain what that means.
A child is a qualifying child until the last day of the week in which the 1st September following their 11th birthday falls.
A disabled child is a qualifying child until the last day of the week in which the 1st September following their 16th birthday falls.
Claimants responsible for a disabled child are entitled to a top-up of up to £4000 a year (£1000 per 3 month entitlement period) compared to up to £2000 for non-disabled children.
A child counts as disabled for TFC purposes if Disability Living Allowance, disability assistance in Scotland, Personal Independence Payment, Armed Forces Independent Payment or any allowance or payment from a prescribed state (EEA or Switzerland) which is similar to these benefits is being paid.
A child who is certified as severely sight impaired or blind by a consultant ophthalmologist also counts as a disabled child.
The basic premise of TFC is that once in an entitlement period, changes of circumstances that impact eligibility do not apply until the next entitlement period.
However, where a child is awarded a qualifying disability benefit mid-way through an entitlement period, our understanding of the legislation is that the higher £4000 limit should apply from that point on.
Jessica is a single parent with one child. Jessica's entitlement period starts on 1st October and runs for 3 months. She pays in £2000 on the 10 October and receives a £500 top-up. On 15 October DLA is awarded for her child. Jessica pays in a further £2000 on 20 October and receives a further £500 top-up because her child is now classed as a disabled child.
We are not aware of any provisions that would allow backdating to earlier entitlement periods where, for example, a DLA decision takes some time.
Last reviewed/updated 26 May 2022