News & blogs Claim up front childcare costs from the Flexible Support Fund (Universal Credit) The Flexible Support Fund (FSF) is a fund offered by local Jobcentres at the discretion of Jobcentre Plus advisers. The fund was introduced in 2011. The purpose of the new scheme is to give Jobcentre Plus Districts, and their advisers, more freedom to give support to local need. There is no exhaustive list of what the FSF can and cannot be awarded for, however you may be able to get help from the fund for: Travel expenses Training courses Clothing for interviews On 11 January 2019, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions announced that the FSF could also be used more widely to pay for upfront childcare costs until the claimant receives their first wage. The availability of this fund is actively promoted in Jobcentres and to all claimants who might benefit. Guidance states the following: Paying childcare costs for attending training or education - FSF must be awarded in the following circumstances: when a parent is attending mandatory provision where such costs are not met by the provider where it has been agreed a parent can attend approved non-contracted provision, i.e. there is a formal agreement in place where it has been agreed a parent can participate in a Work Trial, work experience or sector-based work academy FSF must not be awarded in the following circumstances: for attending training courses, provision or an activity where no formal agreement is in place for attending provision where the provider is contracted to, or has agreed to pay participant’s childcare costs. Clients should contact their work coach at the Job Centre to request any of the above expenses. If you need further advice regarding the fund, please call the advice line on 0300 123 7015, email us: [email protected].