Am I eligible?
How will I know if I am eligible to receive 15 hours funded childcare for my two year old?
Your 2-year-old can get free childcare if you live in England and get one of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
- tax credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
- the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
- the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
2-year-olds can also get free childcare if they:
- are looked after by a local authority
- have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
- get Disability Living Allowance
- have left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order
If you’re a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits
Your 2-year-old may get free childcare if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act and have either:
- claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as ‘part 6’)
- been refused asylum in the UK (known as ‘section 4’)
A 2-year-old you care for may also get free childcare if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and you have either:
When should I apply to see if my child is eligible?
|If your child's 2nd birthday is on or between:||Earliest date you can see if your eligible from:|
|1 January - 31 March||beginning of January|
|1 April - 31 August||beginning of April|
|1 September - 31 December||beginning of September|
Please do not make an application prior to the earliest date shown above.
When can my child start if they are eligible?
Your child's eligibility code will be valid from the term after their 2nd birthday.
|If your child's 2nd birthday is on or between:||He/she will be entitled to their funded place from (the term after the child's 2nd birthday):|
|1 January - 31 March||Summer term (April onwards)|
|1 April - 31 August||Autumn term (September onwards)|
|1 September - 31 December||Spring term (January onwards)|
How do I apply to see if my child is eligible?
You can apply by using our online application form below.
Before making your application, please ensure that it isn't too early to apply. See 'When should I apply to see if my child is eligible' for more information.
How will I know if my child is eligible for a place?
What do I need to do once I have received my eligibility letter?
- You need to decide which funded childcare provider you would like your child to go to and call them to see if they have availability - you can use the Families Information Service (FIS) Childcare Finder to find a list of funded childcare providers
- You then need to take your eligibility letter to your chosen childcare provider so they can use your eligibility code to claim the funding for your child.
What happens if my circumstances change?
- If your child has already been awarded the funding, this will not be taken away from them, even if your circumstances change. Your child will be able to continue to access the funding until the term after their 3rd birthday, when they will then be eligible for the universal 15 hours.
- If your child isn’t eligible for the funding and your circumstances have changed, you can apply to see if you are now eligible using the methods stated in the ‘How do I apply to see if my child is eligible?’ section above.
What if I don't know which childcare I want to use?
Will I have to pay anything for my child's early education place?
Your child's early education place is paid for by the Government, however, schools/childcare providers can charge for meals, consumables (such as nappies and sun cream), additional activities (such as trips) or additional hours (hours that are taken over and above the funded entitlement hours). Where a parent chooses to pay for meals, consumables or additional hours, this is a private arrangement between the parent and the school/childcare provider.
Parent must not be required to pay any fee as a condition of taking up a funded early education place.
Schools/childcare providers should be open and transparent about any additional charges, so parents have a clear choice and know the cost of any extras they may wish to purchase. Parents should also be made aware of the options available to them if they do not wish to purchase any extras, for example a parent may supply their own consumables or a meal / snack for their child.