Martin Lewis warns £1,000s being lost as childcare vouchers expire – how to reclaim money

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Martin Lewis has provided new analysis on childcare vouchers which can be issued from employers and allow parents to cover their childcare costs from pre-tax income. Schemes were set up to manage these vouchers which closed to new applicants in 2018 but many people are likely to still save money every year by using existing plans.

On this, Martin Lewis recently discovered that vouchers issues by one of these schemes major providers, Sodexo, automatically expire after 30 months.

According to analysis from moneysavingexpert.com, parents have revealed they haven’t been notified of when their vouchers expire, meaning many will likely not be aware of the deadline.

Additionally, vouchers issued by Computershare, which will be paper based, also expire after 12 months, though there is no expiry date on their electronic vouchers.

Fortunately, guidance was provided on how to reclaim expired vouchers from this scheme.

For Sodexo, holders can log into their online account to check on their expiry date and if the vouchers they own are expired, they can get the vouchers added back into the account by calling 08003287411.

This should take no more than 10 working days to process but Sodexo detailed parents can ask for vouchers to be reissued at any time after they expire.

For expired Computershare paper vouchers, replacements can be issued by calling 0370702003.

Other companies operating in this scheme, including Care-4, Edenred, Employers for Childcare, Gemelli Employee Benefits and Kiddivouchers, revealed their vouchers will not expire at all.

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According to the government, people can keep getting vouchers (or directly contracted childcare) from their schemes as long as:

  • The persons wages were adjusted on or before October 4 2018
  • They stay with the same employer and they continue to run the scheme
  • They do not take an unpaid career break of longer than a year

It should be noted people cannot continue to claim childcare vouchers if they successfully apply for tax-free childcare.

Tax-free childcare allows people to receive up to £500 every three months for each of their children to help with the costs of raising a child.

This support will be provided if a person sets up an online childcare account and for every £8 deposited into this account, the government will pay in £2.

The support can be used to pay for approved childcare options which includes childminders, nurseries, after school clubs and play schemes.

If a person receives tax-free childcare support, they must tell their employer within 90 days of receiving it.

The employer will then need to stop providing new vouchers.

These options need to be weighed up carefully as once a person tells their employer they’re getting tax-free childcare, they will not be able to re-join a voucher scheme.

Childcare vouchers and workplace nurseries do not have to have tax or National Insurance paid on them.

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