Universal childcare subsidy

Introduction

A universal childcare subsidy is available to children in Tusla-registered childcare who are over 6 months but under the age they can start the free Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme.

The subsidy is deducted from the overall bill you get from your childcare provider.

Budget 2022: From September 2022, the Universal Subsidy under the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) will be extended to children aged up to 15 years.

Rules

To qualify for the Universal Subsidy:

  • Your child must be above the age of 6 months but below the age when they can start the free ECCE scheme
  • Your childcare provider must be registered with Tusla and in a contract with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to offer the Universal Subsidy.

The subsidy is not means-tested.

You cannot get the Universal Subsidy and an income assessed subsidy at the same time. However, you can choose which subsidy is of greatest benefit to you.

Rates

The universal childcare subsidy is paid at €0.50c an hour up to a maximum of 45 hours a week to all eligible children.

You can use the subsidy calculator on the NCS website to help work out what your entitlement will be.

For example, if your child is attending childcare for 45 hours a week, the subsidy you could get is €22.50 per week (€0.50 x 45 hours).

For example, if your child is attending childcare for 20 hours a week, you could get a subsidy of €10 per week (€0.50 x 20 hours).

How to apply

You should apply for the universal subsidy under the new National Childcare Scheme at ncs.gov.ie. You will need a verified MyGovID account and the date of birth and Personal Public Service (PPS) number for each child you are applying for.

You can apply by post by contacting the Parent Support Centre – ‘Where to apply’ below. These applications will take longer to process and may affect the start date from which your subsidy can be paid.

The subsidy will be paid directly to your childcare provider and will be deducted from the cost of your childcare.

Your childcare provider must be registered with Tusla. You can get a list of contracted childcare providers on ncs.gov.ie.

You can read more in our document on the National Childcare Scheme (NCS).

Where to apply

To find childcare providers in your area offering the Universal Subsidy contact your City or County Childcare Committee.

For more information on the National Childcare Scheme visit www.ncs.gov.ie or contact the National Childcare Scheme Parent Support Centre. Call (01) 906 8530 (9am - 5pm Monday to Friday) or email NCS@dcya.gov.ie.

Page edited: 13 October 2021