Spotlight on: Childcare - declaration and evidence
This Spotlight product has been designed to support work coaches and case
managers with verifying childcare costs. It outlines the claimant’s
• to provide acceptable evidence to validate childcare costs paid, and
• lists the types of evidence that are acceptable to meet the DWP
evidence requirement standards.
The Spotlight will remain in place for a temporary period until the Universal
Credit design and supporting products are developed further.
Initial declaration overview
A claimant can declare childcare costs when they make a new Universal
Credit claim or at any time during the life of an existing claim. They must
satisfy the work conditions although the service will automatically determine if
these are met.
Universal Credit will provide 85% of childcare costs subject to a maximum of
£646.35 for one child or £1108.04 for two or more children.
It is important for agents to explain to the claimant that it is their responsibility
to provide the correct type of evidence and to be clear about when this needs
to be provided by.
If the work coach has had these discussions with the claimant, then add the
message below into the claimant’s journal.
this journal must not be sent to claimants until a discussion has taken
place with the work coach.
When evidence is required, the claimant will be asked to supply unaltered
evidence to verify each individual childcare provider and each individual
childcare cost they have declared.
When the claimant initially reports childcare costs, the 'Provide proof of
childcare provider' and 'Provide proof of childcare costs' to-dos are generated
for the claimant.
On selecting either to-do, the claimant is given three options for how to provide
How the claimant can provide evidence
This is the preferred option and the claimant should be encouraged and
supported to use this. Once selected, an ‘Upload proof of your childcare
provider’ to-do is created for the claimant. Once the evidence is uploaded and
the to-do completed, a ‘Verify childcare costs’ to-do is created for the case
manager to complete.
Bringing documents into the jobcentre
On selecting this option, the claimant is prompted to book a further evidence
appointment with their work coach. The ‘Verify childcare costs’ to-do is created
for the work coach or case manager to complete once the claimant
has provided the evidence.
Posting the evidence
On selecting this option, the claimant is prompted to post their evidence to the
address supplied. The ‘Verify childcare costs’ to-do is created for the work
coach or case manager to complete once the evidence is received
Acceptable evidence to verify a childcare provider and childcare
For information on verifying childcare providers and childcare costs and the
evidence required, see: Childcare costs Childcare provider or costs cannot be verified due to lack of
If the declared childcare provider or costs can’t be verified due to lack of
evidence, the 'Verify childcare costs'
to-do must be left open until either:
• acceptable evidence is received, or
• the time limit has been reached (one calendar month)
Childcare costs are unreasonable
Once costs are declared, the agent must consider if they are unreasonable.
This means considering the hours worked, travel time, location and total
amount of childcare. If an agent considers the costs unreasonable, they must
be referred to a decision maker.
For more information on reasonable usage of childcare costs, see: Childcare
costs: reasonable usage
. Proof of childcare costs not always required
When the childcare costs are declared in Universal Credit, the 'Provide proof
of childcare costs' to-do is generated. This tells the claimant what evidence is
required to validate the costs and how to provide the evidence to us - either by
or an appointment with a work coach:
• The system won’t always generate a 'Provide proof of childcare costs'
do and a 'Verify childcare costs'
to-do - if the costs have been regularly
reported with similar or the same amounts over a period of time, the to -
do’s will always be created when costs are first declared
• when a 'Provide proof of childcare costs'
to-do isn’t generated, the
system automatically accepts the reported costs and an entry is
displayed in the claimant history to confirm the acceptance - in these
cases, claimants won’t need to provide any proof
When costs should be declared and the action to take if late
When should a claimant declare costs?
Agents must encourage claimants to report their childcare costs to us on
the same day they pay them
If childcare costs are not reported on the day they are paid, the claimant must
report them within the assessment period in which the costs were paid (or at
any point in the subsequent one) to ensure they are fully reimbursed for the
eligible costs declared.
Costs are reported outside the assessment period in
which they were paid
A message is automatically relayed to the claimant informing them they still
need to upload proof of the costs.
Costs accepted after the assessment period which paid
If the costs are accepted in this scenario, the payment must be calculated
manually by the case manager.
If the work coach accepts costs, the Service Centre must be notified either by
using the Handover Tool or by contacting the case manager or case manager
Costs are reported outside the assessment period or subsequent
assessment period in which they were paid
If the costs are reported outside the assessment period or subsequent
assessment period in which they were paid, a 'Refer to decision maker (late
reporting of a change)' to-do must be generated and completed.
The decision maker will determine whether costs can be allowed. If
they accept the reason for late reporting, the case manager will make a
manual calculation to issue payment.
A 'Review an overpayment or underpayment' to-do will not be
these cases. Evidence supplied is not acceptable
The action to be taken if the evidence is not sufficient
Agents must check whether the evidence exactly matches the costs displayed
within the 'Verify childcare costs'
• if the evidence doesn’t match the declared cost or provider, select ‘No’
in the ‘Verify childcare costs’ to-do
• if insufficient evidence has been provided, select the ‘I still need to see
proof’ option - a free-text box is available if the claimant chose to upload
their evidence and the to-do is completed and marked as done (this will
produce a ‘Provide proof of your childcare costs again’ to-do for the
claimant to provide the correct evidence - once the claimant completes
the to-do, a ‘Verify childcare costs’ to-do will be created for the agent)
• those costs not accepted won’t be included in the current assessment
Time limits for supplying evidence to verify childcare costs
When must evidence be received?
Evidence must be received within 1 month of the costs being declared.
What must happen if evidence is not received within the time limit?
The 'Verify childcare costs' to-do is created once the claimant completes the
‘Provide evidence of childcare costs’ to-do. The agent must then confirm if the
evidence supports the declaration in the normal way.
If the claimant subsequently makes contact, they must be advised to re-
declare the costs which will then be referred to a decision maker.
If evidence is received outside a calendar month and the ‘Verify childcare
costs’ to-do is still open, a referral must be made to a decision maker.
The agent must then confirm if the evidence supports the declaration in the
These costs may not be included in the calculation at the end of the current
A ‘Review an overpayment or underpayment’ to-do is created for the payment
of the costs to be considered.
Action to take when more than one cost is declared
There will be occasions when a 'Verify childcare costs' to-do contains more than
one set of costs.
If a claimant provides evidence that does not verify all the costs, the
agent must select ‘I need more proof’ for those costs and complete the to -do.
The Service will then automatically create a ‘Provide proof of childcare costs
again’ to-do for the claimant. Once the claimant completes this to-do, a further
‘Verify childcare costs’ to-do is generated for the agent.
Childcare costs that have been verified will be included in payment
calculations even if there are some costs still awaiting evidence within the to -
Managing the 'Verify childcare costs' to-do
Continue to case manage as normal. If you identify childcare costs that can be
verified, then complete the to-do.
Initially there may be an increase in the number of childcare costs that need to
be retrospectively calculated and paid to the claimant.
To enable claimants to be paid their childcare costs as early as possible,
jobcentres are to proactively manage the completion of outstanding ‘Verify
childcare costs’ to-dos.
They must nominate a site lead who will filter for 'Verify childcare costs' to -
If the outstanding to-dos are designated just for the case manager, these will
have evidence uploaded by the claimant and action can therefore be taken
If the case is designated to the work coach and case manager, the claimant
must have decided to provide the evidence either in person or by post.
If a claimant has indicated they will provide the evidence in person, check if an
appointment has been booked. If not, the claimant must be prompted to be