Free childcare funding for nine-month-olds for working parents

From September 2024, free childcare is being expanded for working families of younger children so they can access 15 hours per week, increasing to 30 hours per week by September 2025.

From September 2024, eligible working parents of nine months old will be able to access 15 hours childcare support. 

What makes you eligible?

  • both parents are working, or one parent is working in lone parent families. This is defined as earning the equivalent of 16 hours per week on national minimum wage/national living wage, but less than £100,000 per year. This applies for self-employed and zero-hour contracts.
  • both parents are employed but one or both of them are temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave.
  • both parents are employed but one or both of them are temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay.
  • one parent is employed, and one parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring.
  • one parent is employed, and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on specific benefits.

This means your child will need to have reached their nine month anniversary on or before 31 August 2024, you can apply from 12 May 2024 to access the free childcare from September

How to apply?

Applications for working parents of nine months old, will open from 12 May 2024 on the Childcare Choices website. Applications for Autumn Term (September to December) must be made by 31 August 2024.

The online application process will tell you the full eligibility criteria and what you need to provide when you apply.

You should find out if you are eligible straight away, but it can take up to seven days. It is advisable to apply before mid-August.

What happens next?

If approved, a childcare account will be set up and you’ll get a code to give to your childcare provider to access the funding.

Because the first phase applies from September 2024, parents that apply from 12 May, may need to reconfirm eligibility before you have had a chance to use the code.  Reconfirmation is required approximately every three months (ten to 12 weeks). You must reconfirm your eligibility, via your childcare account, to keep your code valid.

Places will be available for September in every area of the country, but a significant minority of settings hold waiting lists of over six months. If you have a preferred nursery for September, you should reach out now to secure a place for your child ahead of receiving your code.

Please see Childcare Choices website for further details.

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