Childcare funding support and advice

Childcare for families of 2 year olds in receipt of support

Childcare for families of 2 year olds in receipt of support

Parents and carers will qualify for this type of childcare support if they meet certain criteria.

Either the family is eligible for:

  • income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit, with annual earned income under £15,400 AFTER tax (take-home pay – not including state benefits)
  • Working Tax Credit and/or Child Tax Credit, with an annual income under £16,190 before tax (gross earnings)
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

    or the child:


  • is looked after by a local council
  • has a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education health and care plan (ECH)
  • is receiving Disability Living Allowance
  • has left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order

If you’re a non-UK citizen who cannot claim benefits

If your immigration status says you have 'no recourse to public funds', you may still be eligible for free childcare for your 2 year old. You must live in England and your household income must be no more than:

  • £26,500 for families outside of London with one child
  • £34,500 for families within London with one child
  • £30,600 for families outside of London with two or more children
  • £38,600 for families within London with two or more children
    You cannot have more than £16,000 in savings or investments.

How to apply

You must apply online. You can only apply for children who live with you and for whom you have parental responsibility.

To apply you will need:

  • an email address
  • to register on our Citizen Portal, to begin the application

What happens next

If you are eligible, you will receive a childcare code online.

Give the code to an approved childcare provider along with:

  • your child's birth certificate
  • your proof of residency (eg bank statement, household bill)

Taking the childcare place

Once agreed with a provider, the funded childcare:

  • starts from the term after your child’s 2nd birthday
  • stops when your child starts in reception class or reaches compulsory school age

You may have to pay for extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.

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