MUMS and dads hoping to benefit from the childcare voucher scheme should apply by the end of the month or else risk missing out on hundreds of pounds.

The Government's voucher scheme is available to new applicants until October 4 but you need to have received them before the deadline.

Parents are being urged to apply before the end of August to give enough time for their applications to be processed so that they qualify for the scheme.

The vouchers let you pay for childcare from your pre-tax salary but it's slowly being replaced by the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme instead.

The salary sacrifice scheme has helped millions of parents to pay for childcare since it was first launched in 2005.

It means that you pay less in tax and national insurance and it could be worth hundreds.

It was supposed to close to new applicants from April 5 but is was delayed by six months after technical issues left thousands of parents fearing that they will be left out of pocket.

The voucher system gives parents financial help towards childcare on kids up to the age of 15 but annoyingly they're only available through your employers.

Parents must have received the vouchers by the October deadline to qualify and many employers require at least a month's notice .

The new Tax-Free Childcare scheme sees the Government top-up parents' savings by 20 per cent up to 2,000.

But experts are warning that many parents could potentially be left worse-off under the new plan and urged them to take action to see if they are eligible for vouchers before it closes for good.

According to the Childcare Vouchers Providers Association (CVPA), a two-parent family earning a combined 70,000 a year and spends 3,796 a year on childcare would receive 1,239 a year under the voucher scheme.

But under the tax-free system, they would get back around 759 a year - a difference of 480.

Tax-free Childcare has been one of the Government's flagship policies to help make the cost of childcare easier for parents.

from Superdrug
In October, a report from the TUC found that costs had risen seven times faster than wages since 2008.

And Admiral Loans found some parents are spending more than half their salary on childcare - with some forking out up to 1,383 a month.

Parents with kids under 12 can apply for the new scheme via the Childcare Choices website.

At the beginning of January, some mums and dads were told they weren't able to claim for the 30 hours of free childcare due to problems with the website.