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Saturday 17 March 2018

Q&A: Who gets the money and how much is it?

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Who is entitled to the universal childcare subsidy?

It is a non-means tested payment so all children between six months and the point at which they become eligible for the free pre-school programme (around the age of three) can benefit if they are in registered childcare.

What does registered childcare mean?

All childcare services in Ireland are compelled to register with Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. This ensures they are subject to regulation and inspection. Some childminders are also registered and can participate in the scheme. In cases where grandparents mind children but haven't formally registered the subsidy will not be available.

Where do I apply?

There is no application form. Parents need to supply their name, PPSNs and date of birth and those of their child to their service provider.

So how much is the subsidy?

Full-time (five hours or more a day) - €20.

Part-time (3.31 to five hours) - €10.

Sessional (2.16 to 3.3 hours) - €7.

Half-sessional (1 to 2.15 hours) - €3.50.

The subsidy is available on a pro-rata basis if a child is only availing of a service for part of the week.

So who gets the money and how much?

The subsidy is paid directly to the childcare provider. They should then reduce your bill by the equivalent amount. For example, if you pay €170 a week, the charge should drop to €150.

Is the money paid during holiday periods?

No, the subsidy is only paid for weeks when the childcare facility is open and your child is attending.

What if my childcare provider puts up their fees?

This is a concern. The minister has promised to monitor the situation and take action if there is evidence that childcare providers are taking advantage of the scheme.

Is there anything extra for low income families?

Yes. There is also a targeted initiative where struggling parents can receive up to €145 per week.

The amount will depend on how much childcare you use, and what funding you are eligible for. It can be claimed for children up to 15 years old.

Irish Independent

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