Universal childcare subsidy

Introduction

Since 21 August 2017, a universal childcare subsidy is available to children in Tusla registered childcare who are above the age of 6 months but below the age when 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 service.

From November, you should apply for the universal childcare subsidy using the National Childcare Scheme.

Applications should be made online at ncs.gov.ie. To apply online you will need to have a verified MyGovID. More information on getting and using a verified MyGovID is available on the MyGovID website. You will also need the Personal Public Service (PPS) numbers for your children and your partner (if you have one).

A paper-based application will also be available from January 2020. These applications will take longer to process and may affect the start date from which your subsidy can be paid.

You can read more on ncs.gov.ie.

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 and Youth Affairs 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

Since 21 August 2017, a universal childcare subsidy is available to all children in Tusla-registered childcare who are above the age of 6 months.

Universal Subsidy:

Session type Weekly subsidy Daily subsidy
Full-time (over 5 hours) €20 €4
Part-time (over 3 and a half hours and up to 5 hours) €10 €2
Sessional (over 2 and a quarter hours and up to 3 and a half hours) €7 €1.40
Half-sessional (one hour and up to 2 and a quarter hours) €3.50 €0.70

If your child is attending childcare for part of a week, you can get the universal childcare subsidy on a pro-rata basis. For example, if your child is attending childcare for 2 full days each week, the amount of subsidy you could get is €8 per week (€4 x 2 days = 8).

How to apply

Contact your childcare provider to check if they are offering the universal childcare subsidy.

If your childcare provider is offering the Universal Subsidy, you will need to provide them with the following (for the 2019/2020 programme year only):

Since November 2019, 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.

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 +353 1 906 8530 (9am - 5pm Monday to Friday) or email NCS@dcya.gov.ie.

Page edited: 20 November 2019