Many service families across the UK can now take advantage of the Government’s wraparound childcare scheme. It’s aimed at helping working families offset the cost of before and after school care during term time.

Although it’s recognised that the scheme is not going to be the solution to all the childcare issues you face, it’s hoped it should go some way to alleviating some of the costs.

Veterinary nurse Natalie Green (main photo), who took part in the pilot scheme, says: “It has made a huge difference to us as a family. Not only has it offset the cost of before and after school care significantly, it has helped to mitigate the effect that military life has on working military spouses such as myself.”

How it works

  1. Each child will need to have a tax-free childcare (TFC) account and the serving person will have registered and had it confirmed that they are participating in the WAC scheme.
  2. Use the TFC account to pay for your child’s wraparound childcare.
  3. The serving person uses the WAC payment calculator on JPA to find out how much they can claim back. The serving person will then submit their claim through JPA.
  4. Once they have received the WAC payment, the money will need to be transferred back in to the TFC account ready to pay for the next invoice for wraparound care.

This is just an overview of how it will work, so do make sure you read the full details in the Defence Instruction Notice (DIN) on DefNet or Defence Connect.

You can claim up to 20 hours a week per child for their before and after school care. The amount claimed is capped by region and full details can be found through the WAC Portal on DefNet. If you need additional info, check or drop an email to


For full criteria, check the WAC Defence Instructions and Notices – 2022DIN01-079. The requirements include:

  • At least one parent must be serving as an armed forces regular, this includes those on full-time reserve service full commitment.
  • Both partners, if applicable, should be working and earning an equivalent of 16 hours at the national minimum or living wage.
  • The serving person should be on assignment in the UK or involuntarily separated from their family who remain living in the UK.
  • Children are aged between 4 and 11 years, attending school (including those who are electively home educated).
  • The child should live with the serving person for most of the time.
  • The child must have a TFC account set up with HMRC.
  • The childcare provider must be registered with Ofsted (or equivalent) and signed up to accept payments from a TFC account.

If you have any feedback about the scheme or any other aspect of childcare, contact us at

Got a question about WAC, head to AFF’s website where you can find answers to your most frequently asked questions.

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