MOD Wraparound Childcare (WAC) Scheme

Contents

01   New claims and registration process for Wraparound Childcare

From 19 February, the way you register and claim for wraparound childcare has changed. See our news article for more information.

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02   What you need to know about WAC

The Wraparound Childcare (WAC) scheme was created by the MOD to help working families with the cost of wraparound childcare for children aged between 4-11 years old, either attending school or being home educated.

Wraparound childcare is also referred to as ‘Out of School Care’ in Wales and ‘School Aged Childcare’ in Scotland.

Families are able to claim up to 20 hours a week of capped by region funding for wraparound childcare (before and after school care) for each child during term time.

This can be used with any Ofsted approved (or equivalent) childcare setting. The childcare provider must be able to accept payments from Tax-Free Childcare accounts.

Families should note that there may be National Insurance and other financial implications associated with the WAC.

The MOD is reimbursing Service personnel (SP) for their WAC costs, this is called a ‘taxable benefit’ by HMRC. It is effectively extra income and so income tax will be charged on the WAC allowance payments that the SP receives with their pay.

The scheme makes provision for this by paying this additional tax liability (along with the additional NI liability) so that the SP does not have to. It does this by ‘grossing up’ or paying more than actually claimed for WAC costs. The extra amount paid will cover the extra tax and NI the SP needs to pay as a result of the WAC allowance they have claimed.

Where income is increased, it is possible that some SP may move to a higher tax bracket, or may find that future Universal Credit, means-tested tax credits (e.g. child tax credits), child maintenance service awards, child benefit payments (if they reach the High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge level, currently £50,000), the rate of repayment on student loans etc are affected.

If pushed into a higher tax bracket, the rate of tax paid on second incomes such as pensions, dividends, or rental income may be affected since these are taxed at the highest rate.

Families should therefore consider the wider financial impacts of claiming WAC on their tax and benefits position before making a claim. For more information, including about ‘grossing up’, please see Discover my Benefits – wraparound childcare.

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03   WAC Registration and Claims

This is an overview of the process for setting up WAC and making a claim.

  1. RECORD each child on JPA.
  2. CHECK if you meet the WAC eligibility criteria and if your family will financially benefit from having a Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) account OR a salary sacrifice childcare voucher scheme, including the Armed Forces Childcare Voucher Scheme (AFCVS (Sodexo vouchers)). You cannot have both at the same time and if you leave the AFCVS scheme you will not be able to re-join. To make an informed decision about which scheme suits your family best, you can use the childcare calculator on GOV.UK. Also check how your tax allowances and brackets can be affected using the grossing up information.
  3. APPLY: If your family is eligible and you choose to claim WAC funding, apply for a TFC account for each child. Wait until the TFC account is activated and you have your account number.
  4. REGISTER each child by completing the registration form on the Defence Intranet or Defence Connect. For this, you will need the TFC account number, childcare provider(s) details, including provider type (school or childminder) and region, and details and evidence of any child in receipt of certain Government allowances that will make them eligible for the higher rate of WAC and TFC funding. Wait for an email confirmation before step 5.
  5. CLAIM – Pay for childcare from your TFC account. Once paid the SP must complete the WAC claims calculator on the Defence Intranet or Defence Connect for each claim with the following information:
  • Type of provider
  • Location of provider
  • Invoice amount
  • Number of hours used
  • Number of school days
  • Number of hours that are for disabled children (if applicable).

The calculator will then show the amount that can then be claimed via JPA. After submitting this on JPA the money will be paid into the bank account associated with the Service person’s JPA within five working days.

Please note that claims cannot be submitted before the provider’s TFC has been activated and registration approval has been given.

For more information about WAC please check DIN: 2022DIN01-079 or see the FAQs below.

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04   Eligibility FAQs

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Check that all of these are applicable when considering taking advantage of the WAC scheme.

  • You must be Service personnel (Regular and Full Time Reserve Service) assigned within the UK or serving on an unaccompanied assignment overseas, with the family residing in the UK.
  • Children must be aged between 4 and 11 years old and have started school and/or being home educated. Children who are registered as disabled will be eligible until their 17th birthday – please see the DIN: 2022DIN01-079 for the full details about their eligibility.
  • Children must be recorded on JPA.
  • The Service person and their partner, or a sole parent in a lone parent family, must be in paid employment, or re-starting work within the next 31 days, earning a weekly income equivalent to 16 hours at the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage.
  • The Service person must be financially responsible for a child who usually lives with them for the majority of the time, unless separated due to Service commitments (deployment, residential courses) or are on unaccompanied assignments.
  • The Serving person and their partner (if applicable) must each be earning less than £100K per year.
  • The childcare provider must be registered with Ofsted (or equivalent) and be based in the UK and accept TFC as payment.
  • Each child must have a Tax-Free Childcare account.

Children aged between 4-11 which the Service person is financially responsible for and who lives with them for the majority of the time. As long as they are meet the full eligibility criteria this will include adopted children, children of long-term relationships and domestic partner children.

Please note:

  • Foster children are not eligible.
  • Children who are normally resident elsewhere, for example those living with another parent or relative, are not eligible.

If the Service person is posted overseas on an assignment and their family remain in the UK, they would be able to claim WAC funding as long as they meet all other eligibility criteria.

Children who attend boarding school (either full or part boarding) are not eligible for WAC. This includes those families paying for the costs themselves or by claiming the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA).

Children who attend an independent school as a day pupil, this could be paid for privately or by CEA, could be eligible for WAC funding but all other criteria need to be met.

No, they do not need to be married.

The eligibility criteria states that the Service person must have financial responsibility for the child and they must live with them for the majority of the time.

Personnel who live away during the week and return to the family home at weekends and during leave periods (choosing to live unaccompanied), are classed as being separated for Service reasons which satisfies the WAC eligibility criteria.

When there has been a relationship breakdown and the Service person does not live in the family home with the children when they are not at work, they will not be able to claim the WAC funding.

The WAC is not open to the Military Provost Guard Service (MPGS).

The DBS team will consider registrations from PStat Cats 1, 1(s), 1(c), 2 and 5(s) as long as they meet all other eligibility criteria.

If the SP is in one of the categories not listed and they have been rejected or have a query about their eligibility, please contact the WAC team via email PEOPLE-AFFS-WAC-FRO-mailbox@mod.gov.uk

Applicants wishing to use WAC will be required to have a TFC account and the WAC provider must also be able to take payments from the TFC account. Currently it isn’t possible to extend this to overseas locations due to the eligibility testing carried out by His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to ensure the relevant criteria are met.

Work is taking place to look at what might be possible for those serving accompanied overseas to ensure they are not disadvantaged; however, it is unlikely that there will be a solution that works in the same way for each location and AFF will keep families updated with any news about this.

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05   Tax-Free Childcare account FAQs

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To be eligible for the WAC scheme each child that you want to claim for must have a TFC account. The childcare provider that you use must also be signed up and able to accept payments from the TFC scheme.

The TFC account does not need to be set up by the serving parent but there must be a TFC account for each child that you wish to take advantage of WAC.

Please remember that the serving parent must be financially responsible for the child/ren and the child/ren must live with the serving parent for the majority of the time.

Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) is an existing scheme where the Government contributes £2 for every £8 that is paid into the TFC account. This money is then used to pay for childcare at settings that are Ofsted registered or their equivalent.

A TFC account ensures that WAC is accessed by those who are eligible as the same criteria for WAC is what is required for opening a TFC account. When you open a TFC account your salary details are checked and your partner’s salary (if applicable). The ages of your children are verified and only accredited providers can accept payments from a TFC account. TFC accounts also require you to reassess your eligibility every 3 months, this is a quick and simple process and ensures your eligibility for WAC claims.

Check the information for childcare providers on the Government’s Childcare Choices website. This page gives more information about TFC and how payments work.

Please contact the HMRC Tax Free Childcare Helpline on 0300 123 4097. They are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm. More information can be found at gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/childcare-service-helpline 

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06   Claiming and payment process FAQs

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Each child will need to have a Tax Free Childcare (TFC) account and be registered on JPA. Once this is complete the process will work as follows:

  1. The Service person must complete the WAC scheme registration form from a Defence account.
  2. Once registered and accepted, the family will use the TFC account to pay their provider for wraparound childcare.
  3. The Service person must then use the online claims calculator to calculate what they are entitled to claim within the regional capped rates and then enter the claim on JPA.
  4. Payment received through the Service person’s bank account within five working days.
  5. Service person transfers payment into TFC account ready to pay next invoice for wraparound childcare.

Note this is a brief overview of how to claim and families must check the WAC Portal and DIN for full details on how to claim and eligibility criteria.

The Service person will be able to claim back 80% of their wraparound childcare costs within the capped rates via JPA. The remaining 20% will be paid into the child’s TFC account by HMRC.

Your soldier can find the current rates on the WAC DIN: 2022DIN01-079 on Defence Connect. Please note that there are regional variations between the rates and Service personnel are required to check the amount for their area.

Example

A Service person with a capped hourly rate of £5 wants to make a WAC claim for four used hours totalling £20.

Once they have registered for the scheme and been accepted, they will submit their claim using JPA. The Service person will receive £16 in their pay (80%). The additional £4 (20%) will be added by HMRC when the Service person transfers the £16 back into the child’s TFC account, taking the total to £20. This is then ready for their next payment needed for the childcare provider. *

*This is meant as a brief overview only and the Service person is advised to check their full eligibility criteria, capped rates, and the claims process in the DIN.

The invoice must show the number of hours or sessions used as well as the cost. A screenshot is acceptable if it shows the hours used and the cost of the sessions.

SP could be audited on any WAC claim they make, therefore the invoice must show the same hours as they have made a claim for. Please note that even if they use more than 20 hours of wraparound childcare per week, the SP will only be able to claim up to a maximum of 20.

It is important to note that if the SP is audited, they will be required to show the following:

  • An invoice which shows hours and cost (a screenshot is acceptable)
  • The proof of payment from the child’s TFC account
  • A copy of the pdf file from the claims calculator

During the audit, the auditor needs to see that all the amounts correspond to the claim made by the SP.

NOTE: The SP will need to enter into the claims calculator the number of hours being claimed for in that invoice period. If the screenshot of the invoice doesn’t show the hours used then the auditor will not be able to confirm the amount of hours used and whether the claim submitted was correct. A screenshot that doesn’t show this information will not be accepted as proof of hours used.

When you have submitted your registration form DBS JPAC will confirm receipt with an automated response within 10 minutes. If you don’t receive this, then try resubmitting your form.

If a second attempt does not work, then try sending your form via email. The form needs to be attached to the email and sent to DBS-JPAC-WAChildcare-Mailbox@dbspv.mod.uk.

Regardless of how you submit your form, DBS JPAC will confirm receipt.

If you still have not received confirmation then you will need to contact the registration team, DBS-JPAC-WAChildcare-Mailbox@dbspv.mod.uk and explain that you are having difficulties submitting the required information.

What happens next and how will I know if the registration was successful?

DBS aims to respond within 10 working days. When they respond they will confirm If you are eligible and if so, they will issue you a registration number.

If applicable they will also confirm if the child is eligible for the disabled rate of Wraparound Childcare.

If you have not received a response in this time frame, then you should email the registration team at DBS-JPAC-WAChildcare-Mailbox@dbspv.mod.uk and ask them for an update of your progress.

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07   Childcare provision FAQs

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To be eligible for the Wraparound Childcare Scheme, the provider must be OFSTED (or equivalent) registered. Providers would most likely be schools (breakfast and after-school clubs) and registered childminders.

Yes, it can be split between before and after-school care, and also between different providers. All providers must be registered with OFSTED or equivalent.

No, this is for term-time only.

Yes, the DIN provides further detail.

Yes, but you would only get up to the maximum listed hourly rate. You would then need to fund anything over this amount yourself.

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08   Voucher scheme/tax credits FAQs

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Parents cannot be in the AFCVS and use Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) as well. To access WAC you must have a TFC account. Please note that if you leave the AFCVS you will not be able to re-join. We advise that families use the childcare calculator on gov.uk to help make an informed decision about which scheme would benefit them the most.

If you choose to leave your salary sacrifice scheme you can use any accumulated vouchers to cover any childcare that is not covered by WAC such as holiday care or any before or after school hours that are over the 20-hour WAC limit.

We are advising people to contact their voucher provider for full details on how to use their vouchers after leaving the scheme.

Families need to carefully consider where they use the majority of their childcare care as WAC is only for use during term time. We are reminding all families who are thinking about closing their voucher schemes to carefully consider their options as you cannot re-join the voucher scheme should you choose to leave.

You need to work out which will be best for you and your family and the HMRC childcare calculator on GOV.UK can help with this.

You cannot claim tax credits and have a TFC account at the same time. We advise families to use the Government’s childcare calculator to determine which scheme would best suit their circumstances. If you open a TFC account then your Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit will stop straight away and it is important to understand that you will not be able to apply for them again.

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09   Further information

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The WAC scheme is led by the Wraparound Childcare Project Team. They are part of Armed Forces Families and Safeguarding (AFFS) team. They can be contacted at PEOPLE-AFFS-WAC-FRO-mailbox@mod.gov.uk

We advise the Service person to read the DIN for WAC #2022DIN01-079 for the full details as your question may be answered within it.

Further information about WAC can be found on Discover My Benefits.

You can also email educationsupport@aff.org.uk if you have any additional questions or comments about WAC.

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