30 Hours Free Education and Childcare

Are you a parent living and working in England?

Do you have a child who is 2, 3 or 4 years old?

If the answer is yes, you could be entitled to up to30 hours free childcare.

2 Year Olds

According to Direct Gov., some 2-year-olds can get free education if you are on the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit
  • tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

A child can also get free early education and childcare if any of the following apply:

  • they’re looked after by a local council
  • they have a current statement of special education needs (SEN)or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • they get Disability Living Allowance
  • they’ve left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order


3-4 Year Olds

If your child is aged between 3 and 4, you may be eligible to get up to 30-hours free child care. If you are eligible, you will need to apply by 31 December to get a code, which will apply to the term starting in January.


How do I know if I’m eligible?

According to the Direct Gov website, you can usually get 30 hours free childcare if you (and your partner, if you have one) are:

  • in work – or getting parental leave, sick leave or annual leave
  • each earning at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wagefor 16 hours a week – this is £120 if you’re over 25

This earnings limit doesn’t apply if you’re self-employed and started your business less than 12 months ago.

You’re not eligible if:

  • your child doesn’t usually live with you
  • the child is your foster child
  • either you or your partner has a taxable incomeover £100,000

You can get 30-hours free childcare at the same time as claiming Universal Credit, tax credits or childcare vouchers.


I don’t work, can I still get 30-hours free childcare?

According to Direct Gov., you may still be eligible if your partner is working, and you get Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.


How do I apply for 30- hours free childcare?

Please visit the Direct Gov. website where you can check your eligibility and apply for the 30-houre free childcare.

According to the website, the process is usually about 20 minutes long and you will need to include your:

  • National Insurance number
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), if you’re self-employed


I am eligible, now what?

If you’re eligible the free early education and childcare, you will get a childcare account with a code. This code can be applied to the new term and can only be applied with an approved childcare provider (you can find a list on Direct Gov.)

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