MSE News: Left out of pocket by the Tax-Free Childcare scheme? Here's how to claim

If you've been left out of pocket due to technical difficulties when applying for the Tax-Free Childcare scheme you can reclaim your costs...
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'Left out of pocket by the Tax-Free Childcare scheme? Here's how to claim'
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  • Hi, Just wondering if anyone here has received any compensation and how long it took once they sent off the claim form? I filled one out as it took 75 days to process my application with no acknowledgement and no one could help on the helpline (whenever I could get on).
    I'd also like to say thanks to all @ MSE for publishing the article (and all the other stuff too!) - it's my GoTo place for all things money :)
  • Hi,
    This is my first post on MSE, as I found the article when I was searching for some help with the tax free childcare service.
    Many thanks for the MSE team for writing the various articles that highlight the problem with the scheme. :)

    I too am having problems with the TFC website, everything worked OK for the first few months (in between long bouts of downtime), but since the start of August my account is no longer getting any kind of HMRC top-up on payments I make. I've therefore had to effectively top myself up in order to meet my nursery bills (which for 2 children in the South East adds up to quite a lot).

    I've phoned the help desk on a few occasions and been elevated to the "technical team" who will "call me back" - not yet happened. I've also written a letter (as advised on my first call to the help desk), and submitted a claim form, but I have not had any kind of response back from anyone.
    I'm now about £800 out of pocket, and rising :(
    At this stage I'm not sure what else I can do, and am beginning to wish I'd just kept my work's childcare voucher scheme running.

    Does anyone know if it normal for this to take 2+ months to get a response back, or am I just being ignored?
    Is there anything else I can try?

  • roses
    roses Posts: 2,330 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I had to re-confirm my details about one month ago.

    First I got a rejection stating I received childcare vouchers (which I had stated I do not receive!). I managed to get the decision overturned and tax free childcare confirmed.

    Now the top up is no longer credited.

    I've logged a few calls with no answer yet. I also posted off a compensation form three weeks ago and have received no feedback.

    In the meantime I am paying the nursery monthly and am loosing ~£250/month in tax rebates.....
  • Scozz
    Scozz Posts: 10 Forumite
    Has anyone else started having problems with the tax free childcare scheme? I topped up successfully in August and September. Then in October received a smaller than expected top up, then nothing at all in Nov. As far as the website shows I should still have top up available for the 3 month period. The helpline is useless. Apparently it's a glitch and has been 'raised to the technical team' then the next person I spoke to said that sometimes the top ups are random - when I queried that I was put on hold!!!
    Feeling very frustrated!
  • Hi,
    I had exactly this issue. Joined fine in May with 2 kids accounts. Reconfirmed in Aug and phoneline confirmed it was accepted. Since then I've received no topups and living in London this means I'm more than a grand out of pocket. I gave up childcare vouchers for this too. I've rung at least six times and they confirm my reconfirmations are fine, they log it with the technical department but can't tell me whether it will be weeks, months or even years before it will be fixed.
    They've given me details of where to send a letter claiming compensation but I need to include printouts of all nursery invoices, even though I'm still paying them via my tax free childcare accounts. So much for paperless. They assure me compensation should be paid to my bank account in under thirty days but that was over sixty days ago and I've lodged another two claims for further payments since.
    In some ways I'm glad it's not just me with this issue, with no way to get updates on resolution because the helpline team have no contact with the second line technical area beyond raising queries, I'd wondered if it was just getting lost as a one person thing.
    What would be the next step? Previous issues got to the press, I'm wondering how best to escalate, I'm currently missing three hundred quid a month and getting sick of the admin of logging claims which aren't yet being paid.
  • ceejmeister
    ceejmeister Posts: 1 Newbie
    edited 24 November 2017 at 7:56PM
    This is EXACTLY what is happening to me right now, Cat78. It is so frustrating. Apparently there was a piece last week on Radio 4 about this and HMRC denied many people were having a problem. It makes you want to go back to childcare vouchers - I am two months' out of pocket and do not expect it to be sorted out by next month. The people on the helpline are trying to be really helpful (I asked to speak to a floor supervisor who is going out of his way to keep me updated on this) but nothing is actually happening. Everyone says you should receive a payment in a matter of days and then it just does not happen. It's a total farce.
  • diperry
    diperry Posts: 1 Newbie
    edited 28 November 2017 at 3:41PM
    I have been waiting for someone to call me back from the technical team to call me back since 11 September. My portal was set up incorrectly and I couldn't reconfirm eligibility for 30 free hours scheme so assumed you had to re-apply.

    I'm told my grace period runs out at the end of December and I'll have take my son out or pay ..... A nice man called has just told me I can write and complain if I think I'm going to be out of pocket.

    Total farce ....
  • Hello All
    When I first signed up to TFC no issues. Then I was locked out of my account for technical issues for 3 months. However it worked fine over the phone. Then the last few months I have received no Top-Up. I have been given various incorrect excuses as to why this is the case.
    Top tip - not all staff on the helpline are trained. If they say they don't know and will ring you back HANG UP and call again. Keep doing this until someone knows what they are doing. It turned out that they required proof that I no longer received childcare vouchers! I have now sent proof but await the account to be updated.
    I have put in 3 compensation claims now but no response. Does anyone know how long it takes to get your money back? I am £660 down!
  • Having the same issue here. Top ups just stopped going in in November due to this "technical issue". I was also told I needed to send proof that our childcare voucher payments had stopped. 2 months down the line, issues still not resolved, have received no compensation and they can't tell me when either of these will happen :mad: Apparently, it's such a common problem they have a massive backlog of technical fixes and payments to process, which is why it's taking so long.

    We're going to give it until the end of January and then rejoin the childcare voucher scheme while we still can, if the issues aren't resolved.
  • Henneb_84
    Henneb_84 Posts: 18 Forumite
    We are in exactly the same boat.

    Signed up in May 2017 and all was fine. When we first had to reconfirm our details our account was suspended as I had to provide proof that I was no longer receiving childcare vouchers. I did this and account was activated again.

    All worked well again until Nov 2017 when we just stopped receiving top ups. We have made numerous calls and been promised dozens of call backs but never received one. Like others we have been told that it is a technical issue with our account and has been escalated to their technical team. Also submitted compensation forms, but like others never heard anything back. Did also manage to find a page on the HMRC website to submit a general complaint online, but guess what - no response to that either!

    Has anyone had any joy getting their account sorted and obtaining any compensation? I left the childcare voucher scheme to join this scheme, seriously considering switching back before 1st April when it closes.
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